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In re Capistrant

Supreme Court of Wisconsin

August 18, 2015

In the Matter of Disciplinary Proceedings Against Joseph M. Capistrant, Attorney at Law: Office of Lawyer Regulation, Complainant,
v.
Joseph M. Capistrant, Respondent

Attorney's license suspended.

OPINION

Page 596

ATTORNEY disciplinary proceeding.

PER CURIAM

[364 Wis.2d 532] [¶1] We review Referee Daniel L. Icenogle's recommendation that the court suspend the Wisconsin law license of Attorney Joseph M. Capistrant for a period of 90 days for professional misconduct. The referee also recommended that Attorney Capistrant pay the costs of the proceeding, which total $574.94 as of June 1, 2015.

[¶2] Because no appeal has been filed, we review the referee's report pursuant to Supreme Court Rule (SCR) 22.17(2).[1] After conducting our independent review of the matter, we agree with the referee that, based on Attorney Capistrant's failure to answer the complaint filed by the Office of Lawyer Regulation (OLR), the OLR is entitled to a default judgment. We further agree with the referee that Attorney Capistrant's professional misconduct warrants a 90-day suspension of his Wisconsin law license, and that he should be ordered to pay the full costs of the proceeding.

[¶3] Attorney Capistrant was admitted to practice law in Wisconsin in 2007. Attorney Capistrant is also licensed to practice law in Minnesota.

[364 Wis.2d 533] [¶4] According to the OLR's complaint, Attorney Capistrant's Wisconsin law license is currently suspended for his failure to comply with mandatory continuing legal education (CLE) reporting requirements, failure to pay bar dues and assessments, and failure to file the required trust account certification.

[¶5] According to the OLR's complaint, Attorney Capistrant's Wisconsin law license was suspended during certain periods in the years 2010 through 2012 for his failure to comply with mandatory CLE reporting requirements.

[¶6] The OLR filed the current complaint against Attorney Capistrant in October 2014. The complaint alleges eight counts of professional misconduct in connection with Attorney Capistrant's work in seven legal matters during the years 2010 through 2012.

[¶7] Repeating the allegations of each separate matter here is not necessary. Attorney Capistrant's conduct followed a common theme. He practiced law with a suspended law license and without telling clients, courts, and opposing counsel about his license suspension. He failed to diligently pursue certain cases, including matters that he allowed to languish after the circuit court or opposing counsel voiced concerns about his law license status. He used letterhead that stated he was " admitted in the State of Wisconsin" when his Wisconsin law license was suspended.

[¶8] The complaint also alleges that in April 2011, Attorney Capistrant filed a petition for reinstatement of his Wisconsin law license, in which he failed to disclose all incidents of practice during his period of suspension.

Page 597

[¶9] Based on this course of conduct, the OLR alleged in its complaint that Attorney ...


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