Friday, February 12, 2021
An attorney who had been suspended for 14 months for accepting "side fees" while employed by a law firm has been denied reinstatement by the Wisconsin Supreme Court for failure to make restitution to the firm
The requirement to make restitution in SCR 22.29(4m) may include amounts due to those harmed by the lawyer's misconduct, even if restitution is not expressly ordered in the original disciplinary proceeding...
We are under no obligation to reinstate an attorney who has made no effort at all to make restitution to or settle all claims of persons injured or harmed by his misconduct. Lathrop v. Donohue, 10 Wis. 2d 230, 237, 102 N.W.2d 404, 408 (1960) (observing that the practice of law is not a right but a privilege); In re Disciplinary Proceedings Against Hyndman, 2002 WI 6, ¶4, 249 Wis. 2d 650, 638 N.W.2d 293 (stating that a petitioner seeking reinstatement does not enjoy a presumption of rehabilitation upon the expiration of a term of suspension). Upon a showing that Attorney Parks has sought in good faith to address the requirements of SCR 22.29(4m), we will be more favorably disposed to a future reinstatement petition. Although a petitioner typically must wait nine months before seeking reinstatement after denial of a reinstatement petition, in this case we exercise our discretion to reduce that time. SCR 22.33(4); In re Disciplinary Proceedings Against Carroll, 2004 WI 19, 269 Wis. 2d 172, 675 N.W.2d 792. Attorney Parks may seek reinstatement when he can demonstrate that he has addressed SCR 22.29(4m).
Two justices dissented and would grant reinstatement. ( Mike Frisch)