14 Wisconsin attorneys want voluntary bar - through a rule change.

 
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Byline: Erika Strebel, erika.strebel@wislawjournal.com

A Madison attorney and long-time advocate of a voluntary bar is asking the Wisconsin Supreme Court to make the State Bar voluntary through a rule-change proceeding.

Steve Levine, a past State Bar president and frequent critic of the bar, filed with the Wisconsin Supreme Court on Thursday a petition calling for just such a rule change. He listed 13 other lawyers as co-petitioners, including the Milwaukee attorney Steven Glick, Minnesota attorney Jon Kingstad and Madison attorney John Sobotik.

The rule-change petition comes nearly a month after two other attorneys, Adam Jarchow and Michael Dean, filed a federal lawsuit against the State Bar over the same matter.

That lawsuit is pending in the Western District of Wisconsin. Magistrate Judge Stephen Crocker agreed on Thursday to give the State Bar more time to file an answer to Jarchow and Dean's complaint.

Both challengesrely on a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision to bolster their argument for ending mandatory bar dues. Decided last year, Janus v. AFSCME overturned a decades-old decision,Abood v. Detroit Board of Education. The Abood case let states require public employees to pay some fees to unions even though those workers had chosen not to join a labor group.

Despite the similarities, there are differences between Levine's proposal...

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