From our private database of 30,900+ case briefs...
Matter of Disciplinary Proceedings Against Curran
Wisconsin Supreme Court
180 Wis. 2d 540, 509 N.W.2d 429 (1994)
Attorney John Curran took over $200,000 from his law partnership without his partners’ knowledge. Curran and other attorneys formed the partnership in 1975. Beginning in 1987, Curran and two partners had an office building built. Curran managed the construction account and paid himself a $50,000 construction-management fee, then a $350 monthly management fee for 18 months, without telling the partners. The firm also did work for a construction company and its president, who was Curran’s friend. Curran had his friend write checks for legal services payable directly to Curran and put $81,300 in payments from his friend into his personal bank account instead of the law-firm account. Meanwhile, Curran issued credits on his friend’s legal bills totaling about $109,000, again without telling his partners. Curran’s friend also gave him a quitclaim deed to a condominium in exchange for a $13,000 credit. Finally, Curran represented a corporation’s president and his family. Curran had his secretary prepare manual billing statements for the corporation for “miscellaneous legal services” instead of the firm billing the client directly. The services actually entailed overseeing a lawsuit related to the client’s daughter’s divorce. Curran diverted about $10,000 of those fees into his personal bank account. After Curran had been at the firm for 24 years, three partners asked Curran to leave, partially because of that conduct. Curran resolved monetary disputes with the firm upon leaving. The Wisconsin Board of Attorneys Professional Responsibility (board) nonetheless brought disciplinary proceedings. Curran stipulated to the facts and acknowledged those facts violated the ethics rules. The referee concluded Curran had engaged in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation that violated the ethics rules and recommended a six-month suspension. The board appealed, requesting a two-year suspension. Curran also appealed, arguing the circumstances warranted only a one-month suspension. Curran claimed he contributed more fees to firm overhead than any other partner, while the partners attempted to enrich themselves and control firm clients, and that he was the only partner involved in the building project and took only reasonable and appropriate fees. Curran also claimed the partners breached their professional duty to inform the board about his conduct and provisions of his separation agreement. Finally, Curran argued the ethics rules did not apply to business relationships between lawyers.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 552,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Berkeley, and Northwestern—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students.Unlock this case briefRead our student testimonials
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students.Learn about our approachRead more about Quimbee
Here's why 552,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 30,900 briefs, keyed to 984 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.