Illinois Discipline Board recommends that lawyer be suspended for one year after advertising on Craigslist for “secretary with benefits”

Hello everyone and welcome to this JACPA Ethics Alert blog which will discuss the report of the Illinois Disciplinary Commission recommending that an Illinois lawyer be suspended for one year for, inter alia, advertising on Craigslist for a “secretary with benefits” and sending an e-mail to an applicant for the position stating that sexual services would be required at the interview and as a condition of the employment. The case is In the Matter of: Samir Zia Chowhan, File No. 6274702, Bar Commission No. 09 CH 53 (2011).

The Illinois Attorney Disciplinary Commission’s report indicates that the lawyer sought an “energetic woman” for his immigration law firm. The advertisement stated, in part, that “(d)uties will include general secretarial work, some paralegal work and additional duties for two lawyers in the firm… If interested, please send current resume and a few pictures along with a description of your physical features, including measurements…”

According to the commission’s report, an applicant for the legal position filed a complaint with the Illinois Bar after the lawyer sent an e-mail stating that there would be a “sexual tryout” before the employee was hired wherein the applicant would be required to perform sexual services and also that, if hired, the employee would be required to perform sexually separately for him or his partner or both at the same time.

The lawyer apparently admitted that he placed the advertisement and wrote the e-mail to the applicant, but he did not formally respond to the complaint or attend the disciplinary hearing.  The commission’s report also stated since the lawyer failed to appear, the proceedings were in the nature of a default and, unless the recommendation is reversed, the lawyer apparently will receive the one year suspension.

Bottom line:  is hopefully self evident.

…be careful out there!

As always, if you have any questions about this Ethics Alert or need assistance, analysis, and guidance regarding these or any other ethics, risk management, or other issues, please do not hesitate to contact me.

THE LAW OFFICE OF JOSEPH A. CORSMEIER, P.A.

PROVIDES ETHICS ADVICE AND EXPERT OPINIONS TO LAWYERS AND LAW FIRMS

DEFENDS LAWYERS IN BAR ADMISSION AND DISCIPLINE CASES

(AND MUCH MORE!)

My law firm focuses on review, analysis, and interpretation of the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar, advice and representation of lawyers in Bar disciplinary matters, defense of applicants for admission to The Florida Bar before the Board of Bar Examiners, defense of all Florida licensed professionals in discipline and admission matters before all state agencies and boards, expert ethics opinions, and practice management for lawyers and law firms.  If there is a lawyer or other Florida professional license involved, I can defend the complaint or help you get your license.

If you have any questions or comments, please call me at (727) 799-1688 or e-mail me at jcorsmeier@jac-law.com.  You can find my law firm on the web at www.jac-law.com. In addition to handling individual cases, matters, problems and issues for my clients, I also am on retainer to provide ethics advice to numerous lawyers and law firms throughout the state of Florida.  I also provide legal assistance and advice to numerous individuals and non-legal entities to help insure compliance with the law and rules related to UPL and other issues.

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