Legal Ethics

Ethics case launched over $69K in cab fare reimbursement for former partner

A former partner of Sidley Austin who was a real estate practice leader and a member of the firm’s executive committee is facing an Illinois legal ethics complaint over $69,000 in cab fare reimbursement, among other issues.

In addition to obtaining $69,000 for cab rides he allegedly did not take, Lee Mark Smolen also submitted entertainment expense reimbursement requests for $50,000 in meals, restaurant gift cards and sports tickets that “had not been incurred for legitimate firm purposes,” contends a complaint (PDF) filed June 14 by the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission.

Smolen, who is now a partner in the Chicago office of DLA Piper, referred a request for comment by the ABA Journal to a firm spokesman who provided a written statement.

“The firm was aware of this matter during the hiring process,” it says. “After our own due diligence and a thorough review of the facts, the firm decided to give great weight to the total body of Lee’s work over his 25-plus years as a lawyer and to extend to him the opportunity to continue his career at DLA Piper. Lee is a well-respected attorney who has learned from his experience and taken all the necessary steps to move forward as a productive member of our team.”

Hat tip: Legal Profession Blog.

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