The Wisconsin SC issued two new disciplinary cases today. Both make me shake my head.
The first is In the Matter of Disciplinary Proceedings Against David V. Moss Attorney Moss has compiled an impressive record. In about three years of practicing law, he amassed thirty-five counts of misconduct arising from eight client matters. His Wisconsin license is suspended for Wisconsin law license is currently suspended for:
- Failure to cooperate with OLR grievance investigations
- Failure to pay state bar dues
- Non-compliance with trust account certification requirements.
Other than that, his law practice is off to a good start.
Mr. Moss (I don't think calling him "Attorney Moss" is appropriate) apparently recognized that maybe practicing law was not for him. Even prior to being service with the disciplinary complaint, he sent a letter to OLR
saying he would not respond to any grievances and enclosed his State Bar membership card, seeking to resign from the state bar.
OLR did not take "I quit" as an answer and continued its action. Here is the amazing thing: The referee, James C. Boll, Jr., recommended a nine month suspension. Really? After 35 counts, a default and his mailing in his license - nine months?
The SC was a little bit better, imposing a 2 year suspension. No dissents.
The other case is In re Disciplinary Matter of Sayaovong. In that case, the attorney was charged with seven counts of misconduct arising out of two client matters. The attorney never bothered to respond to the complaint. As a result, the referee found that he was in default for failing to respond to the complaint. The "tough" sanction was a public reprimand. Really. Seven violations and no response and he didn't even get a time out. Again, no dissents.
Two more cases proving how pathetic our so-called disciplinary system operates in Wisconsin.
My friend, Phil Tucker, posted on FB a link to an article entitled "Do You Want To Be Right Or Do You Want To Be Happy?" It makes an excellent point. What's disappointing is that she got the advice from a friend, not her divorce lawyer. In fact, her divorce lawyer apparently recommended the opposite.
Of course, the reason for the divorce lawyer's recommendation may have been the lawyer's economic interest rather than the clients. But, lawyers should be professionals - and most are - which means advice should be what is best for the client, not for the lawyer.
It is not infrequent that the client's best interest is for less economic return in exchange for peace and security. This is not an easy equation to calculate. But, the point is that maximum finances does not always equal maximum happiness. Good divorce lawyers practice a holistic approach - as my late partner, Leonard Loeb, used to say: "The goal is to get the best financial results for a client without creating or adding to the degree of animosity which would prevent the parties from walking down the aisle together at their childrens' weddings."
Usually, the goals of maximum financial results and avoiding warfare and sympathetic. Where they are not, as this article points out, the long range interest of the client may not always be to get the last dollar.
In the category of "just when I think I've heard it all", the ABA Journal reported on a case where a man sued a judge for having an affair with the man's wife while a child support case was pending before him.
Apparently, this does not give rise to a civil rights violation under the doctrine of judicial immunity.
Fortunately, the Michigan Supreme Court removed the judge from office.
It is not infrequent that a client will question the impartiality of a judge, but it usually relates to whether they tend to generally prefer men to women or vice versa in some manner.
As I said, just when I think I've heard it all...