The Office of Lawyer Regulation (OLR), an agency of the Wisconsin
Supreme Court, provides these summaries. The OLR assists the
court in supervising the practice of law and protecting 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. Find
the full text of these summaries at www.wicourts.gov/olr.
Disciplinary Proceedings Against Laura R. Schwefel
On May 26, 2022, the Wisconsin Supreme Court granted a SCR 22.19 petition for consensual license revocation filed by Laura R. Schwefel, who practiced law in Waukesha, Brookfield, and Sussex. Schwefel’s petition acknowledged she could not successfully defend against allegations of professional misconduct set forth in an unfiled Office of Lawyer Regulation (OLR) complaint attached to her petition. The court also ordered Schwefel to pay restitution totaling $75,298.13. Disciplinary Proc. Against Schwefel, 2022 WI 35.
The OLR’s complaint alleged six counts of misconduct arising out of Schwefel’s relationship with H.K., an elderly woman Schwefel befriended in approximately 2007. A few years later, Schwefel suggested that H.K. name Schwefel as her agent to make health-care decisions in the event H.K. became incapacitated. Schwefel also suggested that H.K. allow Schwefel to manage H.K.’s financial matters and that H.K. sign a power of attorney naming Schwefel as H.K.’s agent for financial matters.
Schwefel acknowledged that she could not successfully defend against the following allegations:
By using her position of trust to open two bank accounts as jointly owned accounts, without H.K.’s knowing and informed consent to title the accounts jointly in their names, in each instance Schwefel violated SCR 20:8.4(c), and with regard to the second bank account, Schwefel also violated Wis. Stat. section 244.14(1)(b) and (2)(a) and (b) and thereby violated SCR 20:8.4(f).
By converting $72,600.51 of H.K.’s funds to purchase a condominium in Schwefel’s name without H.K.’s knowledge or informed consent and using H.K.’s credit card for purchases and services that were not for H.K.’s benefit without H.K.’s knowledge or informed consent, in each instance, Schwefel violated SCR 20:8.4(c).
By using her position of trust to cause H.K. to transfer her interest in a second, jointly owned condominium to Schwefel for less than the fair market value of H.K.’s interest and investment in the condominium, including by not paying the $20,000 purchase price to H.K., Schwefel violated SCR 20:8.4(c). Schwefel also violated Wis. Stat. section 244.14(1)(b) and (2)(a) and (b) and thereby violated SCR 20:8.4(f).
By failing to maintain records and receipts of all actions taken on behalf of H.K. while she acted as H.K.’s agent under the financial power of attorney, contrary to Wis. Stat. section 244.14(2)(d), and by failing to provide H.K. with an accounting upon her request, contrary to Wis. Stat. section 244.14(8)(a) and (9), in each instance Schwefel violated SCR 20:8.4(f).
By misleading the Waukesha County Circuit Court as to the existence of the financial power of attorney, Schwefel violated SCR 20:8.4(c).
By making misrepresentations to the OLR during the OLR’s initial intake evaluation of H.K.’s grievance, Schwefel violated SCR 20:8.4(c); and by making misrepresentations during the OLR’s formal investigation of H.K.’s grievance, Schwefel violated SCR 22.03(6), enforceable under the Rules of Professional Conduct via SCR 20:8.4(h).
Schwefel was publicly reprimanded in 2014. Public Reprimand of Laura R. Schwefel, 2014-6.
Disciplinary Proceedings Against Melinda Alfredson
On May 25, 2022, the Wisconsin Supreme Court suspended the law license of Melinda Alfredson, Omro, for one year, and ordered her to pay the full $2,552.11 cost of the disciplinary proceeding, as well as $250 in restitution. Disciplinary Proc. Against Alfredson, 2022 WI 33.
Alfredson was admitted to practice law in Wisconsin in 2009. A client hired Alfredson in April 2018 to prepare documentation to permit the client to serve as power of attorney for her son and to reclaim funds alleged to be owed to her son by his employer. Alfredson was also hired to answer the client’s questions related to a criminal case involving the client’s son. The client’s son was represented in the criminal case by another attorney. The client paid Alfredson a $1,500 advanced fee. There was no written fee agreement, and Alfredson did not deposit the $1,500 advanced fee into a trust account.
On May 22, 2018, Alfredson’s law license was suspended for noncompliance with mandatory continuing legal education (CLE) requirements. Her law license was reinstated on Nov. 28, 2018. While her law license was suspended, Alfredson provided legal services to the client, as evidenced by billing invoices.
On Sept. 1, 2018, the client asked Alfredson to commence legal proceedings against her son’s employer. The following month, the client requested a status update, and Alfredson informed the client the case had been filed in small claims court and later claimed that a hearing was scheduled to take place on Dec. 19, 2018. Alfredson’s representations to the client were false. Alfredson never filed the small claims case or scheduled the hearing. Alfredson also misled the client into believing that Alfredson was busy “in court” at various times.
On Feb. 26, 2019, in a proceeding unrelated to the client, the supreme court suspended Alfredson’s law license for 90 days, effective April 9, 2019. Disciplinary Proc. Against Alfredson, 2019 WI 17. The day after the opinion was issued, Alfredson was entered as counsel of record for the client’s son in a family law case. Alfredson never informed the client that her law license had been suspended and did not provide written notification to the court or to opposing counsel of her inability, because of the April 9, 2019, suspension, to act as an attorney for the son.
Alfredson’s conduct violated SCR 20:1.3; SCR 20:1.4(a)(3); SCR 20:1.5(b)(1) and (2); SCR 20:1.15(b)(1); SCR 20:8.4(c); SCR 31.10(1) and SCR 22.26(2), enforceable via SCR 20:8.4(f); and SCR 22.26(1)(c),
enforceable via SCR 20:8.4(f).
The court determined, “Attorney Alfredson is now back before us a third time and progressive discipline is clearly merited.”
Alfredson received a 60-day suspension in 2017 and the 90-day suspension in 2019.
Disciplinary Proceedings Against Matthew R. Meyer
On June 8, 2022, the Wisconsin Supreme Court revoked the law license of Matthew R. Meyer, Milwaukee, effective July 14, 2022. The court placed conditions on the reinstatement of Meyer’s law license and ordered Meyer to pay the $1,891.81 cost of the disciplinary proceeding to the Office of Lawyer Regulation. Disciplinary Proc. Against Meyer, 2022 WI 29.
Meyer committed two counts of professional misconduct, stemming from his convictions for committing two felony offenses in Milwaukee County. The victim in the case was a former friend. By engaging in conduct leading to a felony conviction of threatening to communicate derogatory information, and by engaging in conduct leading to a felony conviction of stalking, Meyer, in each instance, violated SCR 20:8.4(b). By creating fabricated character-reference letters for submission to the district attorney’s office during plea negotiations, Meyer violated SCR 20:8.4(c).
The Wisconsin Supreme Court emphasized in its decision, “We conclude Attorney Meyer’s serious and disturbing conduct, in which he used his position as an attorney to intimidate and threaten a woman with whom he had been in a relationship, warrants the revocation of his Wisconsin law license.”
Meyer had no prior discipline.