Monday, November 30, 2020
An attorney who was suspended on October 2019 for 27 counts of ethics violations in four client matters was given a four-year suspension by the Wisconsin Supreme Court after he had defaulted on 44 counts of professional misconduct
Respondent's counsel had withdrawn, stating that his client's whereabouts were unknown and he may have committed suicide.
There is no indication that this is true.
The referee then turned to the OLR's motion to strike Attorney White's answer and its motion for default judgment and granted both. The referee said he had "never seen anything quite like" the OLR's complaint against Attorney White and, "the attitude and statements that are cited in the complaint are not only stunning, but they show a degree of disrespect for clients and for the system that I've never encountered . . .." The referee found that Attorney White's conduct was egregious and that his abruptly leaving the area, without regard to his clients and without advising the OLR, was an extraordinary situation. The referee said, "to leave everyone in a lurch, as Attorney White has done, is unfathomable. Anyone would have to say how could any professional conduct himself in this way."
As to the sanction, after careful review of the matter, we conclude that a two-year suspension is an inadequate sanction for Attorney White's misconduct. As noted, in the previous disciplinary action, Attorney White apparently commenced his solo law practice shortly after graduating from law school and almost immediately got himself into trouble due to his apparent disdain for doing the necessary research or work to perform as a capable advocate for his clients.