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    Lawyer Discipline

    The Office of Lawyer Regulation, an agency of the Wisconsin Supreme Court and component of the lawyer regulation system, assists the court in carrying out its constitutional responsibility to supervise the practice of law and protect the public from misconduct by lawyers.
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    Wisconsin LawyerWisconsin Lawyer
    Vol. 79, No. 11, November 2006

    Lawyer Discipline

    The Office of Lawyer Regulation, an agency of the Wisconsin Supreme Court and component of the lawyer regulation system, assists the court in carrying out its constitutional responsibility to supervise the practice of law and protect the public from misconduct by lawyers. The Office of Lawyer Regulation has offices located at 110 E. Main St., Suite 315, Madison, WI 53703; toll-free (877) 315-6941. The full text of items summarized in this column can be viewed at www.wicourts.gov/olr.

    Private Reprimand Summaries

    Lawyer Discipline

    Medical Incapacity of Michael J. Rielly

    On Sept. 11, 2006, the Wisconsin Supreme Court indefinitely suspended the law license of Michael J. Rielly, 44, Lake Geneva, for medical incapacity, commencing the date of the order. The court acted pursuant to SCR 22.35 after Rielly was found mentally ill in a proceeding under Wis. Stat. chapter 51.

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    Public Reprimand of William F. Mross

    On Sept. 13, 2006, William F. Mross, Racine, received a public reprimand, in accordance with SCR 22.09(3), based on the following conduct.

    Mr. and Mrs. P., defendants in a mortgage foreclosure, hired K.A., a nonlawyer in the business of providing assistance to debtors. Mr. and Mrs. P. paid K.A. $600. Because an answer was due, K.A., on his own initiative and without informing Mr. and Mrs. P., referred the matter to Mross. K.A. paid Mross $100 for this service. K.A. notified Mr. and Mrs. P. that Mross entered an appearance and told them to communicate with him, and not Mross. Mross took no other action in the case and had no communication with Mr. and Mrs. P.

    By failing to inform Mr. and Mrs. P. regarding the case or explain matters to them, Mross violated SCR 20:1.4(a) and SCR 20:1.4(b). By taking no action to defend Mr. and Mrs. P. or to negotiate reinstatement of their mortgage, Mross violated SCR 20:1.3. By accepting compensation from K.A. without his clients' consent, Mross violated SCR 20:1.8(f).

    In a separate matter, J.E. had fallen behind on his mortgage. After receiving a foreclosure summons and complaint, J.E. paid K.A. $390. K.A. referred the matter to Mross and paid Mross $200. Mross spoke with J.E. once, but did not discuss whether J.E. wished Mross to be his attorney, whether J.E. consented to K.A.'s payment of Mross' fee, or how Mross should answer or respond to the motion for summary judgment. Mross acquiesced in the judgment and failed to inform J.E.

    By failing to inform J.E. or explain matters to him, Mross violated SCR 20:1.4(a) and SCR 20:1.4(b). By accepting compensation from K.A. without J.E.'s consent, Mross violated SCR 20:1.8(f).

    Mross received a 90-day suspension in 2003 for violating SCR 20:8.4(b). Mross received a private reprimand in 2004 for violating SCR 20:1.1 Competence, and 20:1.4 Communication.

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    Reinstatement of Robert L. Taylor

    On Sept. 1, 2006, the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued an order reinstating the law license of Robert L. Taylor, Milwaukee, subject to conditions and effective the date of the order. Disciplinary Proceedings Against Taylor, 2006 WI 112.

    Taylor's license was summarily suspended on July 28, 1986, following his conviction for felony theft of client funds. On March 17, 1989, Taylor's law license was revoked, effective Dec. 14, 1987, the date on which his felony conviction became final, as a result of the felony theft of client funds and related misconduct. Disciplinary Proceedings Against Taylor, 148 Wis. 2d 708, 436 N.W.2d 612 (1989). Taylor was directed to make restitution to one client in the amount of $2,856.06, plus interest, and to pay the cost of the disciplinary proceeding.

