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Milwaukee-area attorney faced with year-long license suspension

A partner at a Wauwatosa-based firm faces a year-long suspension over allegations that he took thousands of dollars that belonged to his firm.

An Office of Lawyer Regulation complaint filed on Sept. 19 alleges that the lawyer Robert Moodie, a partner at Wauwatosa-based Judge, Lang & Katers, broke two attorney-ethics rules while he was a senior partner at his former law firm, Waukesha-based Hippenmeyer, Reilly, Moodie & Blum.

When Moodie had a heart attack in September 2016 and spent time in the hospital, other lawyers at the firm handled his billing and files. They discovered that Moodie had collected money from clients and deposited it into his personal account instead of the firm’s account, according to the OLR’s complaint.

Moodie left Hippenmeyer, Reilly, Moodie & Blum in November 2016, according to the OLR’s complaint. The firm changed its name in May 2017 to Hippenmeyer, Reilly, Blum Schmitzer, Fabian & English.

The OLR investigated several instances in which Moodie collected from clients money that should have been turned over to the firm.

For example, the firm sent one client a reminder statement for a $2,600 bill. That client, the OLR alleges, gave Moodie checks payable directly to himself, and the firm received none of that money.

In another instance, the firm found no payments from a client although Moodie had been working on two matters for her. When the firm followed up, it discovered that the client had paid $415 directly to Moodie, that he had never billed her and that he had written off her fees.

In all, the OLR estimates that Moodie converted at least $8,665 worth of fees belonging to his firm.

The OLR alleges that Moodie broke two of the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s rules of professional conduct for attorneys because he engaged in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit and misrepresentation and because Moodie had breached the fiduciary duty he owed to his former firm and his duty of honesty in his professional dealings with his former firm.

The OLR is asking the high court to suspend Moodie’s law license for a year.

Moodie could not immediately be reached on Monday. He has 20 days to respond to the OLR’s complaint.

Moodie, who earned his law degree from Marquette University Law School in 1982, does transactional work, primarily in real estate, and leads the firm’s Trusts, Estates and Wealth Preservation Practice, according to his firm’s website.

Moodie’s license is in good standing, and he has not been previously publicly disciplined by the Wisconsin Supreme Court, according to the OLR and State Bar of Wisconsin websites.

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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