Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Is Dean Wasiolek a State Bar Member?

The question of whether Duke Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Suzanne (Sue) Wasiolek is a member of the NC State Bar is very important.

The NC Bar licenses attorneys who are then subject to its code of professional conduct, as we saw in the case of now disbarred Mike Nifong.

The complaint filed Feb. 21 by attorneys acting on behalf of 38 Duke lacrosse players who were members of the 2006 Men’s team and some of their family members names Wasiolek as a defendant and states as part of identifying her in #56 (pg. 20):

…Wasiolek is or has been a member of the North Carolina bar ….
Is or has been?

The complaint filing later says Wasiolek violated part of the bar’s code of professional conduct. But for that to happen, Wasiolek would have to be a member of the bar or in some other way subject to its code. The average citizen is not.

Today I called the State Bar to determine Wasiolek’s status.

I was told she became a member on Aug. 19, 1989 and has been a member at all times since. No complaints have been made concerning her. Her license # is 16880.

With that information confirmed, here’s the portion of the complaint filing which appears relevant to the attorneys’ allegation Wasiolek, among other things, violated the bar’s code of professional conduct.

Complaint includes:

Pg. 45 A. Duke Advises Lacrosse Players Not To Seek Legal Counsel

138. On or about March 15, Robert Dean, Director of the Duke University Police, notified Dean Suzanne Wasiolek, Duke’s Dean of Students, of Mangum’s rape allegations. Dean Wasiolek is a lawyer and a member of the bar of the State of North Carolina. She had also been a revered and trusted advisor to students in difficulty, and enjoyed a special relationship of authority, trust, and confidence with students, including the lacrosse players.

139. Police Director Dean notified Dean Wasiolek that “the accuser was not credible” and that “this would go away.” He advised Dean Wasiolek that neither Duke nor Durham police officers believed that accuser’s allegations. This advice reflected Duke Police Officer Christopher Day’s March 14 report (the Day report”), prepared at Duke Hospital, which stated that the accuser “changed her story several times,” and that “Durham police stated that charges would not exceed misdemeanor simple assault against the occupants of 610 N. Buchanan.” On information and belief, Dean and other Duke Police reviewed and approved the Day report on March 14, the date it was filed.

140. Dean Wasiolek and other senior Duke officials to whom she spoke thus had reason to believe, from the very outset of the hoax, that the accused lacrosse players were innocent and the accuser was not credible. Dean Wsaiolek was advised, specifically, that the number of alleged attackers varied between 20 and 3 in the accuser’s accounts. Moreover, Dean Wasiolkek later recalled that “it did not appear that this case was really going to go very far, because there were some real inconsistencies in some of the information that the alleged victim was providing.” She also stated of the Duke police, “I’ve relied on what they have told me more times than I can count. Their judgment has always proven to be something I could depend on.”

141. During the afternoon of March 15, Dean Wasiolek contacted Coach Pressler o his cell phone to notify him of the allegations. Coach Pressler was at ta bowling alley with the entire lacrosse team at the time. He confronted the four team co-captains, Flannery, Zash, Evans, and Thompson, and they promptly called Dean Wasiolek back. The co-captains spoke directly to Dean Wasiolek on Coach Pressler’s cell phone.

142. The co-captains admitted that two exotic dancers had been hired for the party, but emphatically and unequivocally denied Mangum’s rape allegations and assured Dean Wasiolek that nothing of the kind had occurred at the party. Dean Wasiolek (pg. 46 ends) assured the players that she believed them, and that the police had determined that Mangum’s rape allegations were inconsistent and not credible.

143. Dean Wasiolek advised the players that they should not hire lawyers and that they should not tell anyone, including their parents, about the rape allegations. As one player recalls, Dean Wasiolek said: “[R]ight now you don’t need an attorney. Just don’t tell anyone, including your teammates or parents, and cooperate with police if they contact you.” (Emphasis added.)

Because she was a lawyer, and because of her special relationship of authority, trust and confidence with the players, the players trusted Dean Wasiolek’s advice.

145. Dean Wasiolek knew or should have known that her advice that the players should not tell their parents, and that they should not seek legal counsel and representation, was not in the players’ best interest.

In advising the players not to procure legal representation, Dean Wasiolek, who is an attorney, violated Rule 4.3 of the North Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct.

147. Coach Pressler passed Dean Wasiolek’s advice along to the entire lacrosse team. In reliance upon this advice, the players did not procure legal representation or tell their parents about the allegations for the next several days, while the rape investigation against them continued. (pg. 47 ends)


In the NC State Bar's code of professional conduct you'll find:

Transactions with Persons Other Than Clients

Rule 4.3 Dealing with Unrepresented Person

In dealing on behalf of a client with a person who is not represented by counsel, a lawyer shall not:

(a) give legal advice to the person, other than the advice to secure counsel, if the lawyer knows or reasonably should know that the interests of such person are or have a reasonable possibility of being in conflict with the interests of the client; and

(b) state or imply that the lawyer is disinterested. When the lawyer knows or reasonably should know that the unrepresented person misunderstands the lawyer's role in the matter, the lawyer shall make reasonable efforts to correct the misunderstanding.

Folks, the bar's Web site is easy to navigate. There's discussion of Rule 4.3 here.

I hope this post has been of interest and help to you.

We should all bear in mind that what is alleged concerning Wasiolek's actions in regard to Rule 4.3 is, at this point, only an allegation.


Anonymous said...


Yeoman work by you. You earned your pay today - fix yourself a double martini after work...

Walter Abbott

Anonymous said...

Thanks John

Great find!

Next provide the link to file complaints, as LS did.


Anonymous said...

Why did you have to tell us?

Aren't the N&O, the H-S and the Allen Bldg. Chronicle interested in any of this?

Didn't Dick say he wanted everyone to tell what they knew?

What about Sue?

Thanks, John.

Anonymous said...

McClatchy's terrible financial performance: