Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Eisenberg: ‘They can’t unlawyer me’

Eisenberg: ‘They can’t unlawyer me’

Listen to this article
Alan Eisenberg

Attorney Alan Eisenberg, who had his law license revoked in April 2010, can’t petition for reinstatement until 2017, but he’s not interested.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court on April 30 tacked two years on to the five years Eisenberg has to wait to file for reinstatement. The additional years are the result of the sixth disciplinary proceeding against the repeat offender. The court found Eisenberg pursued a frivolous action, refused to timely pay sanctions, and entered an illegal fee-shifting agreement.

“I have been convicted of nothing. I’ve never been charged with anything,” said Eisenberg, who called himself the “most over-disciplined lawyer in the state of Wisconsin.”

Eisenberg, who is 72, called the court’s latest action “a stake that reaches through the coffin.”

He does not intend to apply for reinstatement, he said, adding, “It’s water over the dam; spilt milk. I shall return, but in other ways.”

The case is unique, said Richard Cayo, a Milwaukee lawyer who concentrates in professional responsibility defense and who has previously represented Eisenberg against earlier ethics-violations cases, in that the Office of Lawyer Regulation moved forward on the latest charges despite the revocation.

“Regardless of whether or not they have jurisdiction to proceed against a revoked lawyer,” Cayo said, “it seems like a dubious deployment of resources, when you’re bringing charges against someone with no entitlement toward reinstatement after the expiration of a certain period of time. Apparently the court didn’t agree and opted to exercise jurisdiction.”

The OLR filed its complaint in February 2009. The proceedings before the referee did not move forward for a period of time, however, given the other, then-pending, disciplinary proceeding that resulted in Eisenberg’s revocation.

In issuing its decision April 30, the court wrote, “Of great importance to this issue is the fact that this is the sixth time that Attorney Eisenberg has been the subject of professional discipline due to misconduct. Moreover, there is a recurring pattern of behavior and disregard for the rules that govern the privilege of practicing law in this state. This is not the first time that Attorney Eisenberg has been found to have commenced sham or frivolous litigation.”

Eisenberg said he thought the case, which involved a dead pet dog, had merit, however.

“It’s not frivolous if you’re attempting to assert in good faith a legal position, which is what I was doing,” he said.

Eisenberg’s disciplinary history in the state dates back to 1970, when he was suspended for one year for pursuing a course of harassment against a judge (State v. Eisenberg, 48 Wis.2d 364, 180 N.W.2d 529).

He was suspended again in 1988, publicly reprimanded in 1996, and suspended again in 2004. In 2007, his license was reinstated over a bitter dissent by three justices that recounted in detail the course of conduct that led to the 1970 suspension (OLR v. Eisenberg, 2007 WI 7, 298 Wis.2d 578, 726 N.W.2d 634).

In the incident that led to his revocation, the court agreed with the OLR that, “Eisenberg’s conduct in the civil action became a vendetta on the part of Attorney Eisenberg to personally attack, harass, and maliciously injure … .”

In its April 30 decision, the high court ordered Eisenberg to pay the full costs of the disciplinary proceeding, which total $27,689.29.

Eisenberg said that during oral arguments in the case, one of the justices commented that the latest action was “like piling on.”

“Then they hammered me anyway for the costs,” he said.

Though his health is declining, Eisenberg said he remains active in the Milwaukee area, often volunteering his time with veterans, children and others.

“When I was a kid I wanted to be a lawyer, and I am,” Eisenberg said. “They can’t unlawyer me or lobotomize me.”

Wisconsin Law Journal editor-at-large Jane Pribek also contributed to this report.


What kind of stories do you want to read more of?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Legal News

See All Legal News

WLJ People

Sea all WLJ People

Opinion Digests