Protecting the Public – Court to Consider What Attorney Michael Hupy Has Long Advocated
By Lindsey Anderson
In addition to safety campaigns to protect motorcyclists, pedestrians, and automobile drivers, Attorney Michael Hupy has been working for more than ten years to get the legal profession to do more to protect the public. Attorney Hupy has written articles for our firm’s publication, the Marquette University Law School Faculty Blog, and the Wisconsin Law Journal, arguing that the legal profession does not do enough to protect the public from lawyers it knows are stealing from unsuspecting clients or who are even incarcerated. Yet, these lawyers still have a license to practice law, and may be soliciting business from more unsuspecting clients.
Attorney Hupy’s article in the Marquette Blog referred to a case where a judge in Pennsylvania took bribes to send juveniles to jail. His article in the Wisconsin Law Journal focused on the lack of any warning the legal profession gives the public when a lawyer is being investigated. Fraudulent and criminal activity should be exposed to the public as soon as possible, especially if the Office of Lawyer Regulation drags these investigations on for years.
More than ten years ago, there were 22,000 lawyers in Wisconsin. During that time, a Milwaukee lawyer was in federal prison for defrauding some 200 of his personal injury clients, and he still held a license to practice law. While he was in prison, his firm sent direct mail advertising to unsuspecting accident victims with the lawyer’s name at the top. Attorney Hupy was the only lawyer to publicly criticize the Office of Lawyer Regulation and warn the public of the situation.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court is considering a more transparent review process for lawyers facing misconduct investigations. The Supreme Court will hold a hearing on February 24, 2014, at 9:45 a.m. in Madison, Wisconsin.
Regarding the hearing scheduled in Madison, Attorney Hupy said, “The Wisconsin Bar Association has been in existence for 136 years. There is an institutional bias in the legal profession against whistle-blowers, but I have always believed the only reason the legal profession exists is for the benefit of our clients and the public. The public deserves better.”
Because of the institutional bias in the legal profession against whistle-blowers, and for silence about the misconduct of lawyers, members of our profession who put the public first may have to act on their own.