Michael S. Frisch

Last year, we covered the mystery departure of Lee Smolen — the prominent real estate lawyer, not the famed theoretical physicist — from Sidley Austin. It may have been related to the ethics charges filed against Smolen, accusing him of conversion and breach of fiduciary duty through alleged filing of false expense claims.

Amazingly enough, Smolen got picked up as a partner by DLA Piper. The firm admitted that it “was aware of this matter during the hiring process.”

In order to deliver to DLA’s bottom line, Smolen will need to avoid suspension or disbarment. So he has filed a response to the Illinois ethics charges against him. What does Smolen have to say for himself, and is it persuasive?

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Reema Bajaj

Some stories just won’t go away. Consider the tale of Reema Bajaj, the attractive Illinois attorney who pleaded guilty to prostitution last June. Reema keeps coming, and coming, and coming.

After the story climaxed with her guilty plea, we expected it was all over. But then Bajaj thrust herself back into the headlines by suing one of her former lawyers, along with other attorneys, alleging that they shared nude photos of her around the courthouse.

And now Reema Bajaj has been hit with ethics charges from the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (IARDC). The IARDC’s most salacious allegation: that Bajaj traded sex acts for office supplies.

What would Reema do for a ream of printer paper? How much toner to access that taut, toned body?

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As we reported yesterday, the comely young Reema Bajaj, a 26-year-old Illinois solo practitioner charged with prostitution, has pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor prostitution count. I previously expressed my favorable opinions of Bajaj and my belief in her innocence (despite the existence of nude pictures of her floating around the internet). Alas, it seems that my confidence may have been misplaced.

As a matter of legal ethics and attorney discipline, what will happen to Bajaj’s law license in the wake of her conviction for prostitution? As a matter of human interest, how did a promising young lawyer wind up in such a compromising situation?

We have some answers. A law professor who teaches ethics addresses the first question, and a friend of Reema speaks to the second….

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(Including revelations about Reema from a friend.)