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High court suspends California attorney’s license

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has suspended the license of a lawyer who has been banned from practicing law in two other jurisdictions.

Thursday’s discipline stems from a complaint filed by the Office of Lawyer Regulation alleging that Carl Schwedler had failed to notify the agency that he had been banned in 2015 from practicing before the U.S. Patent and Trade Office for five years. The USPTO sanctioned Schwedler, who had been a registered patent attorney since 1993, for various violations, including accepting and refusing to refund advanced fees although work had never been done on a patent application.

Schwedler, who was also disbarred in his home state of California last year, never responded to the OLR’s complaint.

The OLR had asked the justices to suspend Schwedler’s license for six months and pay $1,500 in restitution to the client.

The justices agreed with the OLR in a per curiam decision released Thursday, suspending his license and ordering Schwedler to pay the restitution.

Justice Ann Walsh Bradley wrote a concurrence saying she agreed with Thursday’s order but disagreed with the court’s statement that identical discipline was not an option in Schwedler’s case. She noted that the USPTO excluded Schwedler from practicing before it, and the OLR had advised the court that the sanction means Schwedler has been disbarred for five years in that jurisdiction.

Thus, Bradley wrote, the court could impose identical discipline by revoking Schwedler’s license. In Wisconsin, revocation bans a lawyer from practicing law in the state and allows the lawyer to apply for reinstatement after five years.

Schwedler, who graduated from the University of Georgia School of Law, has been licensed in Wisconsin since 1990 but has been suspended since 2009 for failing to pay dues and to report continuing-legal-education requirements.

Justice Shirley Abrahamson joined in Bradley’s concurrence.


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