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Private reprimand requested for Rock County attorney accused of four counts of misconduct

The Office of Lawyer Regulation is requesting a private reprimand for a Rock County attorney who’s accused of four counts of misconduct.

The agency filed a complaint on Oct. 8 against Madaleine Mulrey, who practices at the Law Office of Madaleine Mulrey in Milton.

Three counts stem from her representation of a client faced with municipal charges of resisting or obstructing a peace officer and unlawful trespass in Madison. The complaint said Mulrey had failed to appear at two review conferences scheduled with the city attorney’s office in 2018. At her second review conference on June 18, the city attorney’s office requested a default judgment.

The court responded by issuing an order of default judgment in the client’s case on June 28 and sending a notice of default to Mulrey and the client. However, the post office returned the client’s copy because there was no forwarding address, and Mulrey said she never received the notice.

The client texted Mulrey on the same day as the judge had issued the order, saying “please do not blow me off I’ve put up with enough excuses this is very unprofessional.” The complaint said Mulrey texted back that the situation was not her fault and that her office had been vandalized. She told the client the prosecutor had made an offer of dismissal, which she’d explain in a phone call later that day.

Months went by, and the client grew more frustrated, texting Mulrey several times about the status of the dismissal and his case file. In September 2018, Mulrey told the client that the prosecutor was willing to hold the case open for a year and drop the charges if certain conditions were met.

According to the complaint, she stated “As I understood you from our last conversation, the offer was acceptable to you,” but the client didn’t say whether he accepted the offer. The client asked if that meant the case would be dropped automatically in January 2019, and Mulrey said she would find out, without mentioning the default judgment.

In February 2019, the client talked with an assistant city attorney and learned Mulrey had never shown up for the two court dates and a default judgment had been entered. The client texted Mulrey and she said she never received notice of the hearing. She also said she filed a motion to reopen, a claim the OLR argues is false.

The client fired Mulrey and filed a grievance with the OLR. The court reopened his citations the following month, and the matter was resolved with the dismissal of the citations.

Mulrey is also faced with one count of misconduct for failing to provide a timely written response to the grievance.

The OLR is asking the state Supreme Court to privately reprimand Mulrey for the misconduct and to grant an award of costs.

About Michaela Paukner,

Michaela Paukner is the legal reporter for the Wisconsin Law Journal. She can be reached at (414) 225-1825 or by email at

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