Legal Ethics

Partying and Sexual Encounter Lead to Proposed Suspension for 2 Ex-BigLaw Associates

An Illinois hearing board has recommended short suspensions for two former BigLaw associates for their conduct during a long day of partying in Wisconsin that ended with a sexual encounter and allegations of rape.

The hearing board report recommends a 60-day suspension for Stephan Addison, who formerly worked at Seyfarth Shaw, and a 30-day suspension for Benjamin Butler, who had worked at Schiff Hardin. Addison now has a solo legal practice and is a consultant for a private equity company, while Butler is a solo and an independent contractor with Collins, Bargione and Vuckovich. Both are 2004 graduates of the University of Wisconsin Law School.

Addison and Butler had entered no-contest pleas in December 2006 to lesser charges in a criminal case based on the accusations of a woman they met in a bar after a day of drinking in August 2005, the report says. The woman agreed to drive the men to Addison’s summer house, and ended up having sex on the hood of the car with the men. She told police she had been raped; they said the sex was consensual.

Addison pleaded no contest to second-degree reckless endangerment and sexual gratification in public, and was sentenced to 30 days in jail with work release, three years of probation and 500 hours of community service. Butler pleaded no contest to second-degree endangerment, and was sentenced to three years of probation and 300 hours of community service.

The pleas outraged some in the community, according to a January 2007 Milwaukee Journal article.

The Legal Profession Blog noted the hearing board recommendation. Law Shucks has a longer account of the case.

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