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Ex-Con Allegedly Worked as Bogus Lawyer for 5 Years, May Have Watched TV Legal Dramas to Hone Skills

Posted Jan 10, 2011 5:51 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A convicted burglar allegedly passed himself off as an Illinois lawyer and represented paying clients for at least five years before finally being caught when a court clerk in suburban Chicago recognized him and blew the whistle.

Held in contempt last month and jailed after being accused of representing clients in dozens of Illinois cases, Tahir Malik, 47, was charged with two counts of impersonation, WGN reported.

He never attended a day of law school, the television station says, and Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart suspects the accused bogus barrister picked up his trial skills from his own experiences of being arrested and prosecuted as a defendant.

But Malik also may have benefited from another source of nontraditional legal training, his father told the Chicago Tribune—watching legal dramas on television.

It's unclear how the cases of those who allegedly paid Malik between $500 and $4,500 to represent him will now be handled. However, a victim hotline has been set up at 773-869-6466.

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