Appleton Man Files Ethics Complaint Stemming from Republican Redistricting

Last week Matthew Van Grinsven filed an ethics complaint against an attorney at the Michael Best & Friedrich law firm. Much has been made about the redistricting story and the secrecy agreement signed by Republicans. There has also been a lot of speculation about who knew what and when did they know it. Matthew has taken this story to a different level. He is questioning the ethics of the lawyer who supported the Republicans in the redistricting effort.

The complaint is well worth the read and brings up quite a few good points. Full text can be found here. One quote that really caught my attention is the following. Highlighting in the text is mine:

“The interests are so in conflict, they are close to being complete opposite. It is important for one attorney to represent the interests of a body such as the Wisconsin State Senate in a manner such as redistricting. To satiate one sides interests, cripples the other. It is similar to having one attorney represent both sides in a lawsuit. It is a conflict of interest of the highest order. In his representation of the State Senate Democrats as clients, Attorney McLeod was in violation of the fundamental regulations as an attorney.”

Another quote that really makes a lot of sense. Again, the highlighting is mine.

“SCR 20.1.18 (c) A lawyer subject to par. (b) shall not represent a client with interests materially adverse to those of a prospective client in the same or a substantially related matter if the lawyer received information from the prospective client that could be significantly harmful to that person in the mater, except as provided in par. (d)…

Also, up until just a few days ago there seemed to be confusion by the State Senate Democrats what Attorney McLeod’s position was on if he represented them or not. This may go to SCR 20:4.1. Michael Best (by way of Eric McLeod) received payment of a percentage of the $400,000 paid by the state of Wisconsin to represent The Wisconsin State Senate. He probably should have known he was representing the interests of The Wisconsin Republican Party. Therefore, it was unethical for him to accept the client and money.”

Remember, this is the same law form that provided legal services to Michael Gableman. From an article at the Journal Sentinel.

“McLeod has drawn attention in recent months for providing legal services to state Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman under an arrangement in which Gableman did not have to pay.”

I look forward to doing follow ups on this story as it develops. Special thanks to Matthew for bringing the ethics complaint to my attention.

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