January 30, 2013
Self-Representation In Bar Discipline Case Is Evidence Of Incompetence
The Wisconsin Supreme Court has revoked the license of an attorney who had a "lengthy disciplinary history."
The court summarized the problems:
Attorney [H]s return to the disciplinary process on multiple occasions with the same problems indicated a failure to grasp or adhere to the standards that are required of attorneys practicing in this state and a lack of remorse for his prior ethical violations. The lack of acceptance of responsibility and lack of remorse was also demonstrated by Attorney [H]'s attempts to blame J.M. and his associate attorney for the delay in filing the new civil action. He also claimed that J.M. was withholding documents from him because he delivered more than two boxes of file documents to J.M. upon termination of the representation. The referee, however, found more credible the testimony of J.M. and his significant other that Attorney [H] had provided only two boxes of documents that purportedly represented the sum of Attorney [H]'s file on the J.M. representation...
...we determine that Attorney [H]'s license to practice law in Wisconsin should be revoked. We note that this is the fifth disciplinary proceeding against Attorney [H], and that he has now been disciplined for the same types of misconduct on multiple occasions. He has therefore demonstrated that he is unable to conform his conduct to the rules of professional conduct for attorneys in this state. As the referee noted, even when representing himself in this proceeding with his license status at issue, he failed to perform as a responsible attorney, ignoring the need to develop a defense substantiated by documentary evidence, to appear for court proceedings, and to file briefs, exhibit lists, etc., as requested by the referee. Moreover, of great importance to our determination is the referee's finding that Attorney [H] took $58,000 of his client's money and produced no benefit for the client. Indeed, he converted $28,000 of his client's money to his own personal uses without his client's knowledge. He has therefore demonstrated that he is not currently fit to hold a license to practice law in this state and to represent members of the public in important legal matters.
The court also ordered payment of costs and restitution. (Mike Frisch)
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