In the Matter of Disciplinary Proceedings Against Michael M. Rajek, Attorney at Law:
Michael M. Rajek, Respondent. Office of Lawyer Regulation, Complainant,
disciplinary proceeding. Complaint dismissed.
We review Referee James R. Erickson's report
recommending, consistent with a stipulation executed by the
Office of Lawyer Regulation (OLR) and Attorney Michael M.
Rajek, that we dismiss a pending disciplinary complaint
against Attorney Rajek. We agree with the OLR's
discretionary determination that the alleged rule violations
do not warrant discipline in light of our decision in In
re Disciplinary Proceedings Against Rajek, 2015 WI 18');">2015 WI 18,
361 Wis.2d 60, 859 N.W.2d 439. (Raj ek I.) We
therefore dismiss the complaint. No costs will be imposed.
Attorney Rajek was admitted to the practice of law in
Wisconsin in 1974. In 1986, he received a consensual private
reprimand for engaging in conduct involving dishonesty,
fraud, deceit or misrepresentation. Private Reprimand No.
1986-5. In 2006, he received a consensual public
reprimand for misconduct consisting of committing a criminal
act that reflected adversely on his honesty, trustworthiness
or fitness as a lawyer in other respects, and engaging in
conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or
misrepresentation. Public Reprimand of Michael J. Rajek No.
2006-4 (electronic copy available at
On April 7, 2014, the OLR filed the disciplinary complaint
presently before this court. It alleged four counts of
misconduct involving two clients and it sought a 60-day
license suspension and costs. Two of the counts of alleged
misconduct involved deficiencies in the fee agreement
Attorney Rajek used. The fee agreement required a client to
pay a specified amount of money up-front before Attorney
Rajek would commence work. Although characterized as a
"non-refundable retainer" the payment was actually
an "advanced fee" as defined in SCR 20:1.0 (ag) .
The fee agreement stated that the fee would not be held in
trust, thus rendering it subject to SCR 20:1.15(b)(4m)
("Alternative protection for advanced fees.") This
rule provides that an attorney electing not to hold an
advanced fee in trust must provide certain notices to the
client, in writing, upon accepting the advanced fee
payment.Attorney Rajek's fee agreement did not
include several of these required notices, nor did any other
document provide these required notices to the client at the
outset of the representation. As such, by failing to include
in his fee agreement the notices required by SCR
20:1.15(b)(4m)a.4., 5., and 6., Attorney Rajek allegedly
violated those subsections of SCR 20:1.15(b)(4m) with respect
to two clients, T.L. and M.J.
The other two counts of alleged misconduct pertained to an
unresolved fee dispute with one of these clients and to
Attorney Rajek's delay in cooperating with the ensuing
OLR investigation. In August 2011, M.J. hired Attorney Rajek
to represent her on a non-criminal traffic charge. The fee
agreement required M.J. to pay Attorney Rajek an initial $2,
500. M.J.'s case proceeded to a jury trial at which M.J.
was found guilty. Attorney Rajek filed a Notice of Appeal on
M.J.'s behalf but M.J. opted to terminate representation
and proceed pro se. On April 26, 2012, Attorney Rajek sent
M.J. a final bill reflecting a balance due of $8, 250. M.J.
formally disputed the amount due and M.J. and Attorney Rajek
were unable to resolve their disagreement regarding the fee.
Former SCR 20: 1.15(b) (4m) c provided that when a fee
dispute cannot be resolved upon termination of
Upon timely receipt of written notice of a dispute from the
client, the lawyer shall attempt to resolve that dispute with
the client, and if the dispute is not resolved, the lawyer
shall submit the dispute to binding arbitration with the
State Bar Fee Arbitration Program or a similar local bar
association program within 30 days of the lawyer's
receipt of the written notice of dispute from the
On May 11, 2012, Attorney Rajek wrote to M.J., stating in
I am in receipt of your letter disputing the bill that was
sent to you regarding trial expenses followed by a notice
informing the court that I will no longer be representing
you. It is mandatory that your dispute be subject to binding
arbitration. I have scheduled this matter with Judge Proctor
for June 5, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. at Proctor ADR, LLC located
at 116 West Grand Ave, Eau Claire, Wl 54703.
Judge Proctor is a former Eau Claire County circuit court
judge, who now provides alternative dispute resolution
services, he was not affiliated with the State Bar Fee
Arbitration Program or a similar local bar association
program. Attorney Rajek's selection of Judge Proctor was
M.J. objected to this choice and contacted the State Bar of
Wisconsin Fee Arbitration Program, requesting binding
arbitration. The State Bar, in turn, contacted Attorney Rajek
to coordinate arbitration but, as of the date the
disciplinary complaint was filed, Attorney Rajek had not
agreed to submit to arbitration through the State Bar's
arbitration program. The OLR alleged this violated SCR
Attorney Rajek also delayed approximately two months before
responding to the OLR's request for information regarding
these matters. The OLR alleged this violated SCR 22.03(2).
While the OLR and Attorney Rajek litigated this disciplinary
proceeding, we issued our decision in Rajek I. That
matter also involved several counts of misconduct related to
Attorney Rajek's fee agreement. We concluded that
Attorney Rajak had committed five of the six alleged
violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct but we opted
to impose no discipline and we reduced the costs he was
required to pay. In re Disciplinary Proceedings
Against Rajek, 2015 WI 18');">2015 WI 18, ¶3, 361 Wis.2d 60, 859
N.W.2d 439. We stated:
[W] e conclude that Attorney Rajek committed the rule
violations on five counts as found by the referee. The
violations, however, involved relatively minor failures of
communication, including failures in some instances to
provide certain notices or pieces of information to clients
under Supreme Court Rule (SCR) 20:1.15(b)(4m), which sets
forth the alternative procedure for handling advanced fees.
They did not involve the sufficiency or quality of the legal
representation provided by Attorney Rajek to his clients.
Given the particular facts of this case and the nature of the
violations, we determine that it is not necessary to impose
any discipline on ...