To my fellow Desi wanna-be esquires:
Remember how in law school you had that “Litigation Basics” class the first semester of your first year? Think back. It was probably one of those half-semester pass/fail deals where you spent class time surfing the net instead of taking notes. (Or was that just me). At the beginning of the term, the professor passes out a little booklet that says “Rules of Professional Conduct.” It lays out the ethical duties of attorneys, basically what they can and cannot do while practicing in that state. It covers client confidentiality, conflict of interest issues, etc. If you haven’t read your copy lately, may I suggest a refresher may be in order? Especially that part about “conduct…which tends to…. bring the courts or the legal profession into disrepute” a.k.a known as asking your employees to have sex with you as part of their duties of employment. You think I jest?
Take Samir Zia Chowhan of Chowhan Law, an attorney practicing in Chicago, Illinois. Allegedly, one fine day, Mr. Chowdan decided his firm needed a secretary/legal assistant and where better to advertise than on the ‘Adult Gigs’ section of Craigslist? He posted a somewhat typical help-wanted ad.
Loop law firm looking to hire am [sic] energetic woman for their open secretary/legal assistant position. Duties will include general secretarial work, some paralegal work and additional duties for two lawyers in the firm. No experience required, training will be provided… If interested, please send current resume and a few pictures along with a description of your physical features, including measurements.
Measurements, eh? That’s a warning flag. Or is it? According to news sources, Ms. Debbie Dickinson, assuming the ad to be innocuous (?!?!) submits her resume, photo and measurements only to receive this reply.> As this is posted in the “adult gigs” section, in addition to the legal work, you would be required to have sexual interaction with me and my partner, sometimes together sometimes separate. This part of the job would require sexy dressing and flirtatious interaction with me and my partner, as well as sexual interaction. You will have to be comfortable doing this with us. If you think you’re comfortable so far, please let me know and we can proceed with the process…
Lastly, we’ve actually hired a couple of girls in the past for this position. But they have not been able to handle the sexual aspect of the job later. We have to be sure you’re comfortable with that aspect, because I don’t want you to do anything that you’re not comfortable with. So since that time, we’ve decided that as part of the interview process you’ll be required to perform for us sexually (i didn’t do this before with the other girls i hired, now i think i have to because they couldn’t handle it). Because that aspect is an integral part of the job, I think it’s necessary to see if you can do that, because it’ll predict future behavior of you being able to handle it when you have the job.
Well, Ms. Dickinson forwards a copy of this email to the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, where a couple of days ago, they charged Mr. Chowan with misconduct. And it turns out Mr. Chowan may have also been negligent in the immigration cases of some of his desi clients. Read the entire transcript of the complaints against Mr. Chowan here.
Now I know what you guys are thinking, she was perusing the ‘Adult Gigs’ section, what did she expect? But I tend to see a lot of folks cross-post across categories in Craigslist. And while ‘Adult Gigs’ has its share of suspect ads, I can see the overall tone of this particular one fooling some folks into thinking it’s legit. Whaddya folks say? And let’s face it, whether or not he was forthcoming by posting in ‘Adult Gigs,’ this ad does no credit to the profession. On an aside, I wonder how many women applied for this job but didn’t think to report it? In this economy, there had to be plenty of applicants for a job paying 50 to 70K as advertised.
Lessons learned? Don’t jeopardize people’s immigration status by messing with their paperwork. Wait, no, that’s not it. Lessons learned? You tell me. Leave your best lawyer joke in the comment section. Bonus points for haiku and limericks.