Reinstatement of Naomi E. Soldon
On May 20, 2014, the Wisconsin Supreme Court reinstated the law license of Naomi E. Soldon, subject to conditions, and ordered Soldon to pay the cost of the reinstatement proceeding. Disciplinary Proceedings Against Soldon, 2014 WI 24. Soldon, who was admitted to practice law in Wisconsin in 1990, had been suspended by the court for six months, effective April 16, 2010. Disciplinary Proceedings Against Soldon, 2010 WI 27, 324 Wis. 2d 4, 782 N.W.2d 81. The court later suspended Soldon for an additional six months, consecutive to the end of the prior six-month suspension period. Disciplinary Proceedings Against Soldon, 2012 WI 122.
Soldon’s first disciplinary suspension primarily related to a series of retail thefts and her subsequent interactions with law enforcement officers. Those incidents occurred from the spring of 2007 through the spring of 2008. Soldon’s second disciplinary suspension related to her convictions for retail theft for incidents that occurred in Wisconsin and Illinois between 2007 and 2009.
Soldon’s misconduct arose from her substance abuse and gambling addiction. After her arrests, she participated in a one-year Milwaukee County drug treatment program as part of the successful completion of deferred prosecution agreements that resulted in the dismissal of charges against her in Milwaukee County. In addition, Soldon participated in a 28-day inpatient treatment program, followed by ongoing outpatient treatment.
While suspended, Soldon worked primarily as an office assistant at a law firm, and she was careful to ensure that her work constituted neither the unauthorized practice of law nor law work activity customarily done by law students, law clerks, or other paralegal personnel; and that her routine duties included purely administrative functions.
In the reinstatement proceeding, the court stated that Soldon showed by clear, satisfactory, and convincing evidence that she had met all the standards for reinstatement, as set forth under SCR 22.31(1) and SCR 22.29(4). The court granted Soldon’s petition for reinstatement, with the condition that she provide the Office of Lawyer Regulation (OLR) with quarterly reports from her doctor for two years to confirm that she is maintaining her sobriety and continuing to abstain from gambling.
Petition for Reinstatement of Jeffrey A. Reitz
A public hearing will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014 at 9:30 a.m., before referee Christine Harris Taylor at 4701 N. Port Washington Road, 4th Floor, Milwaukee, on the petition of Jeffrey A. Reitz, Milwaukee, to reinstate his Wisconsin law license. Any interested person may appear at the hearing and be heard in support of, or in opposition to, the petition for reinstatement.
In Disciplinary Proceedings Against Reitz, 2013 WI 27, the supreme court suspended Reitz’s Wisconsin law license for 10 months. The suspension was based on 22 counts of misconduct including, but not limited to, Reitz failing to notify a client of his suspension, failing to return a client’s telephone calls and to provide the client with information related to the client’s case, and failing to diligently represent clients; and multiple trust account violations, including the untimely delivery of client trust account funds, disbursing funds and thereby creating negative balances in his account, depositing legal fees into his client trust account and distributing those fees through his trust account instead of the law firm’s business account, and failing to provide complete and accurate trust account records to the OLR.
To be reinstated, Reitz must 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 representations in his reinstatement petition are substantiated, and 4) he has complied fully with the terms of the order of suspension or revocation and with SCR 22.26.
Relevant information may be provided to or obtained from OLR investigator Melody Rader Johnson or assistant litigation counsel Julie M. Spoke, 110 E. Main St., Suite 315, Madison, WI 53703-3383, (608) 267-2024.
Medical Incapacity Suspension of Colleen R. Tyree
On June 3, 2014, the supreme court indefinitely suspended the law license of Colleen R. Tyree, pursuant to SCR 22.34(11)(a), and imposed the cost of the proceeding against her. 2014 WI 29.
Public Reprimand of Jerry T. Delcore
The OLR and Jerry T. Delcore, Racine, agreed to the imposition of a public reprimand pursuant to SCR 22.09(1). A supreme court-appointed referee approved the agreement and issued the public reprimand on May 16, 2014, in accordance with SCR 22.09(3). The reprimand was based on Delcore’s misconduct in two client matters.
In the first matter, Delcore represented a woman in a divorce. After the court approved the marital settlement agreement, Delcore assumed responsibility for handling entry of qualified domestic relations orders (QDROs) to secure the woman’s interests in her former husband’s pension and retirement assets.
With regard to two 401(k) plans, Delcore did not timely apply for the QDROs, pay the required processing fees, or take the steps necessary to file the signed QDROs with the court. Delcore did not take steps to obtain a QDRO for a third account until three years after the marital settlement agreement was approved, and he did so only after the woman had filed a grievance with the OLR.
Delcore violated SCR 20:1.3 by failing to timely pursue approval and entry of the QDROs necessary to secure the client’s interests in her former husband’s retirement and pension assets.
Delcore violated SCR 20:1.4(b) by failing to explain to the client in a clear and timely manner that he would not take any further action with regard to several matters, including assisting the client with recovery of personal property from her former husband, payment or repayment of certain of her medical and other bills (which she believed her former husband was obligated to pay), and determining whether cashing certain checks would affect her other payments from her former husband.
In a separate matter, an individual hired Delcore for representation in a divorce. The fee agreement required payment of a nonrefundable “minimum fee retainer” of $1,000. The fee agreement also referred to an hourly rate of $150. After the final hearing, Delcore billed the client an additional $500, for a total fee of $1,500.
Notwithstanding Delcore’s characterization of the initial payment as nonrefundable, under SCR 20:1.0(ag), the initial payment was actually an advanced fee because it was “ … paid … in contemplation of future services, which will be earned at an agreed-upon basis, whether hourly, flat, or another basis.” Delcore deposited the advanced fee into his operating account. Delcore’s fee agreement did not indicate an intention to follow the measures stated in SCR 20:1.15(b)(4m), which would have allowed depositing the fee into his operating account.
Delcore violated SCR 20:1.15(b)(4) by failing, after receiving $1,000 in anticipation of providing legal representation, to deposit those funds into his trust account and instead depositing the money into his operating account, with no evidence that he intended to use the alternative advanced-fee placement measures in SCR 20:1.15(b)(4m).
Delcore received a private reprimand in 2007.