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Solos/Small Firms

Ethics Complaint: Lawyer Lied About ‘Adult Gig’ Craigslist Ad for Secretary

Posted Oct 22, 2009 6:47 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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An attorney discipline count has been filed against an Illinois immigration lawyer for allegedly lying about an ad for a legal secretary that he posted in the "Adult Gigs" section of Craigslist.

Although the May 2009 job ad did not expressly list any sexual job duties, a follow-up letter sent by attorney Samir Zia Chowhan to a woman who responded to the ad stated that "in addition to the legal work, you would be required to have sexual interaction with me and my partner, sometimes together sometimes separate," alleges a complaint filed yesterday by the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission of the Illinois Supreme Court.

The letter, which is published in its entirety in the ARDC complaint, also states that "this part of the job would require sexy dressing and flirtatious interaction with me and my partner, as well as sexual interaction," and notes that a sexual tryout would be required as part of the job interview. Chowhan was a solo practitioner at this time, the complaint says, but shared an office with another lawyer.

The job applicant complained to the ARDC, which then contacted Chowhan. He denied initially that he had posted the Craigslist ad but later admitted that he had and that he had sent the letter, the complaint states.

It alleges that by lying initially to the ARDC about posting the ad Chowhan violated Rule 8.1 (a)(1) and Rule 8.4(a)(4) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct and Illinois Supreme Court Rule 770. They respectively prohibit making a false statement of material fact in connection with a lawyer disciplinary matter; conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation; and conduct which tends to defeat the administration of justice or bring the courts or legal profession into disrepute.

The complaint also contains two other counts concerning Chowhan's alleged mishandling of two immigration matters.

A message left for Chowhan early this evening by the ABA Journal at the business phone number listed for him on the ARDC's website did not receive any immediate response.

Hat tip: Legal Profession Blog and Legal Blog Watch.

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