In my earlier story about Reema Bajaj, the 25-year-old Illinois solo practitioner who now faces prostitution charges, I noted that she seems “very sweet and wholesome,” as well as “a fundamentally decent person.” And I adhere to this position. When I reached out to her through her law firm website, to see if she had any comment on the charges, I received this auto-reply:
My confidence in you, dear lovely Reema, remains unshaken. I am impressed by your politeness. I suspect that there’s more to your story than meets the eye. I remind all of our readers that you have only been accused — and remain innocent until proven otherwise.
In response to our request for tips about Reema, we heard from one of her law school classmates, who provided additional info about Reema N. Bajaj….
Said this source, a classmate of Reema Baja from Northern Illinois University College of Law:
I went to law school with her all three years. Very pretty girl, but strange and a loner; she really kept to herself. During every free period in law school she was constantly on her cell phone — she spent almost all of her free time on her cell phone.
Evidence of a side business? Not necessarily. Spending all your free time on your cellphone is a defining characteristic of Generation Y.
Also, sometime during 2L year, she magically went from an A cup to a C or D cup. I guess all of her hard work paid off.
Look, there’s nothing wrong with a little plastic surgery (assuming that this alleged bustline expansion didn’t happen naturally, which sometimes occurs). Breast enhancement: don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.
I asked this tipster if he knew what led Reema Bajaj to law school. He said:
She always told me that she wanted to become a lawyer so that she could defend “fathers’ rights” in divorce cases.
If the allegations against her are true, Bajaj is willing to lend men a helping hand.
And what about her, um, extracurricular activities? Did she do law review, or moot court?
I know she was very interested in mock trial, since she had hoped to be a trial attorney. I believe she did some external trial competitions….
I know that for one of those competitions, her partner was Eric M. Ray — the NIU law student who is currently charged with multiple felonies in the state of Utah for allegedly molesting a 15-year-old girl.
There’s an account of the accusations against Eric Ray in the Deseret News:
[A police] affidavit states Ray came to Utah March 14 from Dekalb, Ill., where he was a third-year law student at Northern Illinois School of Law. Ray is currently married and lives with his wife in Illinois, the report said.
On March 17, Ray picked the girl up from school without permission from her parents and took her back to his hotel room, where he had romantic music playing and had strewn rose petals.
They took off their shoes, got into bed and kissed for several hours while watching the movie “New Moon,” according to the affidavit. Ray dropped the girl off away from her home so he wouldn’t be seen by her parents.
Ray picked the girl up again on March 19, and they went to the hotel and kissed again. This time, the girl said Ray put his hands down her pants, according to the affidavit. After this meeting, Ray gave the girl a shirt he said had his smell so she could remember him and their time together.
Watching one of the Twilight movies together, surrounded by rose petals? How romantic!
After telling police posing as the girl that he was desperate to hold her and tell her he loved her, Ray said he wanted to see the girl to talk about their future, the report said. According to the affidavit, Ray repeatedly told the girl he wanted to marry her.
Marrying a 15-year-old? Well, this was in Utah….
(Please note that the Deseret News article reporting on the allegations was from May 2010. We’re advised that Eric Ray’s case is currently set for jury trial later this year.)
Back to our source, the Northern Illinois Law alum:
The NIU Law Class of 2010 has been ridiculous when its come to following the law. Our 1L year we had a girl go to jail for stealing a car and resisting arrest (she tried to take a cop’s weapon off of him). She also threatened the lives of multiple students in the law school. Then right before graduation, Eric Ray was arrested. Now this.
It’s really quite a shameful time to hold a degree from NIU Law. But at least it was cheap!
In this age of ever-increasing law school tuition, that’s no small virtue. And if you work while in school, as Reema Bajaj is accused of doing, you could emerge debt-free.
Let’s close with two positive reader comments from our prior story. First, one commenter points out — correctly, in my view — that these allegations might not harm Reema Bajaj:
If Ms. Bajaj worked in biglaw, a prostitution charge would end her career. Given that she’s a solo practitioner with a misdemeanor practice, though, I think that the charge (and the way she’s handling it) will lead to a lot more business — legal and otherwise. I’d certainly hire her.
Absolutely. I previously praised Bajaj’s forthright handling of the situation, including her posting a statement on her website about the charges. Clients appreciate lawyers who are honest with them (even when it requires admitting a mistake).
Second, another commenter warned against rushing to judgment of Reema Bajaj:
Having practiced law for many years now, and having led a well rounded life, I think we should reflect on several things here.
1. The accused is innocent until proven guilty.
2. Ms. Bajaj is a person deserving of respect for that reason alone and for many others.
3. Nothing I saw in the story recited here gives us any indication regarding the circumstances of her arrest. We don’t know, for instance, whether she is accused of finding ‘customers’ on craigslist, facebook, or some other of the plethora of ‘chat’ or social networking sites, where one might find such offers of sex acts for money — no matter the price.
4. Having defended people accused — most of them rightly accused — of the most heinous sex crimes imaginable, I think the criminal act this young woman is accused of should not be a crime at all….
5. Sex is very complicated and the compulsions involved can be troubling but these taboos are a big part of the drive toward sex itself.
I can only speculate about the causes of the meanness expressed in the [comments] regarding this story but to me it smacks not only of puerility, but of pent-up sexual frustration. To be a good lawyer one must be able to ‘put ourselves in the shoes’ of our clients and our adversaries. Empathy dear friends, restraint. Thank you.
“[P]ent-up sexual frustration,” on the part of Above the Law readers? Surely you jest, good sir.
In any event, we’ll continue to monitor the Reema Bajaj situation here at ATL. If you have firsthand info about Bajaj — especially of an exculpatory nature, because I’m disinclined to believe negative allegations about pretty and petite South Asian women — we welcome it, via email (subject line: “Reema Bajaj”). Thanks.
UPDATE: This story continues to evolve. Here is the latest news about Reema Bajaj.