Wisconsin’s Disciplinary Process – Or How Do You Define “Slower Than Molasses?”

By Attorney Gregg Herman
February 25, 2014

A couple of weeks ago, I reported on a proposal before the Wisconsin SC to publicize ethical grievances against lawyers in certain circumstances.  A hearing on that proposal was held yesterday.  According to an article in the Wisconsin Law Journal, the discussion went beyond just the proposed rule to encompass the entire disciplinary system.  CJ Abrahamson is quoted as asking: Why don’t you just speed up the process?

She has to be kidding.  It’s not that the investigation stage can take too long (it can) but the biggest time drag is when the case is before the court.  Ironically, I was asked today about a disciplinary matter which has been sitting before the court for well over one year.  Just sitting there.  No action.

One time, I was representing OLR in a matter involving a lawyer charged with lack of diligence.  The matter sat so long before the SC that I asked for permission to file lack of diligence charges against each justice on the theory that they exhibited less diligence than the lawyer.  Unfortunately, I was denied.

As I’ve ranted about before, our disciplinary system is severely flawed.  It’s dismaying to see how little the SC seems to understand and appreciate its own role in it.

Attorney Gregg Herman is a founding partner of Loeb & Herman S.C. in Milwaukee, WI. He practices family law exclusively, and can be reached via e-mail or by calling (414) 272-5632.