Vol. 79, No. 5, May
of Lawyer Regulation (formerly known as the Board of Attorneys
Professional Responsibility), 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 persons practicing law
in Wisconsin. The Office of Lawyer Regulation has offices located at
Suite 315, 110 E. Main St., Madison, WI 53703.
Disciplinary Proceedings against
Susan L. Schuster
The Wisconsin Supreme Court suspended the law license of Susan L.
Schuster, 53, Stoughton, for nine months effective April 11, 2006, based
on a stipulation between Schuster and the Office of Lawyer Regulation
(OLR). Disciplinary Proceedings Against Schuster, 2006 WI
Schuster had previously received a 90-day suspension for misconduct
that included several trust account violations. When reinstated,
Schuster was required to produce quarterly trust account records for
OLR's review for two years. However, those records demonstrated
continuing violations regarding Schuster's record-keeping practices and
handling of client funds held in trust. The problems included failing to
create and produce for the OLR required trust account records,
commingling earned fee payments belonging to Schuster with advance fee
payments owned by the client until earned, and withdrawing funds that
Schuster attributed to clients who did not have sufficient funds in the
account, thereby creating ongoing deficits in the account.
Schuster's conduct violated former SCR 20:1.15(a) (now SCR
20:1.15(b)), former SCR 20:1.15(e) (now SCR 20:1.15(f)), and current SCR
20:1.15(e)(4)a and (f)(1)e. The court also determined that Schuster's
creation of deficits in her trust account constituted fraudulent conduct
contrary to SCR 20:8.4(c), and her misrepresentations and willful
failure to furnish requested documents to the OLR violated SCR
Schuster is required to disburse all remaining trust account funds to
clients at the time of her suspension, to close her trust account during
her suspension, and to submit quarterly trust account records for OLR's
review and audit for two years following any reinstatement.
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Disciplinary Proceedings against
Peter James Nickitas
On March 7, 2006, the Wisconsin Supreme Court suspended the Wisconsin
law license of Peter James Nickitas, Minneapolis, for 90 days, effective
March 7, 2006, as discipline reciprocal to a 90-day suspension imposed
against Nickitas' Minnesota law license by the Minnesota Supreme Court
on Aug. 25, 2005. Nickitas also failed to notify the OLR of his
Minnesota suspension within 20 days of that suspension, contrary to SCR
22.22(1). Disciplinary Proceedings Against Nickitas, 2006 WI
The Minnesota suspension arose out of Nickitas' violation of
Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct and involved engaging in a
consensual sexual relationship with a client; entering into multiple
business transactions, including a $9,900 interest-free loan, with a
client without providing to the client written disclosure of the
potential conflicts and without providing for fair and reasonable terms
for his client; and failing to file a timely appeal of a final judgment
in a paternity matter and subsequently filing motions previously decided
by the unappealed judgment.
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Disciplinary Proceedings against Mary
The OLR filed a motion for summary license suspension against Mary
Kathleen Arthur, Lake Geneva. The motion was based on Arthur's
convictions for conspiracy to commit bankruptcy fraud and conspiracy to
commit money laundering. On Feb. 8, 2006, the Wisconsin Supreme Court
issued an order to show cause why the OLR's motion should not be
granted. Arthur did not file a response. On March 17, 2006, the
Wisconsin Supreme Court entered an order summarily suspending Arthur's
law license. Case No. 2006XX55-D.
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Disciplinary Proceedings against Joan
On March 30, 2006, the Wisconsin Supreme Court publicly reprimanded
Joan M. Boyd, Shawano, for professional misconduct, ordered that Boyd's
law license be subject to conditions, ordered Boyd to pay restitution,
and ordered Boyd to pay the $7,006.39 cost of the disciplinary
proceeding. Disciplinary Proceedings Against Boyd, 2006 WI
Boyd was paid $700 to file a bankruptcy petition, but she failed to
deposit the client's funds into her client trust account, violating
former SCR 20:1.15(a) (effective through June 30, 2004), which required
a lawyer to hold in trust property of a client that is in the lawyer's
possession in connection with a representation. When asked by successor
counsel to refund a portion of the retainer, Boyd commingled her own
funds in the client trust account, which also violated former SCR
The same client hired Boyd to pursue the possibility of filing a
federal civil rights action. Boyd never filed the law suit, although she
was paid $6,500 in fees. Boyd had told the client that it was her
opinion that the client had a valid claim and might obtain a substantial
settlement. The referee concluded that a minimum of research should have
demonstrated that the client did not have a viable civil rights claim
and that Boyd's failure to sufficiently investigate whether there was
evidence to substantiate the client's claim violated SCR 20:1.1, which
requires a lawyer to provide competent representation to a client. Also,
Boyd charged a fee that was unreasonable, in violation of SCR 20:1.5(a).
The court ordered Boyd to pay restitution to the client of $5,450 plus
interest, within 30 days.
The court also ordered that Boyd's law license be subject to
conditions, including that Boyd attend OLR trust account training; that
she provide medical records to the OLR for the next two years; and that
she arrange for an accounting firm to manage her law office
Boyd previously received a public reprimand in 2000, for forging a
client's endorsement on a check and for trust account violations, and
conditions were placed on Boyd's law license, including that she use an
accounting firm to handle her finances; that she continue treatment for
a condition; and that she receive trust account education.
