A local attorney recently had his license suspended after three complaints were filed by his clients alleging that he didn’t adequately complete his legal responsibilities and that he paid himself excessive or inappropriate legal fees.
Clifford Fritzell III practiced family law in Madison until September when his license was suspended, barring him from practicing law, receiving money from clients and acquiring any new clients.
According to Statewide Grievance Committee documents obtained by the Register, the grievance panel determined that in each of the three complaints against Fritzell, probable cause exists to believe that Fritzell is guilty of misconduct.
The panel issued its first finding on July 12, regarding a complaint filed by New Haven resident Joan Richitelli.
According to the documents, Fritzell was appointed by the Probate Court as a conservator for Richitelli’s aunt, who died in 2010. The complaint alleges that Fritzell, who was hired to help probate Richitelli’s aunt’s estate, did nothing but pay normal bills and due to his inactivity, Richitelli terminated his representation.
The complaint also alleges that Fritzell then submitted a $77,393 bill for legal services, despite being a conservator for only a month. According to the document, Fritzell then told Richitelli’s new attorney that he didn’t have all of the estate’s money and he wanted to make monthly payments. He paid additional money, but he stopped payment on a final check for $10,000. Richitelli’s aunt’s estate was owed $10,953 as of July 12, the complaint said.
The panel found that Fritzell’s legal fee was excessive and he did not properly hold and safeguard Richitelli’s aunt’s money, among other things.
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Madison Lawyer Has His License Suspended After 3 Clients File Complaints