Jason W. Smiekel

* Mirror, mirror, on the wall, which is the fairest firm of them all? According to the 2012 Acritas Brand Index survey, the current leader of the Global 100 is the most powerful Biglaw brand for the fifth year in a row. [American Lawyer]

* But that might not last for long, considering the dilemma Baker & McKenzie is facing when it comes to joining the Shanghai Bar Association in China. The firm is one of the first to indicate that it’ll take the plunge. [Wall Street Journal]

* Thanks to the Second Circuit, Rajat Gupta will be a free man on bail pending the appeal of his insider trading conviction. We wonder what Benula Bensam would have to say about this new twist. [DealBook / New York Times]

* Jason Smiekel, the lawyer who pleaded guilty in a murder-for-hire plot involving a former client, was sentenced to eight and a half years in federal prison. The things men will do for HHHBs. [Chicago Tribune]

* Student loan payments: coming to a paycheck deduction near you! Congress is considering an overhaul of the country’s student debt collection practices, and Rep. Tom Petri has some interesting ideas. [Bloomberg]

* The Cleveland-Marshall College of Law is the latest school to hop aboard the solo practice incubator train, but graduates will have to rent their office space from the school. Nice. /sarcasm [National Law Journal]

* “We didn’t file this complaint lightly.” Sorry, Judge Norman, but as it turns out, you can’t just sentence a teenager to attend church for 10 years as a condition of parole without pissing off the ACLU. [Tulsa World]

* When your alterations cost more than your wedding gown, it’s pretty much a given that you’ll have some problems — ones worth suing over, if you’re a true bridezilla (like moi). [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

Jason Smiekel

When we last checked in with Illinois attorney, Jason W. Smiekel, the man accused of taking out a hit on a former client (who also happened to be the ex-husband of Smiekel’s fiancée), he was busy trying to convince a judge to release him on bail. Apparently he didn’t think murder for hire was a “crime of violence.” Needless to say, that was an exercise in futility.

In August, Smiekel pleaded not guilty to seven counts of using interstate facilities in his alleged murder-for-hire scheme. At the time, readers who knew Smiekel assured us that we would “see in the end that he is the victim in this whole fiasco.” They believed that the divorce lawyer’s fiancée — otherwise known as the “hot hot hot blonde” (HHHB) — was to blame.

But based on the plea deal that Smiekel took yesterday, that doesn’t seem to be the case….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Chicago-Area Lawyer Didn’t Make a ‘Rational Decision’ When He Hired a Contract Killer to Off a Former Client”

Jason Smiekel

Last month, federal law enforcement officials accused an Illinois attorney, Jason W. Smiekel, of trying to put a hit out on a former client — who also happened to be the ex-husband of Smiekel’s fiancée. That’s quite an allegation, isn’t it?

And that’s not the end of the story. Some sources blamed this fiancée — a very beautiful woman, described to us by a tipster as a “hot hot hot blonde” (“HHHB”) — for the downfall of Jason Smiekel, ruining his marriage and taking him from a successful career in law to a life outside it. But others came to her defense, describing HHHB and Smiekel as “very much in love, and good people.”

Alas, if they are in love, their love may have to wait, thanks to the latest bad news for Jason Smiekel….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Bad News for a Chicago-Area Lawyer Accused of Murder for Hire”


Jason Smiekel

It’s not every day that a lawyer is accused of murder for hire. But that’s what happened earlier this month, when Illinois lawyer Jason W. Smiekel was accused of trying to put a hit out on a former client — who also happened to be the ex-husband of Smiekel’s current girlfriend (or fiancée).

Last week, the feds unveiled the indictment against Jason Smiekel (who was originally charged by complaint). At his arraignment last Wednesday, Smiekel pleaded not guilty to seven counts of using interstate facilities in a murder-for-hire scheme.

Since his arrest, we’ve heard from friends and colleagues of Jason Smiekel, 29, who claim that he’s getting a bum rap. They claim that blame for this unfortunate series of events should be located… elsewhere.

“How come no one is talking about his ‘girlfriend’?” asked one reader. “She needs to be questioned as well.”

So, let’s talk about that girlfriend — the one that an ATL tipster described as a “hot hot hot blonde”….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Chicago-Area Lawyer Accused of Murder for Hire Pleads Not Guilty
(And ATL readers come to his defense.)

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….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “What Is Up With Chicago-Area Lawyers? Updates on Reema Bajaj and Jason Smiekel”

Chris Christie

* Some bloggers stand up to dubious defamation lawsuits. [Techdirt]

* And some settle: St. Thomas Law (or its insurer) is paying $5,000 to Joseph Rakofsky. [Simple Justice]

* Another day, another lawyer accused of trying to kill someone — but not succeeding. (We might have more to say about this case next week; send us tips about Jason Smiekel.) [Chicago Tribune]

* My former boss, Governor Chris Christie, defends his appointment of Judge Sohail Mohammed, standing up to some of the Sharia-obsessed crazies on the right. Alas, some of these crazies could create problems for him in 2016. (Where are all the nice, moderate, socially liberal Republicans hiding? Establishment types, please take the GOP back from these icky populists.) [Arab American Institute]

* My co-author, Zach Shemtob, takes to the airwaves in defense of our New York Times op-ed, which has been controversial in some quarters. [AM 560 WIND]

Richard Matasar

* Dean Richard Matasar, outgoing dean of New York Law School, denies that law schools are all about the benjamins; rather, NYLS and other independent law schools “exist only for the benefit of their students.” [Bloomberg Law / YouTube]

* A woman is videotaped saying that she will claim sexual assault, when no such assault happened. (Staci’s take: “Pissed off women do strange things.”) [Houston Press]

* Google’s chief legal officer, David Drummond, accuses its competitors of being evil. [Corporate Counsel]

* Being a tenured professor can be a pretty sweet gig. Being an adjunct prof? Not so much. [Adjunct Law Prof Blog]

* If you’re looking for something to do on Monday night in New York, check out this fundraising event, sponsored by Weil Pays It Forward (and featuring Survivor hottie and former Weil lawyer Charlie Herschel). [Celebration of Survival]