Wednesday, June 27, 2012
The Wisconsin Supreme Court has ordered license revocation and restitution in a bar discipline matter where a referee had found:
...the referee noted, among other things, Attorney Stange's repeated lack of candor
with courts, clients, estate beneficiaries, and his fellow attorneys; the
significant delays caused by Attorney Stange's late, incomplete, and
inconsistent responses to the OLR; the particular vulnerability of many of
Attorney Stange's clients and their beneficiaries, including charitable
organizations; Attorney Stange's indifference to making his victims whole; and
the similarity between the misconduct involved in this case and that involved in
Attorney Stange's 1997 private reprimand for failing to timely prepare and file
required documentation in several estate proceedings. The referee also noted that although Attorney Stange's decision to plead no contest to all charges eliminated the need for a
lengthy and difficult hearing, there was little doubt of what the outcome of such a hearing would have been given the vast documentary evidence of misconduct assembled by the OLR. The referee also noted that Attorney Stange's excuses for his conduct—the time and financial stresses of his solo practice and his mother's medical problems——were not sufficiently unique or compelling as to constitute mitigating factors. Finally, the referee noted that there appears to be no other disciplinary case with misconduct this severe that did not result in license revocation.
The court on sanction:
We agree with the referee that Attorney Stange's misconduct warrants the
revocation of his Wisconsin law license. Attorney Stange's mishandling of client matters, his misappropriation of client funds, his pattern of dishonesty, and his failure to fully and forthrightly cooperate with the OLR demonstrate that he does not appreciate the obligations that apply to an individual who has been granted a Wisconsin law license. By his deceitful, dishonest, and unprofessional conduct, Attorney Stange has forfeited the privilege of practicing law in this state.