CHAPTER SCR 12
CLIENT PROTECTION
SCR 12.01   Attorney's death or disappearance without compliance with license suspension or revocation order.
SCR 12.02   Sole practitioners; medical incapacity.
SCR 12.03   Sole practitioners; death or disappearance.
SCR 12.04   Wisconsin lawyers' fund for client protection: creation and purpose.
SCR 12.045   Definitions.
SCR 12.05   Administration.
SCR 12.06   Powers and duties of the committee.
SCR 12.07   Assessment of attorneys; reserve; enforcement.
SCR 12.08   Payment of claims.
SCR 12.09   Claims for reimbursement.
SCR 12.10   Subrogation.
SCR 12.11   Confidentiality.
SCR 12.12   Reimbursement from the fund is discretionary.
SCR 12 Note Note: SCR Chapter 12 was adopted March 2, 1981; amended May 29, 1981; May 4, 1993; April 16, 1997; October 1, 2000; November 14, 2001; July 1, 2002; January 1, 2005; May 11, 2007; July 1, 2007; October 6, 2010; January 1, 2012.
12.01 SCR 12.01 Attorney's death or disappearance without compliance with license suspension or revocation order. If an attorney whose license is suspended or revoked disappears or dies and has failed to comply with SCR 22.26 and no partner, personal representative or other responsible party capable of conducting the attorney's affairs is known to exist, a judge of a court of record in a county in which the attorney maintained an office shall appoint an attorney to enter the former offices of the attorney or other location as may be necessary for the sole purpose of protecting clients' rights, files and property and delivering the files and property to the clients or to their successor counsel. The appointed attorney may be compensated in an amount approved by the judge out of the assets of the attorney who has disappeared or died.
SCR 12.01 History History: Sup. Ct. Order No. 99-03, 2000 WI 106, 237 Wis. 2d xix.
12.02 SCR 12.02 Sole practitioners; medical incapacity.
12.02(1)(a)(a) In addition to any proceedings that are instituted by the office of lawyer regulation, in the case of an attorney who is a sole practitioner, any interested person or person licensed to practice law in this state may file a petition in the circuit court for the county in which the attorney resides or maintains his or her office alleging that the attorney has a medical incapacity. The petition and a notice of hearing shall be served personally upon the attorney alleged to have a medical incapacity. If personal service upon the attorney cannot be accomplished, notice by publication of a class 1 notice, as provided in ch. 985 of the statutes, and mailing shall be sufficient service, except that the court may determine that additional notice is required. Upon a showing by clear, satisfactory and convincing evidence at a hearing that the attorney has a medical incapacity, if no other satisfactory arrangements have been made to assist the attorney, the court shall appoint a trustee attorney and notify the office of lawyer regulation of the appointment.
12.02(1)(b) (b) An attorney appointed under par. (a) shall enter the offices of the attorney and assist the attorney to do all of the following:
12.02(1)(b)1. 1. Protect the clients' rights, files and property.
12.02(1)(b)2. 2. Notify all clients being represented in pending matters of the appointment of the attorney under par. (a) as promptly as possible, personally or by mail, and advise them to seek counsel of their choice. At the request of a client, an attorney appointed under par. (a) may act as interim counsel, subject to par. (f) 4.
12.02(1)(b)3. 3. Deliver client files and property to the clients upon their request.
12.02(1)(b)4. 4. Collect outstanding attorney fees, costs and expenses and make arrangements for the prompt resolution of any disputes concerning outstanding attorney fees, costs and expenses.
12.02(1)(b)5. 5. Assist and cooperate with the attorney in the suspension, termination or windup of his or her practice.
12.02(1)(c) (c) The court may order an examination of the attorney by qualified medical and psychological experts and order the examined attorney to pay the expense of the examination.
12.02(1)(d) (d) The court may make other orders pending a hearing regarding any of the following:
12.02(1)(d)1. 1. Restrictions on the disbursement of funds.
12.02(1)(d)2. 2. Restrictions on the transfer, removal or concealment of files.
12.02(1)(d)3. 3. Preparation of lists of all clients in pending matters.
12.02(1)(d)4. 4. Preparation of lists of all matters pending before any court or administrative agency.
12.02(1)(d)5. 5. Disclosure of what arrangements the attorney may have made or might suggest to protect the interest of his or her clients.
