New Legal Matter

OLA has an “open door” policy of access for employees of UW-Madison who have legal questions arising in the course and scope of their employment.  Each OLA attorney is responsible for several areas of law. If you need advice regarding a new, University-related legal matter, you may:

  • Contact our main office at 608-263-7400.  Our staff will request background information about your issue to assist in directing you to the proper attorney.
  • Review the attorneys’ practice areas and contact them directly.


Existing Legal Matter

If you have a question about an existing matter, please use our Attorney directory to contact the attorney who has been working on that matter with you or call our main number at 608-263-7400.


Personal Matter

OLA represents the University, including individual employees acting in their official capacities. OLA does not represent faculty, staff or students in personal legal matters outside the scope of their business as University officials.  Individuals needing personal legal assistance may contact the State Bar of Wisconsin Lawyer Referral and Information Service at  608-257-4666 or 608-257-3838.


Notary Services

The Office of Legal Affairs provides notary services in connection with official University of Wisconsin-Madison business.  Please contact our office at 608-263-7400 to arrange a document notarization by a member of our staff.  As required by state law, please bring your photo identification. Please ensure all documents are entirely filled out prior to coming in for a notarization. If you have questions regarding the documents, you must refer to your home department, as OLA cannot advise on the content of the documents.

On-Campus Notaries

Office of Student Financial Aid (for financial aid forms only)
333 East Campus Mall, Room 9701
Madison, WI 53715-1384

Office of the Registrar (for University-related documents)
333 East Campus Mall, Room 10101
Madison, WI 53715-1384

Off-Campus Notaries

UPS Store
1360 Regent St.
Madison, WI 53715

FedEx Office
654 W. Washington Ave.
Madison, WI 53703
(608) 255-6367

You can also check at your local bank.  Most banks provide notary services free of charge to members.


Served with Subpoena

If you receive a subpoena to appear as a witness for a deposition or in court and the matter for which you have been subpoenaed involves your duties or activities at the University, contact OLA for further information. If the matter is unrelated to the University, you should contact your personal attorney.

If you are a University physician, please refer to Subpoena under our FAQ section. 

If you receive something called a “subpoena duces tecum” asking you to turn over University-related documents, contact OLA immediately. You should not respond or turn over any documents prior to consulting OLA.


Served with Summons and Complaint

This is the start of a lawsuit.  If you are named individually in a lawsuit that is related to your position at the University, you may accept service or you may make arrangements for OLA to accept service on your behalf. If you are not individually named, you should not accept service of the complaint for either the University or any other individual named as a defendant.  If you are served or otherwise receive a copy of a summons and complaint relating to your position at the University, keep all the original documents and contact OLA immediately.  Do not sign any acknowledgment or waiver of service forms that come with the summons and complaint. 

Instead, gather the original complaint and the UNSIGNED acknowledgment or waiver and forward them to OLA immediately. We will forward them to the Attorney General's office and request representation for the named defendant.  Under section 165.25, Wis. Stats., the Attorney General and Department of Justice are specifically empowered to represent the University and its employees in University-related lawsuits filed in state and federal court.


Outside Attorneys

University employees may NOT retain private attorneys to provide advice and counsel on University matters.  At times, the University may need to use a private attorney to work on a legal matter.  Under Section 14.11(2) and 20.930, Wis. Stats., only the Governor has the authority to appoint or approve the employment of special counsel or other attorneys not associated with OLA, the UW System Office of General Counsel, or the Department of Justice.  Should a situation arise in which special counsel is needed, OLA will work with the UW System Office of General Counsel and the Department of Justice to request appointment by the Governor.