    In 2003, Taylor filed a petition for consensual license revocation, stemming from the Office of Lawyer Regulation's (OLR) investigation into additional charges of misconduct. The four matters involved in that investigation involved prerevocation conduct dating from around 1987. One matter involved Taylor's 1990 federal criminal conviction for conspiracy to defraud by misapplying funds and embezzlement from a federal credit union. The other three matters involved Taylor's representation of three clients during a 1985 period during which his license was suspended for failure to comply with continuing legal education requirements. The consensual revocation was made retroactive to Dec. 14, 1992, the date on which Taylor could have first sought reinstatement from his 1987 revocation. Disciplinary Proceedings Against Taylor, 2003 WI 35, 261 Wis. 2d 1, 660 N.W.2d 665.

    On Oct. 22, 2003, Taylor filed a petition for reinstatement. On Aug. 25, 2004, a court-appointed referee filed a report recommending that Taylor's reinstatement be denied because Taylor had not shown requisite evidence that he had met the criteria necessary for reinstatement. On Dec. 28, 2005, the court remanded the matter to the referee for further proceedings relating to Taylor's moral character. On March 16, 2006, the referee filed a supplemental report recommending that Taylor's petition for reinstatement be granted, subject to conditions.

    The court adopted the referee's recommendation to reinstate Taylor, subject to the conditions recommended by the referee, as follows: 1) Taylor must produce a current favorable recommendation from the Board of Bar Examiners (BBE); 2) Taylor must pay a minimum of $200 per month toward restitution and costs, including the cost of the reinstatement proceedings, beginning six months after he is reinstated. The monies paid by Taylor shall first be applied to restitution and, after restitution has been paid in full, the monthly payments shall be applied to costs; and 3) within 30 days of reinstatement, Taylor must provide proof that he has established a client trust account.

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    Conduct Involving Dishonesty, Fraud, Deceit or Misrepresentation Violation of SCR 20:8.4(c)

    While representing clients in a potential medical malpractice action against University of Wisconsin doctors, an attorney prepared and sent to the clients for review a notice of claim. The notice had signature lines for the injured party and her husband, had a notarization block beneath those signature lines, and then a line for the attorney's own signature further down on the page. Rather than asking the clients to sign the document, however, and rather than submitting the document with only his signature (which the statute would have allowed him to do), the attorney instead instructed his staff to sign the clients' names to the document. The attorney then personally took the document to a notary and had her notarize it, telling her that he was only asking her to notarize his signature even though he had signed underneath the notarization block. The notice of claim that the attorney then filed had every appearance that it had been personally signed by the clients before a notary public. By instructing his staff to sign the clients' names to the document, by having the document notarized, and by then filing the misleading document with the Attorney General's Office, the attorney engaged in conduct involving misrepresentation, contrary to SCR 20:8.4(c).

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    Ratifying Conduct of Nonlawyer Involving Violation of Rules of Professional Misconduct; Engaging in Conduct Involving Dishonesty, Fraud, Deceit, or Misrepresentation Violations of SCR 20:5.3(c) and 20:8.4(c)

    A Wisconsin lawyer who represented a woman in a divorce sought a temporary order requiring payment of living expenses. Both the lawyer and the client were scheduled to be on vacation. With the lawyer's knowledge, the client signed several blank pages in front of the lawyer's legal assistant. The assistant subsequently drafted a motion and the client's supporting affidavit and then used one of the blank pages signed by the client for the affidavit. The assistant read the affidavit to the client over the telephone, and the client approved it before the assistant filed it with the court. The date on the affidavit post-dated the signing. The attorney did not review the motion or the client's affidavit before they were filed with the court. The attorney did not take any steps to mitigate or correct the assistant's conduct.

    The lawyer, by permitting her assistant to have the client sign a blank page, draft and insert text of an affidavit onto the signed blank page, and falsely attest to a notarization, violated SCR 20:5.3(c), which makes a lawyer responsible for the conduct of a nonlawyer assistant when the lawyer, with knowledge of the specific conduct that violates the Rules of Professional Conduct, ratifies the conduct. Had the lawyer engaged in the conduct, the conduct would have violated SCR 20:8.4(c), which states, "It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation."

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    Conviction of Stalking and Violation of Harassment Injunction Violation of SCR 20:8.4(b)

    An attorney self-reported to the Office of Lawyer Regulation (OLR) criminal misdemeanor charges against him, stemming from the attorney's relationship with a woman whom he had been dating. After the woman ended the relationship and informed the attorney that she no longer wanted to see him, the attorney continued to make contact with her. The woman filed a petition for a temporary restraining order, and a court commissioner issued a harassment injunction, precluding the attorney from all contact with the woman.

