In the Matter of Disciplinary Proceedings Against Thomas O. Mulligan, Attorney at Law:
Thomas O. Mulligan, Respondent-Appellant. Office of Lawyer Regulation, Complainant-Respondent,
reinstatement proceeding. Reinstatement granted with
We review, pursuant to Supreme Court Rule (SCR) 22.33(3),
report filed by Referee James R. Erickson, Jr., recommending
the court reinstate the license of Thomas O. Mulligan to
practice law in Wisconsin, with conditions. After careful
review of the matter, we agree that Attorney Mulligan's
license should be reinstated, with conditions. We also agree
with the referee that Attorney Mulligan should be required to
pay the full costs of this reinstatement proceeding, which
are $2, 267.95 as of March 8, 2017.
Attorney Mulligan was licensed to practice law in Wisconsin
in 1985 and is a general practitioner in Spooner, Wisconsin.
He has previously been disciplined by this court. He received
private reprimands in 1997 and 2005, and received a
court-imposed public reprimand in 2009. In re
Disciplinary Proceedings Against Mulligan, 2009 WI 12,
315 Wis.2d 605, 759 N.W.2d 766.
On October 8, 2015, following a lengthy contested
disciplinary proceeding, this court suspended Attorney
Mulligan's license to practice law for nine months for
professional misconduct committed in two client matters
including failing to enter into a fee agreement with his
client, failing to deposit fees in trust, making cash
disbursements out of his trust account, commingling personal
funds with trust funds, and failing to maintain proper trust
account records. In re Disciplinary Proceedings Against
Mulligan, 2015 WI 96, 365 Wis.2d 43, 870 N.W.2d 233. Our
order directed Attorney Mulligan to pay the Office of Lawyer
Regulation (OLR) the costs of that proceeding. We also
ordered that, as a condition of reinstatement, Attorney
Mulligan attend and successfully complete an OLR trust
account seminar and, further, that upon reinstatement,
Attorney Mulligan's trust account should be subject to
monitoring by the OLR for three years, or until further order
of the court.
On July 21, 2016, Attorney Mulligan filed a petition seeking
the reinstatement of his license to practice law in
Wisconsin. The OLR filed a response on December 9, 2016
stating that it did not oppose Attorney Mulligan's
reinstatement but recommended, consistent with this
court's underlying disciplinary order, that his
reinstatement be subject to the conditions outlined by this
A public hearing was held on the reinstatement proceeding on
February 8, 2017. The referee filed his report and
recommendation on February 17, 2017.
Supreme Court Rule 22.31(1) provides the standards to be met
for reinstatement. Specifically, Attorney Mulligan must show
by clear, satisfactory, and convincing evidence that he has
the moral character to practice law, that his resumption of
the practice of law will not be detrimental to the
administration of justice or subversive to the public
interest, and that he has complied with SCR 22.26 and the
terms of the underlying disciplinary order. In addition to
these requirements, SCR 22.29(4)(a)-(4m) provides additional
requirements that a petition for reinstatement must show. All
of these additional requirements are effectively incorporated
into SCR 22.31(1).
When we review a referee's report and recommendation, we
will adopt the referee's findings of fact unless they are
clearly erroneous. Conclusions of law are reviewed de novo.
See In re Disciplinary Proceedings Against
Eisenberg, 2004 WI 14, ¶5, 269 Wis.2d 43, 675
The referee found that Attorney Mulligan has not practiced
law during the period of his suspension; that he has fully
complied with the terms of the underlying disciplinary order;
that he has maintained competence and learning in the law;
that his conduct since the suspension has been exemplary and
above reproach; and that he has a proper understanding of and
attitude toward the standards that are imposed upon members
of the bar and will act in conformity with those standards.
The referee found that Attorney Mulligan can safely be
recommended to the legal profession, the courts, and the
public as a person fit to be consulted by others and to
represent them and otherwise act in matters of trust and
confidence and, in general, to aid in the administration of
justice as a member of the bar and as an officer of the
courts. The referee also found that Attorney Mulligan has
fully complied with the requirements set forth in SCR 22.26.
We note that Attorney Mulligan also complied with this
court's directive that he attend a trust account
management seminar sponsored by the OLR.
The OLR received 12 letters recommending Attorney
Mulligan's reinstatement, including letters from four
attorneys, a U.S. Border Patrol agent, a medical doctor, and
various clients, professional acquaintances, and friends.
The record reflects that Attorney Mulligan has not yet paid
in full the $17, 720.02 for the costs of the underlying
disciplinary proceeding, but has provided the OLR with
information about his financial circumstances and has made
payment arrangements with the OLR to satisfy his obligation
to pay those disciplinary costs. Restitution was not ordered
in the underlying disciplinary proceeding.
The referee found that Attorney Mulligan's reinstatement
will be beneficial to the public interest due to his
commitment to assisting community members in a rural,
underserved area of Wisconsin. Mindful of the conditions this
court imposed in its underlying disciplinary order, the
referee recommends Attorney Mulligan's reinstatement be
subject to continued monitoring of his trust account by the
OLR for a period of three years or ...