Source: Court reprimands lawyer for improper relationship with client h/t TROP
The state Supreme Court publicly reprimanded the leader of Wisconsin’s largest Muslim organization Thursday for an ethical violation committed during his work as a private attorney.
Othman M. Atta, executive director of the Islamic Society of Milwaukee, had earlier pleaded no contest to eight counts of professional misconduct the Office of Lawyer Regulation charged in 2014, related to having a sexual relationship with a client he was representing in a divorce and immigration matters.
Atta has been licensed as a lawyer in Wisconsin since 1994 and has no prior disciplinary history. In addition to the public reprimand, he must pay the costs of the proceedings against him, more than $9,000.
Atta’s former client filed the complaint with the OLR, claiming he had delayed filing divorce documents after she broke off their relationship. Atta initially denied having a sexual relationship with the client, and told OLR investigators she had threatened to accuse him if he did not marry her.
In a dissent joined by Justice Shirley Abrahamson, Justice Ann Bradley said she would have supported a more severe sanction, “because the court appears to be too lenient for violations of this nature that undermine the trust relationship and truthfulness required of an attorney.”
The former client also has filed a legal malpractice lawsuit against Atta in Milwaukee County Circuit Court. That case is pending.