    The attorney allegedly continued to contact the woman, and criminal charges were filed. The attorney entered a no contest plea to one count of stalking and one count of violation of a harassment injunction. The attorney was placed on probation for three years.

    The supreme court found that by committing acts resulting in a conviction of one count of stalking and one count of violation of a harassment injunction, both misdemeanors, the attorney violated SCR 20:8.4(b), which provides, in part, that it is professional misconduct for a lawyer to commit a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer's trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects.

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    Failure to Act with Reasonable Diligence; Engaging in Conduct Involving Dishonesty, Fraud, Deceit, or Misrepresentation Violations of SCR 20:1.3and 20:8.4(c)

    A Wisconsin lawyer who also is licensed to practice law in Illinois was assigned by her firm to appeal an unfavorable judgment issued by an Illinois court. The lawyer was required to secure a copy of a trial transcript and then file it in the Illinois trial court for inclusion in the appellate record. Although the lawyer made several attempts to file the transcript and had received an extension, the lawyer failed to properly file the transcript. Four days after the Illinois Court of Appeals dismissed the case for want of prosecution, the lawyer obtained the transcript and hand-delivered it to the Illinois Court of Appeals.

    The lawyer asserted a belief that the appeal was still viable at the time of the hand-delivery. However, that assertion was inconsistent with the court's notice procedures. When partners in the law firm where the lawyer was employed inquired about the appeal's status, the lawyer was not forthright about her lack of diligence, which had resulted in the appeal dismissal. In an unrelated matter, the lawyer attested to a signature that she had not witnessed.

    The lawyer's failure to file the transcript in a timely manner constituted a violation of SCR 20:1.3, which requires a lawyer to act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client. The lawyer's failure to accurately inform the law firm of the appeal's status and the lawyer's improper attestation of a signature violated SCR 20:8.4(c), which proscribes a lawyer from engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation.

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    Committing Criminal Act that Reflects Adversely on Lawyer's Fitness to Practice Violation of SCR 20:8.4(b)

    An attorney, while driving impaired, struck two moving vehicles and left the scene of the incident. He was apprehended and pleaded no contest to one misdemeanor count of hit and run and a municipal ordinance violation of operating under the influence, first offense. The attorney's hit and run conviction provided evidence of a violation of SCR 20:8.4(b), which states that it is misconduct for an attorney to commit a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer in other respects.

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    Failure to Notify Supreme Court and OLR of Conviction Violations of SCR 20:8.4(b) and 21.15(5)

    In January 2004, an attorney pleaded guilty to and was convicted of his third OWI offense. The attorney was sentenced to 136 days in jail and was fined $2,400. His driver's license was revoked for 24 months, and he was ordered to undergo an alcohol assessment.

    The attorney did not report his conviction to the OLR and to the supreme court until December 2005, after reading a summary regarding an attorney disciplined for similar misconduct. The attorney indicated that he was unaware of his reporting obligation until reading the published summary.

    By engaging in conduct resulting in his third conviction for OWI, the attorney violated SCR 20:8.4(b), which provides that it is misconduct to commit a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer in other respects. The attorney also violated SCR 21.15(5), which states that it is misconduct for an attorney to fail to report a criminal conviction within five days to the supreme court clerk and to the OLR.

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    Failure to Prepare and File Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Judgment of Divorce Violation of SCR 20:1.3 and 20:8.4(f)

    The parties to a divorce agreed to a marital settlement agreement, which the court accepted. In May 2004, the court ordered the wife's attorney to file the final findings of fact, conclusions of law, and judgment of divorce. The attorney failed to do so until August 2005, after being contacted by the client, who, while attempting to purchase a new home, had discovered that her divorce was not yet final.

    By failing to file the findings of fact, conclusions of law, and judgment of divorce for more than one year after the final divorce hearing, the attorney violated SCR 20:1.3, which provides, "A lawyer shall act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client."

    Wis. Stat. section 767.37(1)(a) requires that an attorney for the moving party shall draft the findings of fact and conclusions of law and the written judgment and shall submit the same within 30 days of the judgment.

