Wisconsin currently requires attorneys practicing in our state to be members of the bar association. Two attorneys, with the help and representation of the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL), are hoping to change that.
Adam Jarchow, a former state representative, and Michael Dean are suing the State Bar Association of Wisconsin in federal court on First Amendment grounds, saying their membership dues are contributing to speech with which they disagree.
“Nobody should be required to subsidize or join a group in order to earn a living,” Jarchow said in a statement released on Monday. “I, and thousands of other lawyers, detest the policy and political positions taken by the state bar. Yet, if we want to practice our trade as attorneys, we are required to associate with, and subsidize, the bar. Simply put – it’s unconstitutional and I look forward to vindicating our rights!”
According to a statement released by WILL, Jarchow and Dean have the recent precedent of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Janus v. AFSCME enabling their effort to end the Bar Association’s legal stranglehold on attorneys practicing in Wisconsin.
“WILL’s clients disagree with the state bar’s speech, object to being associated with the state bar, and are seeking relief under the First Amendment,” the statement read. “In Janus the Court ruled that forcing public employees to pay dues to a union over the employees’ objections violated their First Amendment rights. In this case, forcing attorneys to associate with the state bar and subsidize the bar’s speech activities violates the attorneys’ rights.”
In the complaint, Jarchow and Dean list a number of issues on which the bar association has issued statements, from abortion to President Donald Trump.