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    Lawyer Discipline

    The Office of Lawyer Regulation (OLR), 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. 81, No. 2, February 2008

    Lawyer Discipline

    The Office of Lawyer Regulation (OLR), 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 OLR has offices 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.

    Disciplinary proceedings against John E. Raftery

    In a Dec. 11, 2007 decision, the Wisconsin Supreme Court suspended the law license of John E. Raftery, Random Lake, for six months, effective Jan. 8, 2008. Disciplinary Proceedings against Raftery, 2007 WI 137.

    The misconduct leading to the suspension order occurred in two employment discrimination matters and in a probate matter. Raftery also practiced law while his license was suspended.

    In the first matter, Raftery failed to timely respond to discovery requests and failed to respond to a summary judgment motion, which led to dismissal of the client's claim, in violation of SCR 20:1.3. Raftery also failed to keep the client informed of the status of her matter, failed to promptly notify her when the case was dismissed, and failed to inform her of the reason for the dismissal, contrary to former SCR 20:1.4(a). Finally, Raftery failed to cooperate with the Office of Lawyer Regulation's (OLR) investigation of the client's grievance and made misrepresentations to the OLR, contrary to SCR 22.03(2) and (6).

    In the second employment discrimination matter, Raftery failed to respond to requests for information from the state Equal Rights Division regarding his client's complaint, resulting in the initial dismissal of the complaint, in violation of SCR 20:1.3. He also failed to cooperate with the OLR's investigation of this matter, contrary to SCR 22.03(2) and (6).

    The supreme court had temporarily suspended Raftery's law license in January 2005 based on his noncooperation in an OLR investigation. Raftery failed to wind up his law practice within 15 days of that suspension order, failed to file a timely and accurate affidavit required under SCR 22.26, and continued to practice law, contrary to former SCR 20:8.4(f), and 22.26(1) and (2). Raftery also failed to timely conclude the probate of an estate, in violation of SCR 20:1.3.

    The referee found, and the supreme court agreed, that Raftery's chronic depression was a mitigating circumstance to be considered in imposing discipline. The court ordered that on reinstatement, Raftery was to comply with a plan for oversight and accountability for two years, including monitoring of his law practice, quarterly reports of compliance to the OLR, and semiannual reports from a medical provider regarding his ongoing treatment and any recurrences of depression.

    Raftery's prior discipline consisted of a 1998 private reprimand and a 2001 public reprimand.

    Hearing to Reinstate John F. Scanlan

    On March 18, 2008, at 10:30 a.m., a public hearing will be held before referee John Decker at the Evansville City Hall, Council Chambers, Third Floor, 31 S. Madison St., Evansville, WI 53536, on the petition of John F. Scanlan, Chicago, 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.

    Scanlan's license was suspended for six months by the Wisconsin Supreme Court on May 5, 2006. Scanlan's suspension was based on multiple counts of misconduct involving nine client matters, including: a failure to provide competent representation; neglect of a client matter; depositing client funds in a business account; failing to deliver funds held in trust to a client; failing to keep trust account records; failing to return an unearned fee; making unidentified and unauthorized transfers from his client trust account; failing to notify a client and the court of an administrative license suspension; and multiple failures to cooperate with the OLR's investigation resulting in a temporary license suspension.

    To be reinstated, Scanlan has the burden to substantiate by clear, satisfactory, and convincing evidence that: 1) he has the moral character to practice law in Wisconsin; 2) his resumption of the practice of law will not be detrimental to the administration of justice or subversive of the public interest; 3) all of his representations in his reinstatement petition are substantiated; and 4) he has complied fully with the terms of the suspension order and with supreme court rules.

    Relevant information may be provided to or obtained from OLR investigator Nancy Warner or assistant litigation counsel Julie M. Falk, 110 E. Main St., Suite 315, Madison, WI 53703; (608) 267-8921, toll-free (877) 315-6941.

    Disciplinary proceedings against Susan L. Schuster

    In a Nov. 14, 2007, decision the supreme court suspended the law license of Susan L. Schuster, Stoughton, for 90 days. Disciplinary Proceedings Against Schuster, 2007 WI 131.

    Schuster and the OLR stipulated that Schuster submitted bills to a client that repeatedly failed to credit the client with payments Schuster had received and, despite the client's numerous attempts to correct the bills, Schuster then sought a judgment against the client in which she misrepresented to the circuit court the amount that was owed. The supreme court concluded that Schuster's conduct violated SCR 20:8.4(c) and former SCR 20:3.3(a)(1).

    Schuster has been the subject of two prior disciplinary orders. In 2003 her law license was suspended for 90 days for numerous trust account violations, improper withdrawal, and false statements to the OLR. Effective April 2006, Schuster's law license was suspended for nine months for trust account violations and dishonest conduct. She has not been reinstated.




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