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High court suspends Hartland attorney’s license

High court suspends Hartland attorney’s license

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has suspended a former Hartland attorney’s license for two years for misappropriating money from his employer to benefit a company he had opened for his son.

Friday’s discipline stems from a complaint the Office of Lawyer Regulation filed July 17 alleging that Matthew MacLean, while he was general counsel and compliance officer for Red Granite Advisors LLC and Ziegler Lotsoff Capital Management LLC, channeled more than $450,000 belonging to both firms to himself and another company over more than six years.

That company happened to be a limited-liability company that MacLean had opened, which the OLR alleged amounted to a conflict of interest, to commercialize LEGO decals his son had designed.

The OLR’s complaint had asked for the justices to revoke MacLean’s license and to order him to pay more than $52,000 in restitution to his former employer.

Later, however, MacLean reached a stipulation with the OLR in which MacLean agreed that the allegations in the complaint were true and the OLR agreed that MacLean could make arguments and produce mitigating factors and other evidence regarding sanctions.

Some of that evidence included that MacLean had reported his conduct to the OLR, then withdrew from practicing law in May 2014, declined an employment offer from a law firm and sought assistance from Wisconsin Lawyers Assistance Program, which led him to be diagnosed with bi-polar disorder.

At a hearing before a court-appointed referee, the OLR reduced the discipline it had sought from the justices to a three-year suspension of MacLean’s license to practice law. MacLean sought a shorter period of discipline. Failing that, he asked that the discipline be applied retroactively either to take account of the time that had passed since he had reported his own conduct to the OLR, or that had passed since he had stopped practicing law, in May 2014.

According to court documents, the referee sided with MacLean, recommending that the justices suspend his license for two years. Even with that reduction, MacLean would end up being barred for a total of five years because of the amount of time that he had already been prevented from practicing.

The referee argued that was enough time to impress upon MacLean the seriousness of his actions. He also noted that MacLean had paid full restitution.

The justices on Friday agreed with the referee. They suspended MacLean’s license for two years and ordered him to be subject to continued monitoring under Wisconsin Lawyers Assistance Program and submit reports to the OLR concerning his participation. The court also ordered him to pay the full cost of the disciplinary proceeding.

MacLean, who earned his law degree from Vanderbilt University Law School, in Nashville, has been licensed in Wisconsin since 1998. His license remains in good standing but inactive, according to the State Bar of Wisconsin website.

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