In the Matter of Disciplinary Proceedings Against Philip M. Kleinsmith, Attorney at Law:
Philip M. Kleinsmith, Respondent. Office of Lawyer Regulation, Complainant,
PROCEEDINGS AGAINST KLEINSMITH
disciplinary proceeding. Attorney's license revoked.
The Office of Lawyer Regulation (OLR) and Attorney Philip M.
Kleinsmith have filed a stipulation pursuant to Supreme Court
Rule (SCR) 22.12 agreeing that Attorney Kleinsmith's
license to practice law in Wisconsin should be revoked, as
discipline reciprocal to that imposed by the Supreme Court of
Colorado. Upon careful review of the matter, we approve the
stipulation and impose the stipulated reciprocal discipline.
The OLR does not seek the imposition of costs against
Attorney Kleinsmith because this matter was resolved without
the need for a referee or a lengthy proceeding, and we impose
no costs. We do require Attorney Kleinsmith to comply with
all of the conditions of the disciplinary orders imposed on
him by the Colorado Supreme Court, which include a
requirement that he pay restitution in the Colorado matter.
Attorney Kleinsmith was admitted to practice law in Colorado
in 1967. He presently resides in Colorado. He was admitted to
practice law in Wisconsin in 1999 and, at some point, was
also admitted to practice law in Arizona. In 2013, this court
publically reprimanded Attorney Kleinsmith as discipline
reciprocal to a reprimand imposed by the Arizona Supreme
Court, for filing improper arbitration certificates in nine
different matters; failing to appear at a hearing; failing to
properly serve a party; failing to properly withdraw as
counsel; and filing documents with errors and omissions.
Public Reprimand of Philip M. Kleinsmith, No. 2013-10
(electronic copy available at
https://compendium.wicourts.gov/app/ raw/002602.html). His
Wisconsin law license has been suspended since October 31,
2017, for failure to pay mandatory state bar dues and failure
provide an 0LR certification.
On October 30, 2017, the Supreme Court of Colorado entered an
order disbarring Attorney Kleinsmith in Colorado for
professional misconduct. The misconduct giving rise to his
Colorado disbarment dates from 2012, when Attorney Kleinsmith
hired a title company to work on several foreclosure matters
in which his firm represented a bank. Attorney Kleinsmith
billed the bank for the title company's work, but after
the bank paid him, he converted those funds to his own use,
instead of paying the title company.
The Colorado Supreme Court found that Attorney
Kleinsmith's conduct violated Colorado Rules of
Professional Conduct (RPC) 8.4(c), 1.15A and former RPC
1.15(b). Attorney Kleinsmith was ordered to pay $56, 238.80
in restitution to First American Title Company of Montana.
Attorney Kleinsmith then failed to notify the OLR of his
Colorado disbarment within 20 days of its effective date. SCR
On December 29, 2017, the OLR filed a complaint against
Attorney Kleinsmith alleging two counts of misconduct. First,
by virtue of his Colorado disbarment, Attorney Kleinsmith is
subject to reciprocal discipline in Wisconsin pursuant to SCR
22.22(3) (Count 1). Second, by failing to notify OLR of his
disbarment in Colorado for professional misconduct within 20
days of the effective date of its imposition, Attorney
Kleinsmith violated SCR 22.22(1) (Count 2).
On February 22, 2018, Attorney Kleinsmith entered into a
stipulation with the OLR in which he agreed that the facts
alleged in the OLR's complaint support the revocation of
his license to practice law in Wisconsin, as discipline
reciprocal to that imposed by the Supreme Court of Colorado.
Supreme Court Rule 22.22(3) provides that this court shall
impose the identical discipline imposed in another
jurisdiction unless one or more of three exceptions
apply. In his stipulation, Attorney Kleinsmith
states that he does not claim any of the defenses found in
SCR 22.22(3), and he agrees that this court should revoke his
license to practice law in Wisconsin.
Attorney Kleinsmith also states that the stipulation did not
result from plea bargaining and that he does not contest the
facts and misconduct alleged by the OLR. Attorney Kleinsmith
further states that he agrees the facts alleged in the
OLR's complaint may form a basis for the discipline
requested by the OLR director. He further avers that he fully
understands the misconduct allegations; fully understands the
ramifications should this court impose the stipulated level
of discipline; fully understands his right to contest the
matter; fully understands his right to consult with counsel;
avers that his entry into the stipulation is made knowingly
and voluntarily; that he has read the OLR's complaint and
the stipulation and that his entry into the stipulation
represents his decision not to contest the misconduct alleged
in the complaint or the level and type of discipline sought
by the OLR.
In the memorandum submitted in support of the stipulation,
the OLR recommends this court also order Attorney Kleinsmith
to comply with the Colorado Supreme Court's decision,
which requires Attorney Kleinsmith to make restitution.
See, e.g., In re Disciplinary Proceedings
Against Manion, 2016 WI 88, 372 Wis.2d 34, 886 N.W.2d
371 (ordering attorney in a reciprocal discipline case who
was directed to pay restitution in another state to comply
with "all conditions of the disciplinary orders imposed
on him by the Arizona Supreme Court required for
We accede to the OLR's request regarding restitution. The
court notes that in the event Attorney Kleinsmith ever seeks
reinstatement of his Wisconsin law license, he would need to
demonstrate, pursuant to SCR 22.29 (4m), that he has made the