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OLR v. Scott F. Anderson, 2010 WI 39

Wisconsin supreme court decision

Sixty-day suspension imposed for conceded misconduct consisting of: failure to take timely action with respect to civil forfeiture action against client; failure to respond to client’s reasonable requests for information and to timely communicate case developments; failure to explain legal implications of various dealings related to representation, ¶20.

¶28  Contrary to Attorney Anderson’s suggestion, not all cases imposing a license suspension involve dishonesty. See In re Disciplinary Proceedings Against Whitnall, 230 Wis. 2d 194, 195-96, 600 N.W.2d 910 (1999). Attorney Whitnall had been disciplined three previous times. See id. His misconduct involved a lack of diligence and cooperation with the OLR investigation, resulting in a 60-day suspension. Also, in the case of In re Disciplinary Proceedings Against Jones, 176 Wis. 2d 140, 499 N.W.2d 674 (1993), after Attorney Jones had been disciplined five previous times, he was found to have violated his duties of diligence and communication. See Jones, 176 Wis. 2d at 141, 143. His license was suspended 60 days. Id.

¶29  We are not persuaded a monetary penalty would satisfy the objectives of attorney discipline. Attorney Anderson has demonstrated a pattern of misconduct; this is his fourth disciplinary proceeding involving similar misconduct. We note Attorney Anderson’s expressions of remorse and his cooperation in these proceedings. We conclude, nonetheless, a license suspension for a minimal period is called for under the circumstances.  Attorney Anderson must be impressed with his professional obligation to pursue diligently the interests of those persons who rely on him to protect and further their interests in the legal system. We conclude progressive discipline in the form of a 60-day license suspension is warranted.

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