    By failing to file the findings of fact, conclusions of law, and judgment of divorce within 30 days, the attorney violated Wis. Stat. section 767.37(1)(a) and, thereby, violated SCR 20:8.4(f), which provides, "It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to violate a statute, supreme court rule, supreme court order or supreme court decision regulating the conduct of lawyers."

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    Entering into Separate Fee Agreement with Client without Disclosure to Cocounsel Violation of SCR 20:8.4(c)

    After successfully concluding a worker's compensation claim for a client, Attorney A sent the case file back to the referring attorney, Attorney B, so that Attorney B could handle the product liability portion of the case. Attorney B then entered into a fee agreement with the client. After considering the difficulty of the case, Attorney B requested that Attorney A assist him in handling the client's product liability case. Thereafter, knowing that Attorney B already had a fee agreement in place, Attorney A entered into a separate fee agreement with the client, without Attorney B's knowledge or consent. Attorney A later settled the case at the request of, and to the satisfaction of, the client. It was not until after the case was settled and an attorney fee dispute ensued that Attorney B learned of Attorney A's fee agreement.

    By entering into a separate fee agreement with the client and withholding the existence of such agreement from his cocounsel, who previously had entered into a fee agreement with the client, Attorney A violated SCR 20:8.4(c), which provides, "It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation."

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    Committing a Criminal Act that Reflects Adversely on Lawyer's Fitness to Practice Violation of SCR 20:8.4(b)

    On June 14, 2005, an attorney was convicted of one count of possession of cocaine, contrary to Wis. Stat. section 961.41(3G)(C), a Class U misdemeanor. The attorney was sentenced to 90 days in jail with Huber privileges, stayed, with probation for one year with the following conditions: that the attorney 1) undergo an alcohol and drug assessment, and 2) follow through with any recommended treatment and drug screening to ensure that the attorney is not using illegal substances. The attorney also was ordered to pay a fine, and the attorney's driving privileges were suspended for six months.

    By engaging in conduct resulting in a conviction of one count of possession of cocaine, contrary to Wis. Stat. section 961.41(3G)(C), the attorney committed a criminal act that reflects adversely on his honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer in other respects, in violation of SCR 20:8.4(b).

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    Revealing Confidential Information; Drafting Legal Documents that Require Lawyer's Services; Engaging in Conduct Involving Dishonesty, Fraud, Deceit, or Misrepresentation Violations of SCR 20:1.6(a), 20:7.3(f), and 20.8.4(c)

    A Wisconsin attorney, who had represented a client's corporation in occasional collection matters, drafted a will for the client. The will contained a trust naming the lawyer as the trustee. The lawyer admitted there was no written consent or other evidence from the client stating that the lawyer's appointment was made without suggestion from the lawyer.

    Following the client's death, without being asked to perform legal services, the lawyer contacted the decedent's bank, obtained personal and corporate financial information, disclosed the decedent's estate planning motivation to the bank, contacted the decedent's broker and CPA, and attempted to control access of the decedent's nominated personal representative to the bank. The lawyer represented to the various institutions that he was the attorney for the estate and the corporation. The lawyer incorrectly told the bank that the decedent's former wife would serve as personal representative. The lawyer submitted a statement for his legal services. The lawyer served as trustee for the trust.

    By disclosing the decedent's estate planning motivation and other personal information, the lawyer violated SCR 20:1.6(a), which proscribes a lawyer from revealing information relating to representation of a client unless the client consents, except for disclosures that are impliedly authorized. The lawyer violated SCR 20:7.3(f), which states in relevant part, "a lawyer, at his or her instance, shall not draft legal documents, such as … trust instruments … which require or imply that the lawyer's services be used in relation to that document." By representing, without being authorized to perform legal services, that he was the attorney for the estate and the corporation, the lawyer violated SCR 20:8.4(c), which proscribes a lawyer from engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation.

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    Attempting to Split Fee with Another Attorney without Performing Services and without Client Agreement Attempting to violate SCR 20:1.5(e), and thereby violating 20:8.4(a)

    In February 2004, Attorney A contacted a woman after she had been injured in an accident. Attorney A does not handle personal injury cases. Attorney A referred the case to Attorney B.

