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Appleton patent attorney won’t contest OLR charges

By: Erika Strebel, [email protected]//March 8, 2016//

Appleton patent attorney won’t contest OLR charges

By: Erika Strebel, [email protected]//March 8, 2016//

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An Appleton patent lawyer who faces a nine-month suspension of his law license says he won’t be fighting charges that he took unearned fees.

The Office of Lawyer Regulation filed a complaint Feb. 24 alleging that Alan Stewart, a 1992 graduate of the University of Wisconsin Law School, took $12,400 in advanced fees from clients who hired him in 2014 to draft and file patent applications but never did any work and refused to refund the money.

Both clients filed grievances with the OLR, which attempted to contact Stewart several times, according to the complaint. The Wisconsin Supreme Court decided in December 2014 to temporarily suspend his license for Stewart’s failure to cooperate with the OLR. His license remains suspended.

The OLR is asking the Supreme Court to suspend Stewart’s license for nine months, order him to pay $8,000 in restitution to one client and order him to pay $4,400 in reimbursement to the Wisconsin Lawyer’s Fund for Client Protection.

Stewart said the OLR’s complaint is generally correct, and he does not plan to contest any of the OLR’s charges. He said he had become functionally incapable of doing work because he was struggling with depression.

Stewart said he tried to get help from the State Bar and other resources, calling the bar’s crisis hotline but didn’t get a response. He said he found plenty of resources for attorneys with substance-abuse troubles.

“But if there’s a mental issue without substance abuse, it’s impossible to find any resources,” he said. “People are not as willing to help. I don’t know why. (The help) wasn’t there when I needed it.”


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