Where attorney Nikola P. Kostich represented a criminal defendant after being previously retained to represent her victim in a civil action, a public reprimand is appropriate.
“Case law supports imposition of a public reprimand for cases involving a single conflict of interest. However, the conflict in this case was egregious. Attorney Kostich’s failure to recognize that it was unethical for him to defend Giannini, who was being criminally prosecuted for abusing G.K., without obtaining G.K.’s consent in accordance with SCR 20:1.9(a), reflects a troubling lack of awareness of or attention to the rights of his clients or his responsibility as a lawyer to guard sensitive information with which he had been entrusted. This court believes that further precautions are necessary. Accordingly, in addition to the public reprimand we impose today, we also direct Attorney Kostich to complete, within 12 months of the date of this decision, ten credits of continuing legal education coursework approved for ethics. Failure to complete this ethics coursework may result in Attorney Kostich’s suspension from the practice of law.”
2009AP287-D OLR v. Kostich
Attorneys: For Appellant: Kostich, Nikola P., Milwaukee; For Respondent: Krohn, Robert G., Edgerton; Weigel, William J., Madison