USA - Wisconsin International Trade in Legal Services

United States of America - Wisconsin International Trade in Legal Services

HOME COUNTRY LICENSING QUESTIONS

Is there legislation governing the legal sector

WISCONSIN STATUTES, Chapter 751. Supreme court, 751.12 Rules of pleading and practice.

Under what title do lawyers practise?

Attorney at law

How does an individual lawyer obtain a "licence" to practise law? How often must this be renewed?

An individual must have an LLB or JD, satisfy character and fitness to practice requirements, and have passed the bar exam.  Admission requirements are found in Wisconsin Supreme Court Rules, Chapter 40.

Does this entitle the holder to practise throughout the country? If the law license only permits one to practice on a sub-national level, please explain the jurisdictional limits

This only entitles the holder to practise in Wisconsin. The right to practise on a temporary basis in another state or to appear pro hac vice in another state depends on the explicit permission of that state.

Are there certain activities that are "reserved" to those who are licensed to practise law in the jurisdiction?

 

 

 

Wisconsin Supreme Court Rules, Chapter 23, define the practice of law and activities reserved to those licenses in Wisconsin.
WISCONSIN STATUTES ANNOTATED COURTS CHAPTER 757. GENERAL PROVISIONS CONCERNING COURTS OF RECORD, JUDGES, ATTORNEYS AND CLERKS
WI ST 757.30 Penalty for practicing without license
(2) Every person who appears as agent, representative or attorney, for or on behalf of any other person, or any firm, partnership, association or corporation in any action or proceeding in or before any court of record, court commissioner, or judicial tribunal of the United States, or of any state, or who otherwise, in or out of court, for compensation or pecuniary reward gives professional legal advice not incidental to his or her usual or ordinary business, or renders any legal service for any other person, or any firm, partnership, association or corporation, shall be deemed to be practicing law within the meaning of this section.
 

Do you need to hold local nationality to be eligible to practise law?

No

What legal forms can lawyers work in? (e.g. self employment, partnership, limited liability partnership, multi-disciplinary partnership, incorporation)

A lawyer may practise as a sole practitioner, in a general or limited liability partnership. Fee sharing with non lawyers is prohibited.

What other ethical or regulatory requirements must a licensed lawyer comply with? 

The Wisconsin code of professional conduct which is modelled on the ABA model code (see:http://legis.wisconsin.gov/rsb/scr/5200.pdf; or http://www.wicourts.gov/supreme/sc_rules)

Do law firms need to receive a "license" (or permission/approval) to practice law?

Under SCR 20.5.5 of the Professional Code of Conduct: "A lawyer or law firm that is organized as a limited liability organization shall file an annual registration with the state bar of Wisconsin in a form and with a filing fee that shall be determined by the state bar. The annual registration shall be signed by a lawyer who is licensed to practice law in this state and who holds an ownership interest in the organization seeking to register under this rule."

Which authority issues licences? Are there different authorities for individuals and firms? 

Licences are issued by the State Supreme Court (http://www.wicourts.gov/services/public/lawyerreg/file.htm)

   

INDIVIDUAL FOREIGN LAWYERS

Are there any explicit rules or restrictions other than visas on fly in fly out practice of law? Ie. Do you need to obtain a licence for temporary practice?

Wisconsin Supreme Court Rules, Rule 20:5.5 generally restrict practice, but provides authorization in limited circumstances.  See also Wisconsin Supreme Court Rule 10.03(4)(f).

Can a foreign lawyer obtain a visa to visit clients or to market but not to practice?

 

 

 

Under the WTO commitments of the USA, an individual wishing to practise law on a fly in fly out basis in Wisconsin would need to be fully admitted to the Wisconsin Bar or to the Bar of another US State. 'Service salespersons' are permitted to enter the USA for periods of up to 90 days. "Service salespersons" are "persons not based in the territory of the United States and receiving no remuneration from a source located within the United States, who are engaged in activities related to representing a services supplier for the purpose of negotiating for the sale of the services of that supplier where: a) such sales are not directly made to the general public and b) the salesperson is not engaged in supplying the service" Entry for persons named in this section is limited to a ninety-day period.

Can a foreign lawyer obtain a licence to establish and practise as a foreign legal consultant and what is the scope of this limited licence?

No - There is no FLC licensing regime in Wisconsin

Are there any conditions that must be fulfilled once a foreign lawyer has been granted a limited licence (e.g. residency requirement)

Not applicable

Are there any conditions that must be fulfilled for a foreign lawyer to qualify for a limited licence? (e.g. prior practice)

Not applicable

Are foreign lawyers permitted to undertake arbitration and mediation?

 

Are foreign lawyers allowed to appear in court under any circumstances?

 

SCR 10.03(4)(a)-(e).
On July 30, 2008, the Court entered an order amending the pro hac vice rule. Amended rule similar to ABA Model
Rule. $50 fee required. Administrative proceedings would be covered. No language on limitation of appearances
 

Can foreign lawyers requalify as local lawyers?

 

SCR 10.03(4)(a)-(e).
On July 30, 2008, the Court entered an order amending the pro hac vice rule. Amended rule similar to ABA Model
Rule. $50 fee required. Administrative proceedings would be covered. No language on limitation of appearances

FOREIGN LAW FIRMS

Can a foreign law firm obtain a licence to open an office?

No

Even if a foreign law firm does not require a legal licence must they register in some form in order to set up an office? (e.g. with a ministry of company affairs etc)

Not applicable

Are there different types of foreign law firm 'licence'  (e.g. Joint Law Venture, stand alone foreign licence etc)

Not applicable

Is there a quota on the number of licences available?

Not applicable

Are there geographical restrictions on foreign firm licences or on the number of branches a foreign firm can have?

No

Are there "scope of practice" rules that apply directly to foreign law firms (as opposed to lawyers themselves)? (e.g. home, host, international law), if so, what are they? No
Are there restrictions on the corporate form a foreign law firm can take? Not applicable
Are there rules about the name a foreign law firm can take? Not applicable
What entity grants a 'license' to a foreign law firm? If that entity is on the Internet, please provide the URL Not applicable

EMPLOYMENT AND PARTNERSHIP

Are there restrictions on the ownership share of foreign lawyers in a law firm?

Not applicable

May a domestic lawyer be employed by a foreign lawyer or law firm?

Not applicable

Can a domestic lawyer enter into partnership with a foreign lawyer?

Not applicable

Can a domestic lawyer or domestic law firm employ a foreign lawyer?

Not applicable

   

OTHER USEFUL LINKS/SOURCES

Other useful sources or comments or links

 

Verified by

Office of Lawyer Regulation, Wisconsin Supreme Court (December 2013)