How Many Convictions Equal a Revocation?
May 1, 2013
Here is this week’s quiz: How many criminal convictions does it take before the Supreme Court of Wisconsin will revoke someone’s law license?
Answer: It’s not certain, but apparently, more than 14.
Yesterday, our SC suspended the license of Attorney Maria J. Schreier for thirty (30) months. Matter of Disciplinary Proceedings Against Schreier, 2012AP366-D. Attorney Schreier had been convicted of 14 crimes between 2008 and 2011, most of which, but not all, were misdemeanors. Included were three felonies. There were also counts of failing to cooperate with OLR’s investigation totalling twenty (count ’em, 20) ethical violations. The attorney stipulated to the violations.
Incredibly, OLR’s original recommendation was a one year suspension. Our SC, never known for its tough attitude towards lawyers who violate rules, rejected the recommendation which resulted in the referee recommending a two year suspension. Even that was too lenient for the SC, who ordered a 30 month suspension with conditions for reinstatement.
Yes, the violations were due to substance abuse and she is receiving treatment. She is doing volunteer work and I’m sure she is really, really sorry.
But isn’t there a point where our lawyer disciplinary system should say enough is enough? And I suggest that maybe that point should be someplace short of 14 criminal convictions.
After all, if we don’t sufficiently respect what it means to have the privilege to practice law, why should we expect anyone else to respect us?