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Justices: ex-Milwaukee lawyer can’t have law license back

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has rejected a former Milwaukee personal-injury lawyer’s attempt to get his law license back.

The justices revoked Brian Mularski’s license in 2010 over 13 counts of misconduct involving three client matters. In all, the OLR alleged Mularski owed about $19,000 worth of restitution to five of his former clients.

Mularski had petitioned the court for consensual revocation, saying he could not defend himself against the allegations of misconduct as well as the pending grievances.

The court, in addition to indefinitely banning Mularski from practice, ordered Mularski, as a condition of any future petition for reinstatement, to provide an account showing that he had made restitution to the people who were subject to the misconduct alleged by the OLR and in the grievances.

Mularski, who graduated from Marquette University Law School in 2000, petitioned the court for reinstatement in February 2017. The OLR opposed his reinstatement.

After an evidentiary hearing last year, the court-appointed referee in the case, Jonathan Goodman, recommended in December that the justices reject Mularski’s request.

Goodman had found that although Mularski had demonstrated he had the moral character to practice law, Mularski had shown neither that resuming his practice would not be detrimental to the administration of justice or to the public interest nor that he had followed the terms of the revocation order from 2010.

Mularski challenged Goodman’s findings, and the justices heard oral arguments in his appeal earlier this term.

The justices in the decision on Wednesday adopted Goodman’s recommendations, noting that Mularski’s failure to provide an account and pay restitution to former clients who had been affected by his misconduct was a “significant problem” that led them to deny his petition for reinstatement.

“Despite his first-hand knowledge that this court was keenly interested in ascertaining appropriate restitution to compensate clients injured by Attorney Mularski’s misconduct, Attorney Mularski provided this court with no documentation, much less an accounting, even with respect to the clients identified in earlier court orders or those Attorney Mularski represented before he joined the Eisenberg firm,” the court wrote.

Much of Mularski’s arguments had focused on a criminal case from 2012 in which he pleaded guilty to embezzling thousands of dollars from his former firm, Eisbenberg, Riley and Zimmerman. The court in that case sentenced him to jail time and probation, and ordered him to pay more than $300,000 worth of restitution to the firm. But the justices on Wednesday called his arguments “revisionist history,” noting that difficulties in determining restitution in the disciplinary case predated the difficulties in the criminal case.

The justices also ordered Mularski to pay $6,000.60, the cost of the proceedings so far on Sept. 19.

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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