    Attorney A never entered into a formal fee agreement with the clients (the injured woman and her husband) and Attorney B. Attorney A was not listed as cocounsel on Attorney B's fee agreement with the clients. Attorney A never provided any legal services and did not, by written agreement with the clients, assume joint responsibility for the representation.

    In February 2005, the parties stipulated to binding arbitration, resulting in an award to the clients, with $195,000 of such award comprising Attorney B's fees. In summer 2005, Attorney A filed a lawsuit seeking to collect from Attorney B $65,000 as a referral fee. Summary judgment was entered against Attorney A.

    SCR 20:1.5(e) states, "A division of fee between lawyers who are not in the same firm may be made only if: (1) the division is in proportion to the services performed by each lawyer or, by written agreement with the client, each lawyer assumes joint responsibility for the representation; (2) the client is advised of and does not object to the participation of all the lawyers involved and is informed if the fee will increase as a result of their involvement; and (3) the total fee is reasonable."

    SCR 20:8.4(a) states, "It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to ... violate or attempt to violate the Rules of Professional Conduct, knowingly assist or induce another to do so, or do so through the acts of another."

    Having performed no services in advancement of the clients' claims, and having entered no written agreement with the clients under which Attorney A and Attorney B each assumed joint responsibility for the representation, and by suing Attorney B in an effort to obtain a portion of the contingent fee in the clients' personal injury matter, Attorney A attempted to violate SCR 20:1.5(e), and thereby violated SCR 20:8.4(a).

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    Failure to File Motion to Modify Child Support or Pursue Mediation; Failure to Inform Client Violations of SCR 20:1.3 and 20:1.4(a)

    A client hired an attorney to represent the client in a child custody and placement matter. The attorney prepared an affidavit on the client's behalf, a notice of motion, and a motion for clarification of the court commissioner's findings and orders with respect to child custody and placement.

    The attorney informed the client that the case had been assigned a March 2005 court date. The attorney later indicated the court appearance was pushed back until April. Then, the attorney contacted opposing counsel, and the attorneys decided to mediate the matter. The attorney then asked the judge's judicial assistant to remove the matter from the court docket.

    According to the client, the attorney told the client that he had filed the motion and affidavits and that court dates had been scheduled, but the court dates had to be pushed back because the judge requested that the parties enter mediation. The client never heard from the attorney again.

    The client telephoned the attorney's office on numerous occasions between May and August 2005, inquiring about the status of the mediation. The attorney did not return the client's calls. Finally, the client telephoned the mediation office and learned that the matter had never been scheduled. With no word from the attorney, in September 2005 the client hired another attorney. The client then found out that his first attorney had not filed an appearance in the matter and had not filed the motion or affidavits, and the judge had not ordered mediation. The attorney later sent a letter of apology and a full refund to the client.

    By failing to file a notice of appearance, notice of motion, and motion for modification or clarification of child custody and placement, and by failing to proceed with mediation, the attorney violated SCR 20:1.3, which provides, "A lawyer shall act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client."

    By failing to inform the client that he had not filed the motion on his behalf or pursued mediation, and by failing to respond to the client's numerous telephone calls requesting status reports, the attorney violated SCR 20:1.4(a), which provides, "(a) A lawyer shall keep a client reasonably informed about the status of a matter and promptly comply with reasonable requests for information."

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    Failing to File Stipulation for Temporary Orders and Pursue Divorce Proceedings; Failing to Communicate; Charging Unreasonable Fee; Failing to Timely Refund Unearned Fee Violations of SCR 20:1.3, 20:1.4(a), 20:1.5(a), and 20:1.16(d)

    In May 2004, a woman hired an attorney to represent her in a divorce action under emergency circumstances: her husband was being investigated for federal criminal charges involving the family business. The client agreed to pay an initial fee of $2,500, with the first $300 of the funds "nonrefundable," and then to be billed at an hourly rate of $175 per hour, with any unused portion of the fee to be refunded within 45 days of termination.

    The attorney filed the initial divorce documents on May 5, 2004, with a hearing to be held June 8, 2004. Pursuant to agreement with opposing counsel, the attorney was to prepare and file a stipulation for temporary orders and the temporary orders. The attorney failed to prepare the documents.

