Nov. 16, 2011 – According to its fiscal year 2011 annual report, the Office of Lawyer Regulation (OLR) saw an increase in its caseload with a corresponding increase in the number of pending matters at year end (1,066) compared to the end of last year (981), and the overall average processing time increased (136 days this year compared to 115 last year). The OLR attributes these increases to budget and fiscal limitations during the past two years.
Other highlights for the period July 1, 2010 – June 30, 2011, include:
Central Intake received 2,377 inquiries and grievances (70 more than last year):
- 60 percent closed, insufficient information to allege ethical misconduct
- 18 percent forwarded for formal investigation
- 11 percent resolved minor disputes or withdrawn grievances
- 11 percent diverted to alternative programs
Thirty-four attorneys received a public disciplinary sanction, including five revocations, three revocations by consent, 12 suspensions, six public reprimands issued by the Wisconsin Supreme Court, and nine consent public reprimands issued by supreme court referees, representing 0.1 percent of the 24,158 State Bar members.
Common allegations, areas of grievances
The most common allegations made in grievances were lack of diligence (22.76 percent), improper advocacy (11.9 percent), and misrepresentation/dishonesty (10.4 percent). Last year, lack of communication with client was the third most frequent allegation (11.05 percent).
Practice areas producing the most grievances were criminal law (30.41 percent) and family/juvenile law (20.15 percent).
Ninety-five overdrafts on client trust accounts and fiduciary accounts were reported, an increase of 25 percent from last year.
More than 150 attorneys (154) were diverted to alternative discipline programs and 139 attorneys completed diversions.
The report provides an overview of the lawyer regulation system’s organization and composition, explains how matters are resolved, and compares current and past years’ data on the disposition of grievance matters.
The supreme court assessment to support OLR’s operations for fiscal year 2012 remains at $155 for full active Wisconsin-licensed lawyers.