As of July 1, 2021, new Wisconsin Supreme Court Rules now allow students who have completed the first-year curriculum for a full-time student to appear on behalf of their client in court or at hearings if accompanied by a clinical professor or supervising attorney as set forth in SCR chapter 50 (PDF).
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you get certified for student practice?
Students engaged in activities under SCR 50 must obtain written certification from the UW Law School by way of a form issued by the clerk of the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
Students must submit the Student Practice Certification Request Form. The law school will review it and then submit it to the Supreme Court and copy the student.
Once the certification is approved:
- Students must carry this certification at all times when appearing in court.
- This certification is valid until either 24 months after it is issued, 12 months after the date of graduation, or as soon as the student is admitted to a legal practice.
- This certification will be withdrawn if the student stops being regularly enrolled in the law school, or if the court deems it fit to cancel it for any reason.
Where can a student work?
Students can work at clinical programs, pro bono programs, nonprofit organizations, or government agencies. More information on each below.
Students can work at a clinical education program operated or sponsored by a Wisconsin law school, including externships, practicums, supervised field placements and experience-based programs operated or sponsored by a Wisconsin law school.
For UW Law School:
For Marquette University Law School’s clinical opportunities, contact Professor Thomas Hammer.
Pro Bono Programs
Students can work at a qualified pro bono program as defined in SCR 31.01(12); No. 20-04 4 (PDF) as a pro bono program that is either:
- Pro bono program operated by a nonprofit legal services organization that receives funding from the Wisconsin Trust Account Foundation (see 2020 WisTAF grant recipients)
- Pro bono program operated by a Wisconsin law school (see UW Law's Current Pro Bono Opportunities)
- Pro bono program existing on the date that this rule is adopted that is operated by a Wisconsin bar association
- Program approved by the Board of Bar Examiners (BBE) as a qualified pro bono program (a list of BBE approved programs can be found on Wisconsin Bar's Qualified Pro Bono Programs)
Students can work at a nonprofit legal services organization that receives funding from the Wisconsin Trust Account Foundation (WisTAF) or the Legal Services Corporation.
Students can work at a government agency which employs the supervising lawyer.
How can students get involved in pro bono projects?
Students can choose to volunteer at current pro bono opportunities in a wide range of practice areas or create their own pro bono project through the UW Law School’s Pro Bono Program. Volunteers must complete the Canvas training course prior to training for or volunteering at their projects.
Students can also choose to volunteer at a wide range of pro bono opportunities through the Marquette University Law School’s Pro Bono Program.
How can private attorneys or firms participate?
Individual attorneys and host sites (i.e. organizations or firms) can submit a pro bono project proposal to the UW Law School Pro Bono Program to find volunteer law students. This proposal must conform to the UW Law School’s Requirements & Guidelines.
Once received, completed applications will be reviewed and responded to within two weeks.
What type of liability do supervising lawyers have?
Under SCR 50, students must work under the supervision of a lawyer who is an active member of the State Bar of Wisconsin.
Supervising lawyers must assume personal professional responsibility for any services performed or undertaken by the student while under the lawyer’s supervision.
For more information about the liability of supervising law students, lawyers can call the State Bar of Wisconsin Ethics Hotline.
UW Law School
For more information, contact the individuals or emails below:
- Student Practice Certification: Amy Arntsen
- Externships: Erin McBride
- Clinics: Mitch
- Pro Bono Program: firstname.lastname@example.org
Marquette University Law School
For more information, contact the individuals below:
- Student Practice Certification, Clinics, Judicial Internships, and Supervised Field Placement: Thomas Hammer
- Pro Bono Program: Angela Schultz or Katie Mertz