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High court reprimands Whitewater attorney for third time

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has publicly reprimanded a Whitewater attorney for mishandling money held in trust for a client, among other misdeeds.

The disciplinary action, handed down May 23, stems from a complaint filed Dec. 15 by the Office of Lawyer Regulation against the attorney John Dade. The OLR alleged that Dade had collected an advanced fee from a client but had failed to explain in writing what the scope of his representation would be and had paid himself using money held in his trust account without giving the required notice to the client.

The OLR asked the high court to publicly reprimand Dade.

Dade and the OLR later reached a stipulation, which was filed Feb. 17, agreeing that the facts in the OLR’s complaint were true and that he had agreed to the disciplinary action sought by the OLR.

The Supreme Court accepted the stipulation in a per curiam decision on May 23 and publicly reprimanded Dade. The justices noted that this was Dade’s seventh disciplinary proceeding.

The decision also mentioned that although the court’s policy is to impose progressive discipline, the parties in this case cited no precedents to support the use of a public reprimand and no explanation for why progressive discipline was not appropriate in Dade’s case.

This disciplinary action against Dade marks the third time the court has publicly reprimanded him. The court privately reprimanded him in 1991 and publicly reprimanded him 2007 and 2012. It also suspended Dade’s license for 60 days in 2007 and 2013, and for 90 days in 2014.


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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