Posted Sep 19, 2008 01:46 pm CDT
Updated: An Illinois lawyer who cut his legal fees for a stripper if she performed nude dances for him has been suspended for 15 months.
The trouble began for lawyer Scott Robert Erwin of DeKalb when he met an exotic dancer at the Heartbreakers club and realized they had discussed pending legal matters on the phone, the Chicago Tribune reports. Erwin agreed to represent the woman and to lower her fees in exchange for the personal appearances at his office, according to a report by Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission that was cited in the Tribune.
The review board also affirmed a finding that Erwin had touched the stripper inappropriately during the dances, saying it was not against the manifest weight of the evidence. Erwin had denied inappropriate touching, and the Tribune notes that a grand jury refused to indict him on a related charge.
The woman, who is now a married real-estate agent, reportedly complained when Erwin credited her only $534 on a $7,000 legal bill. He had no prior disciplinary action and had been chair of the pro bono committee of the local bar.
Among the ethics charges were that Erwin had committed battery through the touching and his representation of the client might have been materially limited by his own interests.
Hat tip to the Wall Street Journal Law Blog.
Updated at 9:55 a.m. to include details from the review board report.