Thursday, March 1, 2012

Unwanted Publicity

In January, Summary Judgments brought news of the variety of legal work that embattled Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is throwing off to Michael Best & Friedrich, a 160-year-old Milwaukee law firm. Among other assignments, Walker had asked Michael Best to help him dismantle public-sector unions' collective bargaining rights and to investigate an embezzlement scheme involving lower-level officials.

Michael Best is now making Wisconsin State Journal headlines again, this time in a case involving Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman. The Dane County District Attorney has moved to disqualify Gableman from certain cases because of his past relationship with the firm. Michael Best represented Gableman - for free, the Dane County DA says -- in an ethics matter stemming from his 2008 election. A partner involved in that case also represents Gov. Walker's camp in the collective bargaining matter. That, says DA Ismael Ozanne, is a clear ethical conflict. Gableman has declined to recuse himself before, but Ozanne wants the full court to remove him from the collective bargaining matter. In a letter to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - published in Ozanne's court filing - Gableman's lawyer Viet Dinh (of Bancroft law firm and Paul Clement fame!) wrote "Gableman has the same fundamental right to representation as any other individual."

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