The Wisconsin Supreme Court has suspended the law licenses of two lawyers, one of whom was punished as a reciprocal disciplinary action for misconduct in another state.
On Friday, the court suspended the Wisconsin license of Green Bay lawyer Cole White of White Law Offices for 15 months. The justices also ordered White to pay $13,430 to one client, $1,000 to another and $17,105.44 to cover the cost of the proceedings against him.
Separately, the court decided to suspend the Wisconsin license of Gordon Ring as a reciprocal disciplinary action for misconduct he committed in Illinois.
In suspending White’s license, the court found that he had failed to advance his client’s case, failed to deposit thousands of dollars in advanced fees into his trust account, provided fabricated documents to the OLR when the agency was investigating a grievance that a client had filed against Cole, and charged an unreasonable fee for a minimal amount of legal work.
The OLR had previously reached a stipulation with White in which he pleaded no contest to four of the 28 counts of misconduct. Although the OLR eventually moved to dismiss one of the 28 counts, it did not back down on seeking the 15-month suspension.
White, represented by Jevon Jaconi of Antiphon Law offices in Green Bay, did not contest the OLR’s request to dismiss that one count, but did contest five of the counts of alleged misconduct and contended that the referee overseeing the case should instead recommend a five-month license suspension.
If it had been granted, a suspension of that length would not require White to have a hearing before his license could be reinstated. All told, White asked that the referee find that White had committed only 22 of the 28 counts of misconduct alleged against him.
As for Ring, the court decided to suspend his Wisconsin license as punishment for his failure to report that his Illinois license had been suspended for two years in September over five counts of alleged professional misconduct. Among other things, Ring, who works in Rockford, Illinois, was accused of taking a client’s money held in trust and using it for his own purposes, failing to advance a client’s case and failing to pay an insurer’s subrogation claim. This is not Ring’s first encounter with lawyer-discipline authorities.
In 1992, his Wisconsin law license was suspended for six months as a reciprocal measure for professional misconduct in Illinois. He was then found to have failed to file an appeal on a criminal client’s behalf, failed to inform the client there was no merit to the appeal, and failed to tell the client he could seek other legal advice.
Before then, Ring’s Wisconsin law license had been suspended in 1985 for failing to comply with the state’s requirements regarding continuing legal education. It was suspended again in 2011 for failing to pay State Bar dues.