Contested judicial races and disciplinary actions against attorneys made the Wisconsin Law Journal’s list of most-read stories in 2020.
Here’s a look back at the top 10 stories of the year:
- Voting absentee? Here are the contested judicial races on April 7 ballots (UPDATE)
Justice Jill Karofsky was among the big winners of contested judicial races on the April ballot. She beat out an incumbent justice, Dan Kelly. Separately, the Court of Appeals Judge Lisa Neubauer retained her seat, while incumbents on the Milwaukee County Circuit Court didn’t fair well. The results can be found here.
- Racine law firm founder dies of COVID-19
Racine attorney John W. Knuteson died of COVID-19 in April. Knuteson practiced corporate and real estate law at Knuteson, Hinkston & Quinn in Racine, a firm he had opened in 1986. He has also served as the Wind Point/North Bay municipal judge since 2007.
- Walworth County lawyer with long disciplinary history to be punished again
The Wisconsin Supreme Court took its seventh disciplinary action against Patrick Hudec in April. The justices suspended his law license for 60 days for four counts of misconduct related to his trust account and failing to respond to the Office of Lawyer Regulation’s investigation. Hudec is a real-estate attorney at Hudec Law Offices in East Troy.
- 2020 Up & Coming Lawyers/Leaders in the Law
Although the COVID-19 pandemic forced the Wisconsin Law Journal to go virtual with this event, the publication still wanted to celebrate 2020 Leaders in the Law and Up & Coming Lawyers. Sixteen Leaders and 12 Up & Coming Lawyers were recognized during the virtual ceremony on Sept. 16. Watch the replay here.
- 2020 Unsung Heroes
The Wisconsin Law Journal also presented a virtual ceremony and Zoom networking event for its 2020 Unsung Heroes on Dec. 10. The 21 honorees this year managed to work hard and show dedication in the face of difficulties brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Watch a replay of the virtual event here.
- Stevens Point attorney loses license for 60 days for fabricating motion
Willem J. Noorlander lost his law license for 60 days for fabricating a motion and disappearing on his clients. The misconduct stemmed from a 2015 civil suit in Racine County and a 2016 breach-of-contract and replevin case. In a stipulation with the OLR, Noorlander admitted to the misconduct and agreed to the 60-day suspension, which began in April.
- Private reprimand requested for Rock County attorney accused of four counts of misconduct
The Office of Lawyer Regulation requested a private reprimand for Madaleine Mulrey, who practices at the Law Office of Madaleine Mulrey in Milton, for four counts of misconduct. A client filed a grievance after finding out Mulrey hadn’t shown up for two of his court dates. The October OLR complaint requested a private reprimand and an award of costs.
- Court suspends Ozaukee attorney for 2 years, citing ‘callous disregard’ of court orders
In November, the Wisconsin Supreme Court suspended Carl Robert Scholz’s law license for two years. The Office of Lawyer Regulation accused Scholz of using more than $60,000 of client money for his own benefit or to benefit clients and third parties. Scholz challenged the suspension but not the referee’s factual findings, only taking exception to “certain inferences.”
- Accusations of arrogance, vagueness pepper Milwaukee city attorney debate
Grant Langley and Tearman Spencer argued whether it was time for a shakeup in leadership at the Milwaukee City Attorney’s Office during an in-person debate in the first week of March. Spencer ran against Langley, who had been city attorney for 36 years, in the April 7 election. Spencer received about 61% of the vote and is now serving a four-year term as city attorney.
- Walworth County attorney’s license suspended in 7th disciplinary action
A story announcing the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s decision in Patrick Hudec’s disciplinary case was the 10th most-read story of 2020. The justices suspended Hudec’s license for 60 days for four counts of professional misconduct related to his trust account and failing to respond to the Office of Lawyer Regulation’s investigation.