An immigration lawyer and college instructor in Milwaukee, Wisconsin was disbarred by the Wisconsin Supreme Court on Tuesday, November 28.
The attorney, Sergio Magaña, had taken fees from clients and provided no help in their cases. He would even give his clients fake case numbers and pleadings if they asked for progress on their case,so they would not realize that he had not pursued their case.
Magaña is thirty-two years old and graduated from Marquette University Law School in 2012. He refused to cooperate when the Office of Lawyer Regulation began investigating him. Magaña did not report a drunk driving conviction he had received in 2014 to which he had pleaded guilty.
In 2016, the OLR filed a complaint against Magaña for professional misconduct. The complaint alleged over 70 counts of professional misconduct in at least 22 client matters. Magaña asked for extra time to respond to the complaint and the extra time was granted by the court. But, despite the approval of the extra time, he never responded and did not even appear for a hearing.
Magaña left the law firm he was employed with amidst all of the trouble, but never notified any of his clients that he was no longer with the firm, leaving them without help and without concluded cases.
The court found Magaña’s professional misconduct to be, “vast and troubling,” continuing to say, “The undisputed facts show a clear pattern of neglect by Attorney Magaña of his clients’ needs and objectives, of his professional obligations as an attorney, and of the basic importance of truthfulness.”
Despite the severity of his actions, taking advantage of immigrant clients, desperate for help, the court only ordered $620 in restitution to one client, $420 to another client, and another $420 to the law firm Magaña had worked for. He was also ordered to pay for the cost of the Office of Lawyer Regulation proceedings for almost $5,000.
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