An Oshkosh lawyer is admitting that she committed half of the ethics violations lawyer-regulators charged her with earlier this year.
The Office of Lawyer Regulation in March charged Melinda Alfredson of Oshkosh-based Clausen Law with breaking six attorney- ethics rules while handling two divorce cases.
According to the complaint, Alfredson started representing one client in September 2015 and was supposed to be holding $7,500 in trust. Alfredson had no trust account and instead deposited part of the money into her former firm’s business accounts. She spent it at places such as Old Navy and Kohl’s, according to the OLR.
The client fired Alfredson in April 2016. The judge in the case ordered the $7,500 be transferred to the client’s new lawyer, but it took four months for Alfredson to cut a check, the OLR alleges. And when the OLR contacted Alfredson about the grievance the client filed regarding the matter, Alfredson failed to respond promptly, according to the complaint.
The other client hired Alfredson in October 2015 to represent him in a divorce in Winnebago County. Alfredson failed to send the client a list of personal property that his wife wanted from their home, according to the OLR.
As a result, the wife filed a contempt motion against the client for failing to return some of the items on the list. The client didn’t find out about the motion until he got a new lawyer, according to the complaint.
Moreover, Alfredson took more than three months to turn over the client’s file to the successor counsel, Heath Mynsberge of Dempsey Law Firm in Oshkosh. The client, Mynsberge and the client’s wife all filed grievances against Alfredson in September 2016.
The OLR is asking the Wisconsin Supreme Court to suspend Alfredson’s license for 4 months.
In an answer filed on June 7, Alfredson admitted to three of the six counts of misconduct the OLR alleged she committed. She is asking the court to take disciplinary steps that are less strict than the suspension the OLR is seeking.
Alfredson earned her law degree in 2009 from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law. The high court suspended her license for the first time in 2017 for two months over 16 counts of misconduct. Her license was reinstated later that year. However, her license is currently suspended for failing to report that she had completed continuing-legal-education courses. Follow @erikastrebel