Nearly half a million Wisconsinites have trouble getting access to an attorney for civil cases. A study released by the State Bar of Wisconsin shows there's a major shortage of help available for people who can't afford a lawyer to represent them in civil proceedings. Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Richard Sankovitz says that means those people walk in to potentially disastrous legal scenarios with no help at all.

Sankovitz says Wisconsin is one of only six states that provide no funding for help with civil cases. He says officials need to increase the funding available for legal aid in civil matters and also encourage attorneys to make pro bono services available to people in need.

Sankovitz says the issue isn't about providing free legal help to people who want to abuse the system. He says it's about helping people facing serious problems, who need a lawyer to protect them financially.

AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (MP3 1:10)

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