12.02(1)(e) (e) All papers, files, transcripts, communications and proceedings pertaining to any petition under this subsection shall be closed and remain confidential until the court has made a finding of medical incapacity. This paragraph does not prohibit any publication the court finds necessary and does not prohibit the court from notifying another court before which a similar petition may be filed.
12.02(1)(f) (f) An attorney appointed under par. (a) and his or her law firm shall:
12.02(1)(f)1. 1. Not serve in any other capacity as counsel for the assisted attorney or his or her family.
12.02(1)(f)2. 2. Be compensated from any assets generated in connection with his or her efforts for his or her professional services and reasonable and necessary expenses.
12.02(1)(f)3. 3. Be eligible to be a purchaser of the law practice under SCR 20:1.17.
12.02(1)(f)4. 4. Not be permitted to act as successor attorney except and until the trustee attorney becomes a purchaser of the law practice under SCR 20:1.17.
12.02(1)(g) (g) The assisted attorney may nominate a trustee attorney and may consent to the appointment of a trustee attorney.
12.02(1)(h) (h) The court shall appoint a guardian ad litem pursuant to s. 803.01 (3) of the statutes if the court has reason to believe that the attorney is mentally incompetent.
12.02(2) (2) The court shall review the amounts requested by the trustee attorney for compensation and reimbursement under sub. (1) (f) 2. and shall make a finding as to the reasonableness and necessity of the proposed compensation and expenses before entering the order authorizing their payment. The assisted attorney shall be personally liable for any compensation and expenses ordered by the court.
12.02(3) (3) Upon a showing that the assisted attorney is no longer incapacitated, or upon a showing that the trustee attorney has completed his or her responsibilities, the court may terminate the proceeding and discharge the trustee attorney.
12.02(4) (4) A trustee attorney appointed under sub. (1) (a) shall be deemed to be a member of a committee described under SCR 20:8.3 (c).
12.02(5) (5) A trustee attorney is governed by the same rules of professional conduct applicable to the assisted attorney with respect to client matters and files.
12.02(6) (6) The trustee attorney appointed under sub. (1) (a) shall have his or her own professional liability coverage with a carrier admitted to do insurance business in this state and whose coverage language clearly covers the work of the trustee attorney acting under this section.
SCR 12.02 History History: Sup. Ct. Order No. 99-03, 2000 WI 106, 237 Wis. 2d xix; Sup. Ct. Order No. 10-07, 2010 WI 119, 328 Wis. 2d xvii.
12.03 SCR 12.03 Sole practitioners; death or disappearance.
12.03(1)(1) Death.
12.03(1)(a)(a) Upon the death of an attorney who is a sole practitioner, any interested person or person licensed to practice law in this state may file a petition in the circuit court for the county in which the attorney resided or maintained his or her office alleging that the attorney is deceased and that no satisfactory arrangements have been made for the winding up of his or her practice. The petition and a notice of hearing shall be served upon the personal representative for the estate of the deceased attorney. If there is no personal representative appointed, service shall be made upon an adult heir or such person as the court considers appropriate and the court may appoint a special administrator in those cases. Upon a showing at a hearing that no satisfactory arrangements have been made to wind up the practice of the deceased attorney, the court shall appoint a trustee attorney and notify the office of lawyer regulation of the appointment.
12.03(1)(b) (b) An attorney appointed under par. (a) shall enter the offices of the deceased attorney and do all the following:
12.03(1)(b)1. 1. Protect the clients' rights, files and property.
12.03(1)(b)2. 2. Notify all clients being represented in pending matters of the appointment of the attorney under par. (a) as promptly as possible, personally or by mail, and advise them to seek counsel of their choice. At the request of a client, an attorney appointed under par. (a) may act as interim counsel, subject to the par. (c) 4.
12.03(1)(b)3. 3. Deliver client files and property to the clients upon their request.
12.03(1)(b)4. 4. Collect outstanding attorney fees, costs and expenses and make arrangements for the prompt resolution of any disputes concerning outstanding attorney fees, costs and expenses.
12.03(1)(b)5. 5. Assist and cooperate with the deceased attorney's personal representative, special administrator or other representative of the deceased attorney's estate in the termination or sale of the law practice under SCR 20:1.17.
12.03(1)(c) (c) An attorney appointed under par. (a) and his or her law firm shall:
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Wisconsin Supreme Court Rules updated by the Legislative Reference Bureau. Current through all Supreme Court Orders entered before October 2, 2017. Report errors at (608) 266-3561, FAX 264-6948.