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Attorney Ethics & Conduct

“A man who acts as his own attorney has a fool for a client” – Abraham Lincoln

Every day attorneys are faced with ethical concerns or dilemmas in their practice. Some of these questions are not easily answered by a review of the Wisconsin Supreme Court Rules and fall into uncertain areas and attorneys may find themselves facing disciplinary action.

The attorney disciplinary process begins with a grievance filed by the client against the attorney. The majority of complaints filed against attorneys by clients are not actually prosecuted by the State of Wisconsin, Office of Lawyer Regulation but are dealt with in some other manner, including dismissal, diversions and participating in continuing legal education. In the event that it is determined that the facts alleged in the grievance constitute good cause for the lawyer to be prosecuted by the Office of Lawyer Regulation, the investigation proceeds to review by the Preliminary Review Committee, a panel of lawyers and lay people, who determine whether there is cause to proceed. Attorney Terence J. Bouressa of One Law Group, S.C. was a member of the Preliminary Review Committee for 6 years. His participation in the committee provided him unique insights into the lawyer regulation system in the State of Wisconsin.

In the event the Preliminary Review Committee makes a cause to proceed determination, a complaint is filed by the Office of Lawyer Regulation against the lawyer and then the matter proceeds to litigation and trial, generally before a referee appointed by the Wisconsin Supreme Court. All determinations as to attorney discipline are ultimately made by the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Discipline can range from a private reprimand to revocation of the attorney’s license to practice law in the State of Wisconsin.

This office represents attorneys in all stages of disciplinary process from consulting on ethical issues, to responding to a grievance, to litigating matters before the Office of Lawyer Regulation and the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

It is important to understand how to react when there is contact from a regulatory authority and how to proceed appropriately in order to avoid unnecessary consequences and sanctions that could come in the event responsive and cooperative engagement with the Office of Lawyer Regulation does not to occur. It also needs to be recognized when a violation should be vigorously defended and the lawyers at One Law Group, S.C. are prepared to defend you in litigation matters before the Office of Lawyer Regulation and the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

The attorneys at One Law Group, S.C. are prepared to assist you in the interpretation of the Professional Rules of Conduct governing Wisconsin lawyers and are prepared to assist you not only to consult in areas where a potential grievance could be avoided but also to guide lawyers through the system to avoid unnecessary consequences and sanctions based on familiarity and experience with the Office of Lawyer Regulation system.

Areas where we may be able to be of assistance include:

• Areas of competence
• Scope of representation
• Diligence
• Communication
• Allocation of authority
• Fees and fee agreements
• Confidentiality
• Conflicts of interest
• Duties to former, present and past clients
• Imputed disqualification
• Safe keeping of property
• Trust accounts and fiduciary accounts (IOLTA)
• Client solicitation
• Misconduct
• Firm liability
• Unauthorized practice of law
• Effects of suspension or disbarment  
• Privilege issues
• Fee splitting and fee disputes

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