Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)
Using your legal training to protect the rights of people who do not have the resources to protect themselves is very rewarding. In building and maintaining a practice, Wisconsin State Public Defender cases take the lawyer into the courtroom more than any other type of case.
How many cases will I get?
Attorneys certified to take SPD appointments are called on a rotational basis. Wis. Stats. sec. 977.08(3). Attorneys may accept or decline cases offered when they are contacted. There is no minimum number of cases that you must take. However, it is recommended that attorneys take enough cases to make their work efficient and effective for the client, the courts, and the attorney. Case availability varies greatly by county. Attorneys should contact the local office to discuss how many cases they might expect to be offered.
How do I become certified to take appointments?
Certification levels vary by case type and experience. See PD 1.04. You can request certification by completing an application.
What types of cases can new attorneys receive?
As a new attorney you are eligible for certification in several case types. Basic certification allows you to take misdemeanor cases. This can be anything from driving without a license to battery. If you have had coursework in appellate practice you can be certified for appellate cases. New attorneys can also be provisionally certified for juvenile cases, mental commitments and probation/parole revocation matters.
How do I bill and get paid?
Attorneys generally submit their bills at the conclusion of the representation. All bills are submitted using our online billing system. When you become certified, the Assigned Counsel Division will send you a username and password for your online billing site. Attorneys should review the billing rules and policies before undertaking representation.
What training is available?
The SPD sponsors (click here for Training Division site) various criminal law related seminars throughout the year. The annual conference each fall provides multiple tracks related to all aspects of public defender work. The agency also offers online training (Click here for On Demand site). SPD training is offered at a very low cost to attorneys taking SPD appointments.
For more information, please contact: