A Milwaukee attorney has received his second law-license suspension in less than one month, marking his fifth disciplinary action in the state.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Tuesday suspended Peter J. Kovac’s law license for five months, which will run concurrent with a five-month suspension imposed on May 27.
In an opinion issued on Tuesday, the justices said Kovac’s misconduct in the latest case happened around the same time as the charges that resulted in his separate suspension in May. Hence the concurrent suspension.
“In the event the counts of misconduct at issue here had been part of the same OLR complaint that resulted in the five-month suspension, it is likely that the court would still have imposed a five-month suspension,” according to the opinion.
A referee in Kovac’s case had recommended a six-month suspension for four counts of professional misconduct. The alleged violations included failing to provide client files to a State Public Defender who took on one of his cases; failing to send a client his file after the termination of representation; and failing to respond to the Office of Lawyer Regulations’s investigation in both matters.
The referee said Kovac argued that he was giving his clients priority and spending his time on their needs rather than responding to OLR’s requests. Kovac should be able to do both, the referee said. Yet, despite previous reprimands and suspensions, he was unwilling or unable to change his behavior.
Although the state Supreme Court did not adopt the six-month suspension recommendation, it did agree with the referee that Kovac should bear the full costs of the proceeding, totaling $4,403.92 by December.
This is Kovac’s fifth disciplinary proceeding. In addition to this year’s two punishments, he saw his law license suspended for 90 days in 2016, received a public reprimand in 2012 and agreed to a consensual public reprimand in 2008. Kovac was admitted to practice law in Wisconsin in 1973.
Kovac did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Follow @WLJReporter