Legal Ethics

Lawyer accused of exposing himself, improper touching is disbarred

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The Illinois Supreme Court has disbarred an Illinois lawyer accused of exposing himself and improperly touching four law firm employees.

Lawyer Paul M. Weiss of Highland Park, Illinois, was disbarred Tuesday, according to an order posted online. An ethics review board had recommended a lesser sanction of a 30-month suspension, the Legal Profession Blog and the Madison Record note.

A hearing board found that Weiss had:

• Improperly touched four law firm employees. Weiss denied any improprieties.

• Taken off his pants in front of a paralegal and rubbed his crotch suggestively. Weiss said he sometimes changed into a suit at the office but denied any improper conduct.

• Opened the door of his apartment on several occasions to ask a neighbor walking down the stairs to retrieve the newspaper for him because he wasn’t dressed. The neighbor came to believe that Weiss was intentionally exposing himself. Weiss denied opening the door enough to be seen naked.

• Asked a woman at the train station to walk up to his car, where she saw his penis exposed. Weiss said he was wearing shorts and “his package” could have “fallen out a little bit.” Weiss was charged with a municipal violation and received supervision after a stipulated bench trial. The record was expunged.

The Illinois Supreme Court had imposed an interim suspension in August. Weiss told the ABA Journal at the time that he has never been criminally charged with any of the conduct and never had the allegations judged by a jury. The charges would never hold up in criminal court, he said.

“I’ve never had any problems practicing law and fulfilling client obligations,” he said. “I’ve benefited consumers in my practice with hundreds of millions of dollars in class action relief. This has nothing to do with legal practice, nothing to do with clients. This is apparently a morals inquisition.”

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