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Attorney’s license suspended for 3 years over 42 counts of misconduct

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has suspended a Milwaukee attorney’s license.

Robert D’Arruda, a criminal defense attorney, graduated from Marquette University Law School in 1993. He was privately disciplined in 2011 for failing to provide a written fee agreement and itemized statement of accounting for services, and not responding to clients or Office of Lawyer Regulation requests.

D’Arruda was also publicly disciplined in 2013 for 13 counts of misconduct involving four clients. According to court documents, he failed to explain the basis for his fees to clients, improperly handled fees he received and failed to respond to OLR inquiries.

His license was temporarily suspended in April 2014 for failing to cooperate with the OLR in matters related to his conduct. His license remains suspended for failure to pay State Bar dues, not completing continuing education requirements and failing to file a trust account certification.

Thursday’s discipline stems from an OLR complaint filed in February 2015 that alleged seven counts of misconduct. The complaint was amended twice, eventually alleging 42 counts of misconduct involving 12 clients. The misconduct included failing to respond to clients, failing to turn over files to successor counsel, not refunding unearned fees, not responding to the OLR about grievances his clients had filed, and failing to tell clients and judges about his license being temporarily suspended.

D’Arruda never responded to the complaint or amended complaints and failed to appear at scheduling conferences. Thus, the OLR asked for a default judgment, and because of a continued lack of response from D’Arruda, a court-appointed referee asked the Wisconsin Supreme Court to find D’Arruda in default.

The state Supreme Court agreed with the referee Thursday, finding D’Arruda in default, suspending his license to practice law for 60 days and ordering him to pay $6,500 in restitution to clients and pay for the full costs of the disciplinary proceeding.

D’Arruda could not be immediately reached Thursday at the phone numbers listed with the State Bar and OLR.


About Erika Strebel, [email protected]

Erika Strebel is the law beat reporter for the Wisconsin Law Journal and a law school student at UW-Madison. She can be reached at 414-225-1825.

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