Pro hac vice admission

Lady Justice statue in front of the Wisconsin flagImportant notes: All pro hac vice attorneys must create an eCourts account to conduct business with the circuit courts. All applicants must apply with the State Bar of Wisconsin and pay the fee online at http://www.wisbar.org/prohacvice (external link).

All applications must be filed and all fees paid on line, using the above link. Applications are no longer accepted by mail. No payments by check are accepted.

The following questions and answers pertain primarily to the filing of the required pro hac vice application and application fee to the State Bar of Wisconsin http://www.wisbar.org/prohacvice (external link). Other requirements for pro hac vice admission are governed by Wisconsin Supreme Court Rules and certain Wisconsin Circuit Court Local Rules (external link).

Frequently asked questions

Q. When did the new fee and application requirements take effect?

A fee and an application for admission pro hac vice were first imposed effective January 1, 2009.

Effective July 1, 2019, the Wisconsin Supreme Court determined that the State Bar of Wisconsin should receive and administer the fees for admission pro hac vice. See Sup. Ct. Rule Order 13-11B Adobe PDF, In the Matter of the Petition for Amendment to Supreme Court Rule 10.03(4)(b)2 Adobe PDF Relating to Pro Hac Vice Applications. (May 16, 2019). The fee is distributed pursuant to the terms of the court rule and a Memorandum of Understanding approved by the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Q. What must a non-resident attorney who is not admitted to the bar in Wisconsin do to be admitted pro hac vice in Wisconsin?

The non-resident attorney must complete the application and pay the $250 fee to the State Bar of Wisconsin. This may be done online at http://www.wisbar.org/prohacvice (external link).

A non-resident lawyer seeking admission pro hac vice must follow the applicable procedure set forth in SCR 10.03(4) Adobe PDF. After the attorney has applied online and paid the fee, the Wisconsin attorney sponsoring the admission must file a motion with the state court or tribunal before which pro hac vice admission is sought. The motion must be accompanied by the Application, proof of payment, and any additional materials required by local rule. Proof of payment is provided from the State Bar of Wisconsin application website processing.

Some Wisconsin circuit courts and administrative agencies have their own local rules, forms, and requirements regarding pro hac vice admission. Wisconsin Circuit Court Local Rules (external link). If so, you should follow these rules and/or use those forms. If not, you should use the form for Application for Admission Pro Hac Vice as part of the motion for admission pro hac vice.

Payments must be made online. Credit and debit card payments are accepted through the online payment system.

Q. How must the required fee be paid?

The $250 pro hac vice application fee must be paid using Visa, MasterCard, Discover or American Express online via the State Bar of Wisconsin website: http://www.wisbar.org/prohacvice (external link).

See also the following Q & A regarding situations in which waiver of the fee is permitted.

Q. Can the application fee be waived?

Yes. The application fee will be waived if the candidate certifies that he or she is employed by an agency providing legal services to indigent clients and will be appearing on behalf of an indigent client, or that the candidate will otherwise be appearing on behalf of an indigent client in the proceeding and will be charging no fee for the appearance. You should submit this certification together with your Application for Admission Pro Hac Vice: CA-180 | CA-190 MS Word.

Certification should be in the form of a statement signed by the applicant, and filed with the State Bar of Wisconsin and the court in which admission is sought. Payment for the application is submitted to the State Bar of Wisconsin at http://www.wisbar.org/prohacvice (external link).

Nonresident military counsel are generally exempt from the fee requirement. See the following Q & A; SCR 10.03(4)(c) Adobe PDF. You should advise the admitting tribunal that you are invoking this exception as part of your motion for admission pro hac vice.

Nonresident counsel seeking to appear for the limited purpose of participating in a child custody proceeding pursuant to the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978, 25 U.S.C. s. 1901, et seq., while representing a tribe are generally exempt from the fee requirement. See the following Q & A; SCR 10.03(4)(cm) Adobe PDF. You should advise the admitting tribunal that you are invoking this exception as part of your motion for admission pro hac vice.

No fee is required when an out of state attorney seeks admission pro hac vice solely for the purpose of moving the admission of an individual to the bar.

Q. Are there any exceptions to filing of the Application for Admission Pro Hac Vice?

No. All individuals seeking admission pro hac vice should complete the Application for Admission Pro Hac Vice.

A. Nonresident military counsel are generally exempt from both the fee requirement and the requirement of associating with local counsel. See SCR 10.03(4)(c) Adobe PDF. You should advise the admitting tribunal that you are electing this exemption as part of your motion for admission pro hac vice.

