December 21, 2011
Good Deed Punished With Reprimand
An attorney who was suspended for failing to respond to a client's complaint has been reprimanded by the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The client had retained the attorney to defend criminal charges.
The court noted mitigation found by the referee:
The referee found a significant mitigating factor to be that Attorney...'s misconduct arose after he took over a heavy caseload from another attorney with whom he shared office space and whose license was suspended. The referee noted that out of a sense of compassion and professional obligation, Attorney...nearly doubled his own caseload by taking on the other attorney's clients, the vast majority of whom had already paid retainers to the suspended attorney, and Attorney...basically handled these clients' cases for free.
The referee found Attorney...to be remorseful and found Attorney...'s problems were situational in that he was unexpectedly overwhelmed by the amount of additional work he took on and there was no indication that he operated out of greed or dishonest motive. The referee noted that Attorney...has discontinued the practice of law, has gone to nursing school and obtained an R.N. degree, and is currently working at a hospital. Based on all of those factors, the referee concluded that a public reprimand was an appropriate level of discipline.
Perhaps a kind heart is put to better use in the nursing profession than in the legal profession.
Just a thought. Not a sermon. (Mike Frisch)
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