Wednesday, May 23, 2012
The Wisconsin Supreme Court has revoked the license of an attorney admitted in 1980.
The court described the charges and response:
On July 20, 2011, the OLR filed a complaint against Attorney Kelly and an order to answer. The complaint alleged 51 separate counts of misconduct. Attorney Kelly was personally served with the complaint and order to answer on August 6, 2011.
On August 22, 2011, Attorney Kelly filed a very brief answer to the OLR's complaint. The answer consisted of a single sentence stating that Attorney Kelly denied "each and every material allegation of paragraphs 3 through 231." One of the two paragraphs Attorney Kelly's answer did not deny has some procedural significance for this proceeding. Paragraph 2 of the complaint alleged that Attorney Kelly resided at an address on Sidney Street in Madison. Thus, by not denying paragraph 2, Attorney Kelly's answer admitted that he did reside at the stated address.
As a result of the address admission, the ensuing default and striking of the attorney's substantive response to the charges was sustained.
As to sanction:
The facts detailed in the complaint demonstrate a clear pattern of neglect by Attorney Kelly of his clients' needs and objectives and of disregard for his obligations as an attorney in this state. Moreover, even though on most representations Attorney Kelly did little or no work, he repeatedly refused to refund any portion of the thousands of dollars he had obtained from the clients or their relatives. In a number of the matters, Attorney Kelly also refused to return the file to the client or to forward it to the client's new attorney. Attorney Kelly repeatedly refused to respond to the grievances filed by his clients or to the OLR's requests for information. Finally, Attorney Kelly's misconduct was not an isolated or temporary occurrence. It occurred in 12 separate representations and in some situations lasted for several years. We therefore conclude that the severe sanction of the revocation of his license to practice law in Wisconsin must be imposed to protect the public from a repetition of this misconduct and to deter other attorneys from engaging in similar misconduct.