In what is quickly becoming the hot issue in Professional Responsibility this year, here is yet another news item regarding an attach on the concept of a unified bar. For my recent posts on this subject, and links to older posts go here.
As reported by Courthouse News, two Wisconsin lawyers have filed a federal civil rights suit against the state’s bar association claiming mandatory membership to the bar association constitutes compelled speech in violation of the lawyers’ First and Fourteenth Amendment rights because of the dues lawyers have to pay -- or, more precisely, because they don't agree with the way the bar association uses the money paid in dues.
The case is called Jarchow v. State Bar of Wisconsin, and you can read the complaint here. Among other things, the plaintiffs complain that the Wisconsin Bar Association publishes magazines with articles "on matters of intense public controversy" including advocacy for criminal justice reform, juvenile justice reform, elder law reform and advocacy for restoring funding to provide legal representation to the poor. They also specifically claim they object to the bar’s advocacy on criminal justice issues, felon voting rights, unemployment insurance fraud, free exercise of religion and immigration law.