Thursday, December 12, 2013
An attorney who engaged in extensive misconduct in four client matters was suspended for six months by the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
The court considered mitigating and aggravating factors:
Although there are both mitigating and aggravating factors to consider in weighing the seriousness of Attorney Smith's misconduct, the balance does not tip in Attorney Smith's favor. Weighing in Attorney Smith's favor are the facts that she did not operate with a malicious intent, she did not benefit personally from her misconduct, and, according to the referee, she experienced medical problems during the period in question that can explain some portion of her misconduct. Also weighing in Attorney Smith's favor is the fact that she has expressed remorse for her behavior. Weighing more heavily against Attorney Smith are the facts that both this case and her previous disciplinary case show a troubling pattern of poor bookkeeping, office mismanagement, inadequate communication with clients, and insufficient concern for her clients' reasonable needs. Attorney Smith also has displayed a pattern of excuse-making, blame-shifting, and obfuscation which suggests that these types of transgressions could happen again.
The suspension requires the attorney to petition for reinstatement. (Mike Frisch)