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What Is Up With Chicago-Area Lawyers? Updates on Reema Bajaj and Jason Smiekel

Reema Bajaj wins the race to the courthouse.

Today we bring you two tales of Chicago-area lawyers accused of naughtiness. Chicago is a beautiful city in the summer, but some of its attorneys are facing ugly allegations.

Ladies first. What’s going on with Reema Bajaj, the rather attractive Illinois lawyer accused of prostitution? We’ve mentioned Bajaj here and there over the past few weeks, but we haven’t had hard news about her since June. Is her case any closer to resolution?

Apparently so. A plea deal is near, according to the Daily Chronicle, and Bajaj is scheduled back in court on August 31. As you may recall, Reema Bajaj has been charged with two misdemeanors and one felony. If she pleads guilty to just a misdemeanor, can she keep her Illinois law license? Readers, please enlighten us.

Let’s hear more about Reema from one reader who knows her personally — don’t worry, he’s not a customer — and then learn about another twentysomething Chicago lawyer accused of more-serious criminal conduct….

This account comes from a fellow member of the Illinois bar who knows Reema Bajaj:

(1) She’s an inexperienced but eager attorney with a wonderful personality.

(2) She’s absolutely gorgeous. I am a happily married man, but she gives me baaaaaad thoughts. She is sparkly, flirtatious, funny and just… ungodly hot.

(3) She’s still practicing in Boone and Cook Counties. I just saw her [last week].

(4) As a criminal defense attorney, I’m giving her the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise.

Fair enough; we are too. As you may recall, we have written in defense of Reema Bajaj, citing people who know and speak highly of her.

Back to our Chicago-area tipster:

[I]n the northwest Chicagoland area, we’re going to push Reema off the headlines with the newest local lawyer shenanigans. Check out Jason Smiekel, who allegedly tried to kill the ex-husband of his current girlfriend.

We mentioned Smiekel’s case in Friday’s Non-Sequiturs. Here’s a report from the Chicago Tribune:

An Algonquin attorney was arrested Thursday after he handed an envelope containing $7,000 in cash to an undercover federal agent posing as a hit man who had agreed to kill the ex-husband of the attorney’s girlfriend, authorities charged Friday.

The agent had led the attorney, Jason Smiekel, to believe the ex-husband would be killed that afternoon, authorities said in lodging the murder-for-hire charge in federal court in Rockford. He earlier had told Smiekel he would make it appear the murder stemmed from a robbery, according to the charge.

By the way, it appears that the ex-husband was a former client of Smiekel’s. We’ve sometimes heard of lawyers wanting to kill their clients, but this may be taking things a bit far.

Authorities allege that Smiekel, 29, previously attempted to have his girlfriend’s ex-husband dealt with:

According to the charge, Smiekel told the undercover agent that he had first sought to have the ex-husband killed last February, but the would-be hit men ripped him off, taking the first $8,000 payment and fleeing.

Smiekel’s latest attempt to have the target killed played out over the last 10 days after he approached an acquaintance who knew him only as “Jason,” authorities said.

Smiekel wanted the ex-husband dead before a court hearing, saying he feared the man had “dirt” on him that could “ruin” him, according to the charge.

“What do you need?” the criminal complaint quoted Smiekel as asking the acquaintance after offering $25,000 for the murder.

Jason Smiekel

We wonder what the “dirt” could be. It’s possible that Smiekel’s relationship with the girlfriend started prior to the finalization of the girlfriend’s divorce from the ex-husband, but in this day and age, an allegation of carrying on with a married woman doesn’t sound like very damaging “dirt.” (To learn more about the allegations against Smiekel, check out the ATF agent’s affidavit.)

One Chicago reader provides this bit of background on Jason Smiekel: “His girlfriend, the one he was allegedly willing to kill for, is a hot hot hot blonde.”

As for Smiekel himself, he is not a “hot hot hot blonde.” Rather, according to an ATL source, Smiekel is “short, goateed, with thinning, swept-back hair.”

But his legal work seems solid. One ATL tipster, a former colleague of Smiekel, described him as “well-liked” and “easy to work with.” Terry Mohr, senior partner at the matrimonial law boutique of Mohr Hill & Smiekel, praised Smiekel as an excellent, well-respected lawyer, with “a very special talent.” Mohr said that news of Smiekel’s arrest came as “a complete shock.”

We will stay on top of both Reema Bajaj and Jason Smiekel. If you know either of these lawyers and can share information or insight with us, please drop us a line.

Plea deal close for lawyer charged with prostitution [Daily Chronicle]
Algonquin lawyer accused in murder-for-hire plot [Chicago Tribune]
Algonquin lawyer charged in murder-for-hire plot [Northwest Herald]
Algonquin Attorney Jason Smiekel Arrested by Feds for Murder for Hire [McHenry County Blog]
Young Divorce Lawyer Allegedly Paid for Hit on Ex-Client, After Getting Involved With His Ex-Wife [ABA Journal]

Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of Reema N. Bajaj

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