Tosa attorney's inability to explain theft could result in longer license suspension.


Byline: Michaela Paukner,

A Wauwatosa lawyer's inability to explain why he stole thousands of dollars from his business partnerscould result in his receiving a longer law-license suspension than first sought. The Wisconsin Supreme Court heard arguments in the Office of Lawyer Regulation's Case against Robert Moodieon Monday.

The OLR accused Moodie of violating two attorney-ethics ruleswhen he was a senior partner at Hippenmeyer, Reilly, Moodie & Blum. While he was in the hospital for a heart attack in 2016, lawyers at the firm discovered Moodie had collected money from clientsand deposited it into his personal bank account instead of the firm's account. The OLR estimated he converted at least $8,665 worth of fees. A referee recommended a six-month to one-year license suspension.

Moodie's attorney, Terry Johnson, argued for a five-month suspension instead at Monday's hearing.JohnsonsaidMoodie's conduct was out of character. Helookedinto a medical defense and foundthe applicable burden-of-proof standard couldn't be met.

"Speaking from a common-sense perspective, it's the only explanation for why someone who behaved without blemish for 30 years, suddenly for one relatively short period of time ... behaved in a way that is totally uncharacteristic of his conduct for the rest of his life," Johnson said.

Thomas Laitsch, assistant litigation counsel for the OLR, said the office believes Moodie should lose his license for atleast six...

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