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Maryland attorney faces discipline in Wisconsin

A Maryland attorney faces discipline in Wisconsin over misconduct he committed in his home state.

The Office of Lawyer Regulation filed a complaint on Monday charging Joseph Laumann of the Annapolis, Maryland-based Law Office of Joseph Laumann with two counts of misconduct. The OLR alleges Laumann failed to report that he had been disciplined in Maryland and that Laumann is therefore subject to reciprocal discipline in Wisconsin.

In May, the Maryland Supreme Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, indefinitely suspended Laumann’s license for breaking 16 of its attorney-ethics rules while representing four clients.

The misconduct included failing to maintain trust-account records, failing to enter required written-fee agreements with a client, failing to hold client money in trust, lying to lawyer-regulators and lying to a bankruptcy court about mailing payments.

Laumann was also found to have failed to appear in hearings on behalf of a client in a divorce proceeding. In another case, he filed a complaint in a child-custody matter even though a complaint in that matter had already been filed.

In a separate child-custody case, Laumann, among other things, filed a motion that failed to allege facts that supported the motion and increased the rate he was charging the client without notifying the client.

The OLR is asking the Wisconsin Supreme Court to suspend Laumann’s license for six months as discipline reciprocal to what Maryland’s high court had imposed. The agency is also asking the court to order Laumann to show cause as to why reciprocal discipline would not be warranted.

The OLR noted that its director had found that Maryland’s indefinite suspension requiring Laumann to successfully petition for reinstatement was equivalent to at least a six-month suspension in Wisconsin.

Laumann, who earned his law degree from the Western Michigan University Cooley Law School in 1997, was admitted to practice law in Wisconsin in 1999. However, his license has been suspended since 2008 for failing to report completing continuing-legal-education requirements and failing to pay mandatory bar dues.

About Erika Strebel,

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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