B. Nonresident counsel seeking to appear for the limited purpose of participating in a child custody proceeding pursuant to the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978, 25 U.S.C. s. 1901, et seq., while representing a tribe, are generally exempt from both the fee requirement and the requirement of associating with local counsel. See SCR 10.03(4)(cm) Adobe PDF. You should advise the admitting tribunal that you are electing this exemption as part of your motion for admission pro hac vice.

C. No fee or association with local counsel is required when an out of state attorney seeks admission pro hac vice solely for the purpose of moving the admission of an individual to the bar.

Q. Do the fee and application requirements apply to non-resident attorneys who are employed by governmental or non-profit entities?

Yes, the same regulations apply to all non-resident attorneys without regard to the attorney's employer. However, the application fee is not required if the candidate certifies that he or she is employed by an agency providing legal services to indigent clients and will be appearing on behalf of an indigent client, or that the candidate will otherwise be appearing on behalf of an indigent client in the proceeding and will be charging no fee for the appearance. See the following Q & A.

Q. Will one application and fee suffice for multiple cases?

Generally, no. The attorney must submit an application and fee for each case in which the non-resident attorney seeks to participate. However, if the cases will be consolidated or litigated together, a single application and fee is sufficient. You should explain this situation as part of both your application and the motion to the court.

The application and fee will cover the attorney through subsequent appellate or circuit court actions or proceedings in the same matter. See the following Q & A.

Q. Can a law firm submit an application for the firm that will cover multiple attorneys participating in the same case?

No. SCR 10.03(4)(b) Adobe PDF refers to the individual attorney.

Q. Are the application and fee required for appearances in municipal court proceedings, appearances before federal courts, appearances as counsel in depositions, or situations in which an attorney will not enter an appearance before a Wisconsin court?

Generally, if a motion for pro hac vice admission is required by the Wisconsin tribunal before which you will appear, then the fee and application requirement applies. The application and fee do not apply to appearances as counsel in federal courts located in Wisconsin. For appearances in agency proceedings, see the following Q & A. Non-resident attorneys who may appear as counsel in depositions, or in situations in which the attorney will not enter an appearance before a Wisconsin tribunal should consult SCR 20:5.5 Adobe PDF.

Q. Are the application and fee required for non-resident counsel to appear in state agency proceedings?

No. An administrative law judge or hearing examiner may permit nonresident counsel to appear in a particular agency proceeding without being in association with an active member of the State Bar of Wisconsin. See SCR 10.03(4)(d) SCR 20:5.5 Adobe PDF. If the matter proceeds to the circuit court, the non-resident attorney will generally need to seek admission pro hac vice from the circuit court and will then need to submit the application and fee to the State Bar of Wisconsin. You are also advised to consult SCR 20:5.5 Adobe PDF.

Q. Can a single payment be submitted to pay for more than one application?

No. When no exception to the fee applies, each application must be accompanied by a payment.

Q. Does a non-resident attorney have to be associated with a Wisconsin attorney with an active law license?

Generally, yes. See SCR 10.03(4)(b) Adobe PDF. There are some exceptions for nonresident military counsel and appearances in certain agency proceedings, and for a nonresident attorney seeking to appear for the limited purpose of participating in a child custody proceeding pursuant to the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978, 25 U.S.C. s. 1901, et seq., while representing a tribe. See SCR 10.03(4)(cm) Adobe PDF.

See the following Q & A. See also State v. Lehman, 403 N.W.2d 438 (Wis. 1987) (trial court has discretionary authority to appoint counsel not licensed to practice law in the State of Wisconsin as stand-by counsel).

Q. Can corporate counsel sponsor a non-resident attorney for admission pro hac vice?

It depends. A lawyer registered under SCR 10.03(4)(f) Adobe PDF (the "corporate counsel" rule) cannot sponsor a non-resident attorney for pro hac vice admission. Lawyers registered under the corporate counsel rule are generally not authorized to appear and participate in court proceedings. An enrolled active member of the bar under SCR 10.03(4)(a) Adobe PDF who is employed as in-house counsel may sponsor a non-resident attorney for admission pro hac vice.

