Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Not Ready For Prime Time

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has denied reinstatement, rejecting a favorable recommendation on behalf of an attorney whose license was revoked after a lengthy history of bar sanctions

The scope and seriousness of Attorney Mandelman's prior misconduct reveals a lawyer who lacked a proper understanding of and attitude toward the standards that are imposed upon members of the bar. Certainly, he did not act in conformity with those standards for any appreciable period of time. He extensively used client trust accounts to conceal personal income and recklessly filed tax returns that misrepresented his income. His own record demonstrates that, prior to his suspension, he was not a person who could be safely recommended as a person fit to represent clients and to aid in the administration of justice in this state. Consequently, he must do more now than simply clean up the mess he created before. We must be persuaded by evidence that is clear and convincing that he meets these standards now.

He has made some progress but the court had concerns

The referee and the OLR were apparently satisfied with Attorney Mandelman's explanation of business relationships with Weston Properties, Heartland, and Liberty Holding Company, LLC, which was finally dissolved February 12, 2014. The OLR and the referee were apparently satisfied with Attorney Mandelman's responses to questions about the fact that he was a party to a number of civil actions filed within Milwaukee County and Ozaukee County. At the hearing, Attorney Mandelman testified that he had resolved all outstanding disputes.

The referee downplayed the significance of these concerns, so she did not make detailed findings of fact about them. Accordingly, we are not usurping the role of the referee as the fact-finder. However, we consider the scope of the matters of concern important to our assessment of Attorney Mandelman's proper understanding of and attitude toward the standards that are imposed upon members of the bar and his ability to act in conformity with those standards as well as whether he can be safely recommended as a person fit to represent clients and to aid in the administration of justice in this state.

 Thus

we conclude that Attorney Mandelman has failed to meet his burden to prove that he has a proper understanding of and attitude toward the standards imposed upon members of the bar, that he will act in conformity with those standards, and that he can be safely recommended as a person fit to be consulted by others, to represent them, and to otherwise act in matters of trust and confidence.

Justice Bradley concurred and noted

Because the August 1, 2014 order revoking his license to practice law was made retroactive in application, there were a mere four days between the order and the filing of his August 5, 2014 petition for reinstatement. Attorney Mandelman's petition would be more persuasive if he could demonstrate an enlarged period of exemplary behavior combined with evidence of responsibility in employment other than as a student, together with responsibility in managing his debt.

(Mike Frisch)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_profession/2015/12/the-wisconsin-supreme-court-has-denied-reinstatement.html

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