Direct Line: 608-283-5610
April 4, 2002
John A. Holtaway
ABA Center for Professional Responsibility
541 North Fairbanks Court, 14 th Floor
Chicago, IL 60611
RE: Comments Concerning the Interim Report of the Commission on Multijurisdictional Practice
Dear Mr. Holtaway and Members of the Commission:
I am writing this letter in my capacity as State Delegate for the State of Wisconsin on behalf of myself and the other members of the Wisconsin delegation to the ABA House of Delegates.
I understand that Gerald Mowris, president of the State Bar of Wisconsin, and Richard Podell, a member of the American Bar Association Board of Governors, appeared to testify before the Commission to request that Wisconsin lawyers who have been admitted by the diploma privilege be treated the same way as lawyers in other states who have passed bar examinations. I have also reviewed a letter to you and the Commission dated January 29, 2002, from Chief Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson on behalf of the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
The Wisconsin delegation to the American Bar Association House of Delegates voted unanimously to endorse the statements made by Messrs. Mowris and Podell to the Commission and agree with the letter submitted on behalf of the Wisconsin Supreme Court by Chief Justice Abrahamson.
We respectfully request that the Commission not propose rules which would discriminate against lawyers who have been admitted pursuant to the diploma privilege. While we recognize that a bar examination may serve an important "gate keeper" function when a lawyer is first admitted to practice, Chief Justice Abrahamson has demonstrated in her letter that the rigorous requirements in Wisconsin for the diploma privilege provide an equivalent "gate keeper" function. Furthermore, once a lawyer is admitted to practice and practices for a number of years, he or she should be able to qualify to practice under MJP rules regardless of whether or not that lawyer passed a bar examination in prior years. After the passage of time, most lawyers would not be able to pass a bar examination even though they might be highly qualified practitioners in certain areas of the law. Therefore, we believe that passing a bar examination has little, if any, relevance for the qualifications of an experienced lawyer who is handling a matter in another state under the MJP rules under consideration by the Commission.
Thank you for considering our views in this matter. I wish the Commission well in its endeavors.
Very truly yours,
Daniel W. Hildebrand
cc: Honorable Shirley S. Abrahamson, Chief Justice
George C. Brown, Executive Director of the State Bar of Wisconsin
Shawn D. Guse, Esq.
Leonard L. Loeb, Esq.
John P. Macy, Esq.
Gerald W. Mowris, Esq., President, State Bar of Wisconsin
Richard J. Podell, Esq.
Honorable Patrick T. Sheedy, Esq.
Steven R. Sorenson, Esq.