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Reinstatement of Mark E.
On March 17, 2006, the Wisconsin Supreme Court reinstated the law
license of Mark E. Sostarich and ordered him to pay the $2,022.35 cost
of the reinstatement proceeding. Disciplinary Proceedings Against
Sostarich, 2006 WI 24.
On June 29, 2005, the Wisconsin Supreme Court had suspended
Sostarich's law license for 18 months, based on Sostarich's criminal
conduct of conspiracy to commit offenses involving federal program
funds, in connection with a public corruption scandal involving former
state senator Gary George. That suspension was ordered to commence
retroactive to May 18, 2004, the date of Sostarich's summary suspension
for the same conduct.
Sostarich subsequently filed a petition for reinstatement of his law
license. After a hearing on the petition, a referee concluded, and the
Wisconsin Supreme Court agreed, that Sostarich had met the standards for
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Public Reprimand of Michael
The OLR and Michael Rajek, 57, Eau Claire, entered into an agreement
for imposition of a public reprimand, pursuant to SCR 22.09(1). A
referee appointed by the supreme court thereafter approved the agreement
and issued the public reprimand on March 21, 2006, in accordance with
The misconduct consisted of violations of SCR 20:8.4(b) and SCR
20:8.4(c). Rajek intentionally structured various cash transactions
during the summer and fall of 2000 so that each transaction involved an
amount below $10,000 so as to avoid the issuance of a Currency
Transaction Report that would alert the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
and other creditors, as proscribed in 31 U.S.C. § 5324.
Rajek had fallen behind on the payment of income tax in an amount
that eventually grew to just over $100,000. He wanted to purchase a car
to replace a car he had been leasing. Given his financial situation, it
was impossible for him to obtain a car loan, and so he decided to use a
cash reserve he had accumulated. Because he did not want the IRS to know
that he had accumulated the cash reserve, he drove to several different
branches of the same bank and deposited into his personal checking
account various amounts of cash in increments under $10,000. Rajek then
purchased the car with a portion of this money.
Later, after accumulating additional income from his practice, Rajek
took that additional income and what remained of his cash reserve, and
again deposited various amounts of cash in increments under $10,000 at
different branches of the same bank. Rajek used this money to refinance
his home, which then allowed him to pay off the IRS and other
Rajek structured the cash deposits so as to fall under the $10,000
limit to avoid issuance of a Currency Transaction Report. Rajek asserted
that his intent in structuring the cash transactions was to allow
himself time to purchase the car and to restructure and refinance his
financial affairs so that he could pay off creditors, including the IRS.
Rajek cooperated with the investigation by the U.S. Attorney's Office
and made full disclosure to the OLR.
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Medical Incapacity Proceeding against
Anne Kathleen Reilly
On March 28, 2006, the Wisconsin Supreme Court entered an order
indefinitely suspending the law license of Anne Kathleen Reilly,
Shawano, due to medical incapacity. Medical Incapacity Proceedings
Against Reilly, 2006 WI 29. The court ordered, as a condition of
reinstatement, that Reilly provide the OLR with sufficient medical
records and a physician's report to exhibit her medical capacity to
practice law. The court also ordered, as an additional condition of
reinstatement, that Reilly pay the cost of the medical incapacity
proceeding and the fees of counsel who was appointed to represent
Reilly's law license had been suspended since September 2004,
pursuant to SCR 22.21(1), because it appeared that her continued
practice of law posed a threat to the interest of the public and the
administration of justice.
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Hearing to Reinstate Mark E. Robinson
On July 13, 2006, at 9 a.m., a public hearing will be held before
referee John R. Decker at the 3rd Floor Council Room, Evansville City
Hall, 31 S. Madison St., Evansville, Wis., on the petition of Mark E.
Robinson, Janesville, to reinstate his law license. Any interested
person may appear at the hearing and be heard in support of, or in
opposition to, the petition for reinstatement.
Robinson's law license was suspended by the Wisconsin Supreme Court
for a period of six months, effective Aug. 6, 2005. Robinson's
misconduct leading to discipline occurred in the context of multiple
real estate transactions, some involving property in which he had an
ownership interest. Robinson engaged in multiple conflicts of interest.
In more than one instance, Robinson engaged in conduct involving
dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation. Robinson's misconduct
included instructing his legal assistant to engage in conduct that would
have violated the rule prohibiting dishonesty had Robinson engaged in
the conduct himself. In one of the matters leading to discipline,
Robinson attempted to have direct contact with a represented party. A
more detailed description of Robinson's misconduct is set forth in
Disciplinary Proceedings Against Robinson, 2005 WI 88.
Relevant information may be provided to or obtained from OLR
investigator Melody Rader-Johnson, 110 E. Main St., Suite 315, Madison,
WI 53703, (877) 315-6941, or from OLR retained counsel Richard P.
Mozinski, Radosevich, Mozinski, Cashman & Olson, 903 Washington St.,
Manitowoc, WI 54221, (920) 684-1234.
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