Q. Does the sponsoring Wisconsin attorney have to participate in the matter?

Yes. The amount of participation required of local counsel is decided by each court on a case-by-case basis. However, there are some exceptions to a required association with a Wisconsin attorney for nonresident military counsel, appearances in certain agency proceedings, and for nonresident counsel seeking to appear for the limited purpose of participating in a child custody proceeding pursuant to the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978, 25 U.S.C. s. 1901, et seq., while representing a tribe.

Q. Will the fee be refunded if the case is dismissed?

No, the fee will not be refunded if the case is dismissed, nor will the fee be refunded if you withdraw your application or do not meet all requirements for admission.

Q. Is another application and fee required if a case is appealed to an appellate court?

No. The payment form and application fee covers the attorney through subsequent appellate or circuit court actions or proceedings in the same matter. You should confirm that the order granting admission pro hac vice is part of the record on appeal. See SCR 10.03(4)(b) Adobe PDF.

Q. Can a motion to the court be filed simultaneously with the submission of the fee and Application to the State Bar of Wisconsin?

This is not advised. The fee and application should be submitted to the State Bar of Wisconsin as a mandatory first step before filing a motion seeking pro hac vice admission in the Wisconsin court proceeding.

Q. What if there are extenuating circumstances the form does not address?

The rule provides that an applicant may include additional information supporting the request for admission pro hac vice as part of the motion seeking admission pro hac vice. See SCR 10.03(4)(b) Adobe PDF.

Q. Who decides the motion for pro hac vice appearance?

The specific Wisconsin court or tribunal in which the attorney asks to appear pro hac vice decides whether the non-resident attorney may appear pro hac vice. This is a discretionary determination. The decision to revoke a nonresident attorney's pro hac vice admission is also within the court's discretion. See Jensen v. Wisconsin Patients Compensation Fund, 241 Wis.2d 142, 621 N.W.2d 902 (2001); SCR 10.03(4)(e) Adobe PDF. Neither the State Bar of Wisconsin nor the OLR decide pro hac vice motions.

Q. What if my motion for admission pro hac vice is denied?

You may seek to appeal that decision.

Q. Can I confirm if an attorney has filed an application and paid the fee?

Yes. Such inquiries should be directed to the State Bar of Wisconsin: https://www.wisbar.org/ContactUs/ (external link).

Q. How does the State Bar of Wisconsin apply the funds received for pro hac vice applications?

Effective July 1, 2019, the Wisconsin Supreme Court determined that the State Bar of Wisconsin should receive and administer the fees for admission pro hac vice, pursuant to the terms of the court rule and a Memorandum of Understanding. See Sup. Ct. Rule Order 13-11B, In the Matter of the Petition for Amendment to Supreme Court Rule 10.03(4)(b)2 Relating to Pro Hac Vice Applications. (May 16, 2019). The fee is allocated as follows:

  • $50 to the Office of Lawyer Regulation, which is remitted to the general fund and used for the general operating requirements of the lawyer regulation system
  • $100 to the Wisconsin Trust Account Foundation, Inc.
  • $100 to the Wisconsin Access to Justice Commission

Fees received by The Wisconsin Trust Account Foundation (WisTAF) and the Wisconsin Access to Justice Commission (ATJC) support programs that improve access to civil legal services for unrepresented low-income Wisconsin residents.

Q. Can out of state lawyers apply for admission pro hac vice to conduct weddings in Wisconsin?

No. Out of state lawyers cannot apply for admission pro hac vice to perform weddings in Wisconsin. Admission pro hac vice only applies to participation in a particular "action or proceeding" for counsel who "seek to provide legal services." An out of state judge of a court of record may perform a wedding in Wisconsin under Wis. Stat. s. 765.16(1m)(d).

Q. Who receives the original application?

The applicant should submit the application on the State Bar of Wisconsin website which once completed they will be emailed a PDF copy of the application and receipt (if applicable) and then this can be used to file with the court with the motion for admission.

Q. Can an applicant request a receipt for payment of the fee?

Upon payment of the fee online, a receipt of payment is emailed to the applicant with the application form.

Q. What should an applicant do if there is a change in the "sponsoring attorney?"

Applicants should notify the State Bar of Wisconsin https://www.wisbar.org/ContactUs/ (external link), and the court or tribunal in which admission was sought, in writing, of the change and the name of the new sponsoring attorney.

Q. I want to move the admission of an individual at a Wisconsin Supreme Court bar admissions ceremony. Do I need to pay the fee?

No. No fee or association with local counsel is required when an out of state attorney seeks admission pro hac vice solely for the purpose of moving the admission of an individual to the Wisconsin bar.