In the Matter of Disciplinary Proceedings Against Michael F. Bishop, Attorney at Law:
Michael F. Bishop, Respondent. Office of Lawyer Regulation, Complainant,
PROCEEDINGS AGAINST BISHOP
disciplinary proceeding. Attorney's license suspended.
We review a stipulation filed pursuant to Supreme Court Rule
(SCR) 22.12 by the Office of Lawyer Regulation (OLR)
and Attorney Michael F. Bishop. In the stipulation, Attorney
Bishop admits the misconduct alleged by the OLR and agrees to
a 60-day suspension of his Wisconsin law license.
We adopt the stipulated facts and conclusions of law. We
agree that Attorney Bishop's misconduct warrants the
suspension of his Wisconsin law license for a period of 60
days. The OLR does not seek either restitution or the costs
of this proceeding and we decline to impose either upon him.
Attorney Bishop was admitted to practice law in Wisconsin in
1993. He practices in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In 2014, Attorney
Bishop received a consensual public reprimand for several
trust account violations. Public Reprimand of Michael F.
Bishop, 2014-2 (electronic copy available at
The matter presently before the court also involves trust
account violations, coupled with a failure to cooperate with
Between 2012 and 2014, Attorney Bishop maintained a client
trust account at BMO Harris Bank (BMO) . On August 19, 2013,
OLR sent Attorney Bishop a letter, informing him that it had
received notice of an overdraft on his client trust account.
The OLR directed Attorney Bishop to provide a written
response within 20 days of his receipt of the letter, and to
provide copies of his trust account's bank statements for
May 2013 and June 2013, a copy of his transaction register
for May 2013 and June 2013, and a copy of his client ledger
relating to an alleged $50 withdrawal. Attorney Bishop did
not respond. He also failed to respond to two subsequent
notices from the OLR.
On January 10, 2014, OLR filed a motion asking this court to
issue an order to show cause as to why Attorney Bishop's
law license should not be suspended for his willful failure
to cooperate in the OLR investigation concerning his conduct.
This court issued the requested order. By January 22, 2014,
Attorney Bishop had provided the OLR with enough information
to allow the OLR to continue its investigation, so the OLR
withdrew its motion and the investigation continued.
By letter dated February 26, 2014, the OLR directed Attorney
Bishop to inform the OLR whether he had opened a business
account subsequent to September 1, 2012, but Attorney Bishop
failed to respond.
On May 28, 2014, the OLR sent Attorney Bishop a second letter
requesting the same information. This time, Attorney Bishop
responded by email, stating "I have not had a business
account since 2012 ..."
During its investigation, the OLR discovered that in a
Waukesha County case in which Attorney Bishop represented the
defendant, the court ordered the return of $3, 000 from the
bail deposit to be paid to Attorney Bishop. The Waukesha
County Clerk of Courts paid the $3, 000 to Attorney Bishop
and Attorney Bishop deposited the check directly into his BMO
trust account, describing the deposit as a "$3, 000.00
deposit for monies past due." These funds should have
been placed in a business account.
On August 17, 2015, Attorney Bishop advised the OLR that a
chargeback on his trust account had resulted in an overdraft.
In response, the OLR requested certain trust account records,
including bank statements, a transaction register, and client
ledgers. Attorney Bishop provided some information, but did
not submit a transaction register or client ledgers for his
trust account. The OLR investigation revealed that Attorney
Bishop made numerous cash withdrawals from his trust account.
On February 22, 2016, OLR filed a disciplinary complaint in
this matter, as amended on July 1, 2016. The OLR complaint
alleged the following seven counts of misconduct:
Count 1: By failing to cooperate with OLR's investigation
of a May 20, 2013 overdraft on his trust account by failing
to respond to OLR's letters of August 19, 2013, September
23, 2013 and December 3, 2013, and by failing to respond to
OLR's letter of February 26, 2014, Bishop violated SCR
22.03(2) and (6),  as enforced via SCR
Count 2: By failing to maintain a business account from 2012
through at least May of 2014, despite the fact that he had a
trust account during that time, Bishop violated SCR
20:1.15(e) (8) .
Count 3: By depositing into and retaining in his Trust
Account at least $3, 000 in earned fees, Bishop violated SCR
20:1.15(b) (3) .
Count 4: By making at least 199 cash withdrawals from his
trust account between May 2, 2013 and July 1, 2015, totaling
$50, 097.82, Bishop violated SCR 20:1.15(e)
Count 5: By failing to maintain a transaction register and
client ledgers and failing to comply with record keeping
requirements, Bishop violated ...