So far, our Lawyers of the Month have been a motley crew. Dying helps. So does being incredibly stupid.
But this month we have a lawyer who won our Lawyer of the Month competition just for his old-fashioned practice of the law. Yep, in a month where we had naked people and dead people, an actual legal person won the competition….
I’ll always be grateful to Paul Bergrin, the New Jersey federal prosecutor turned notorious criminal defense attorney. Thanks to him, I’ll never have to worry about being the most scandalous alumnus of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark.
While working as an assistant U.S. attorney, I wrote a mildly snarky blog about federal judges, pretending to be a woman, until I outed myself in the pages of the New Yorker. That pales in comparison to what Bergrin stands accused of doing, including (but not limited to) the following: operating a real-estate scam, which defrauded lenders of over $1 million; running a high-volume drug dealership, which was apparently big enough to move 120 pounds of uncut cocaine; running an illegal escort service; and, most seriously of all, having witnesses murdered to keep them from testifying against his clients.
It’s hard to believe that Paul Bergrin was once a federal prosecutor. It’s not hard to believe that he is, in the words of New York magazine, “The Baddest Lawyer in the History of Jersey.”
But let’s recall that the charges against Bergrin are just that — charges, which Bergrin disputes. Last week, represented by prominent defense lawyer Lawrence Lustberg, Bergrin appeared in federal court in Newark and pleaded not guilty to all 33 counts in the 139-page indictment. Bergrin’s trial is currently set for October 11 before Judge William J. Martini.
In light of the astounding charges leveled against him, Paul Bergrin has taken on a larger-than-life aura — the man, the myth, the legend. What is he really like?
Okay, we were really late with the May Lawyer of the Month reader poll. But that was in part because the May candidates were quite dull.
There is nothing dull about the June Lawyer of the Month candidates. I count two candidates who would be runaway winners if they didn’t have to face each other, and two other candidates that would be darkhorse choices to win in any other month.
The scandalous allegations about the June candidates put the sizzle in summer. And no, I don’t know why I wrote that sentence as if I were writing ad copy for Applebee’s…
I have previously expressed my belief in the innocence of Reema N. Bajaj, the 25-year-old lawyer who has been charged with prostitution. This Illinois solo practitioner didn’t strike me as a prostitute — and some who know her personally concur. A classmate of Bajaj from Northern Illinois University College of Law expressed his shock at the charges, and college students whom Bajaj taught described a caring and considerate teacher — an unlikely lawbreaker.
But, in fairness to the prosecution, evidence does exist that could be construed as supporting the charges. And some of this evidence is rather salacious — to wit, photographs of Reema Bajaj’s bajayjay.
If you have delicate sensibilities, please stop reading here. If you have a stomach for somewhat scandalous (but still safe for work) material, however, you may continue….
Today brings more news coverage of Reema Bajaj, the rather attractive 25-year-old lawyer accused of moonlighting as a prostitute. Her story was written up in the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune, among other outlets.
Both papers covered the newest development in the case, a court hearing yesterday. Bajaj pleaded not guilty to three counts of prostitution (two misdemeanors and one felony), according to her lawyer, David Camic of Aurora, Illinois.
I have previouslyexpressed my gut instinct that Reema Bajaj is innocent. Maybe I’m guilty of judging a book by its cover, but she just looks innocent — youthful and sweet and wide-eyed. She is a young Midwestern woman, of South Asian ancestry, who grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. It doesn’t get much more wholesome than that.
And now I don’t have to rely solely upon racial stereotyping vague intuitions. Now I have additional evidence, from several sources — including a law school classmate of Reema Bajaj….
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….
This may be a sad commentary on the challenges facing young lawyers today. A 25-year-old solo practitioner in Sycamore, Illinois, has been accused of trying to supplement her income through prostitution.
Last week, attorney Reema N. Bajaj was charged with three counts of prostitution. The charges arise out of two incidents that allegedly took place on August 13, 2010, and May 10, 2011. But police allege that Bajaj has been engaging in prostitution activity for several years, even before she was admitted to the Illinois bar.
As it turns out, Reema Bajaj is a rather pretty woman. In light of her attractiveness — see pics after the jump — it’s surprising how little she was allegedly charging for her services….
Are you familiar with the website Post Secret? If not, you should check it out. It describes itself as “an ongoing community art project, where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard.”
The secret-spilling postcards are then posted to the web. One of the entries from this past weekend gives a great shout-out to a leading law firm….
* Seeing the Westboro Baptist Church versus the Klu Klux Klan is like getting a special sneak peek of what’s playing on ESPN Hell. [Washington Post]
* I’m going to be honest. I don’t have any “Congressman Weiner’s wiener” jokes, mainly because I think wiener is a stupid word and will use the word penis or dick instead. But, come to think of it, I don’t have any jokes about Congressman Penis’s dick either. [MSNBC]
It was quite shocking last October when word first surfaced that then-federal judge Jack Camp, at the time a senior judge for the Northern District of Georgia (Atlanta), might have indulged in cocaine, marijuana, and sex with a prostitute. The charges were hard to believe, especially given Judge Camp’s judicial office.
But, as it turned out, there was some truth to the allegations. In November, Judge Camp pleaded guilty to criminal charges stemming from his role in a scandal that involved drugs, guns, sex, and a stripper named Sherry Ann Ramos.
Now new information has come to light that makes Judge Jack Camp’s behavior perhaps more understandable, even if still illegal….
The legal industry is being disrupted at every level by technological advances. While legal tech entrepreneurs and innovators are racing to create a more efficient and productive future, there is widespread indifference on the part of attorneys toward these emerging technologies.
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past seven years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We at Kinney Asia have made a number of FCPA / White Collar US associate placements in Hong Kong / China thus far in 2014. Most of such placements have been commercial litigation associates from major US markets, fluent in Mandarin, switching to FCPA / White Collar litigation. Some have already had FCPA experience, but those are difficult candidates for firms to find (this will change in coming years as US firms are now promoting FCPA / White Collar to their 2L summers who are fluent in Mandarin and have an interest in transferring to China at some point).
Legal Week quoted Kinney’s Head of Asia, Evan Jowers, extensively in the following relevant article here.
There is a new trend in the market, though, where mid-level transactional US associates, fluent in spoken Mandarin and written Chinese, are interviewing for and in some cases landing junior FCPA / White Collar spots in Hong Kong / China at very top tier US firms.
When the LexisNexis Cloud Technology Survey results were reported earlier this year, it showed that attorneys were starting to peer less skeptically into the future, and slowly but surely leaning more toward all the benefits the law cloud has to offer.
Because let’s face it, plenty of attorneys are perhaps a bit too comfortable with their “system” of practice management, which may or may not include neon highlighters, sticky notes, dog-eared file folders, and a word processing program that was last updated when the term “raise the roof” was still de rigueur.