    The attorney failed to respond to several of the client's calls and did not keep the client informed of the status of the case and discussions with opposing counsel, including an agreement to advance to the client's husband $7,000 of the marital estate.

    Although the attorney had indicated to the client that she would do so, the attorney failed to finalize and send interrogatories to the opposing party. Because the attorney failed to otherwise pursue the divorce proceedings, in September 2004 the client hired successor counsel.

    On several occasions between September 2004 and November 2004, successor counsel and the client requested an itemized statement of services and a refund of any unearned portion of the fee. The attorney did not respond to these requests for a refund and did not provide an itemized statement or any unused portion of the fee until March 2005, after a grievance was filed with the OLR.

    By failing to enter the stipulation for temporary orders, consult with the client and reduce to writing the agreement regarding the $7,000 distribution, consult with the client regarding the interrogatories, send the interrogatories to the opposing party, and proceed with the divorce actions, the attorney violated SCR 20:1.3, which provides, "A lawyer shall act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client."

    By failing to inform the client regarding the status of the case and discussions with opposing counsel, and by failing to respond to many of the client's attempts to contact her, the attorney violated SCR 20:1.4(a), which provides, "A lawyer shall keep a client reasonably informed about the status of a matter and promptly comply with reasonable requests for information."

    By charging the client $2,500 and then failing to pursue the divorce action or otherwise meet the goals of the representation, the attorney violated SCR 20:1.5(a), which provides, "A lawyer's fee shall be reasonable."

    By failing to timely refund the unearned portion of her fee, the attorney violated SCR 20:1.16(d), which provides, "Upon termination of representation, a lawyer shall take steps to the extent reasonably practicable to protect a client's interests, such as giving reasonable notice to the client, allowing time for employment of other counsel, surrendering papers and property to which the client is entitled and refunding any advance payment of fee that has not been earned. The lawyer may retain papers relating to the client to the extent permitted by other law."

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    Lack of Diligence; Failure to Communicate; Engaging in Conduct Involving Dishonesty, Fraud, Deceit, or Misrepresentation Violations of SCR 20:1.3, SCR 20:1.4(a) and SCR 20:8.4(c)

    A man retained an attorney to represent him in a medical malpractice claim. At the time, the attorney was an associate at Firm A. In an email sent to the client shortly after an unsuccessful mediation attempt, the attorney stated that he would "complete the drafting of the lawsuit papers and get them filed in the next few days." More than a month later, the client emailed the attorney and noted that he had not yet received a copy of the lawsuit and that the attorney had not returned his last two phone calls.

    Shortly thereafter, the attorney began working for Firm B. The client's file was transferred to the attorney at Firm B. A short time later, the attorney left Firm B to start his own practice.

    Approximately four months later, the client sent the attorney an email stating that the client had checked with the court and could find no evidence that the attorney had ever filed a lawsuit on his behalf. The attorney admitted that after he left Firm A, he took no further steps to advance his client's case. The attorney further admitted that he misled his client as to the status of his case, including telling the client that a lawsuit had been filed when no such lawsuit had been commenced. The attorney returned the client's file to him 30 days before the expiration of the statute of limitation. The client was unable to retain successor counsel.

    By failing to take any steps to advance his client's case after leaving Firm A, the attorney failed to act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client, in violation of SCR 20:1.3. By making misleading statements to his client about the status of his case, the attorney failed to keep his client reasonably informed about the status of a matter, in violation of SCR 20:1.4(a), and engaged in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation, in violation of SCR 20:8.4(c).

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    Private Reprimand Summaries

    The Wisconsin Supreme Court permits the Office of Lawyer Regulation (OLR) to publish, for educational purposes, in an official State Bar publication a summary of facts and professional conduct rule violations in matters in which the OLR imposed private reprimands. The summaries do not disclose information identifying the reprimanded attorneys.

    The following summaries of selected private reprimands, imposed by the OLR, are printed to help attorneys avoid similar misconduct problems. Some of the summaries may indicate violations of the rules that were in effect prior to Jan. 1, 1988. The current rules proscribe the same types of misconduct.

    Under the new rules of lawyer regulation, a court-appointed referee will impose private reprimands with consent of the attorney. See SCR 22.09 (2000).

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