Responding to an OLR Grievance

Receiving the "Personal and Confidential" letter from the Office of Lawyer Regulation can be aggravating and upsetting. Even if the complaint is absurd or groundless, you must respond as directed. Check with your professional liability insurance carrier. Many carriers reimburse for legal fees for OLR grievance representation. The following are reference materials you should find helpful.

Office of Lawyer Regulation

  • The OLR has a web site with useful information about grievance processing.

  • These documents are provided to the District Committees by OLR to guide their actions. Investigations completed by OLR staff may follow a different course, but the analysis of the rules and potential violations will be the same.

State Bar of Wisconsin

Ethics opinions of the State Bar Standing Committee on Professional Ethics apply the Rules of Professional Conduct for Attorneys
  •  and the prior standards in the Code of Professional Responsibility to specific factual situations. Although not binding, these ethics opinions constitute an important source of ethics guidance for Wisconsin lawyers. State Bar ethics opinions are authored by a committee directly accountable to the State Bar and ultimately accountable to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Although the ethics opinions are advisory only and not binding on the Office of Lawyer Regulation. The OLR often takes ethics opinions into consideration when evaluating the propriety of lawyers' conduct. 

  • The state bar also has an ethics hotline. Keith Kapp is the Bar's ethic's consultant. You can reach Keith at:
    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
    (608) 629-5721 [M,T,R,F 8am - 12 noon]
    (608) 250-6168 [W] (direct line)
    (800) 444-9404, ext 6168 (auto attendant)
  • The Wisconsin Lawyer Directory includes a lawyer-to-lawyer directory with listings of attorneys who have expertise in ethics and the attorney regulatory system.
Wisconsin State Public Defender
  • The following document was used by the SPD to train staff.
    SPD - OLR Allegations & Defenses
  • Deborah Smith, Director of the Assigned Counsel Division, is available to answer general questions about the grievance process. Ms. Smith is a member of the OLR Board of Administrative Oversight and has represented SPD staff in grievances.
    Email Deb Smith
    (608) 261-8856
Other Links