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Justices to weigh in on attorney charged with taking unearned fees

The Wisconsin Supreme Court will be weighing in on the disciplinary case of an Appleton lawyer charged with taking clients’ money without doing work and refusing to refund the money.

The Office of Lawyer Regulation filed a complaint last year alleging that Alan Stewart took $12,400 in advanced fees from clients who had hired him in 2014 to draft and file patent applications but never did any work and refused to refund the money.

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

Stewart reached a stipulation with the OLR in September, admitting to 11 counts of misconduct and agreeing to the nine-month suspension. William Eich, a referee, filed a report in January recommending that Stewart be suspended for nine months and that he pay the restitution and reimbursements sought by the OLR.

A decision from the Wisconsin Supreme Court is expected soon, according to court records.

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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