The Blog Formerly Known As Practical Paralegalism
Or If There’s Such a Thing as Pre-Employment Sexual Harassment, This Is It
My readers know I love an entertaining Craigslist want ad for a legal staffer, but honestly, I never thought to check under “Adult Gigs”. However, The Legal Profession Blog reports that section is where one Chicago-based attorney, Samir Chowhan, allegedly posted an ad for a legal assistant/secretary – who was expected to do a whole lot more than just word-process and schedule depositions.
If the section of the Craigslist classifieds where the ad was posted wasn’t warning enough, maybe the request for a “current resume and a few pictures along with a description of your physical features, including measurements” should have raised the hackles of potential applicants.
But one determined applicant, having convinced herself that this firm was simply seeking a really pretty secretary, sent the requested resume and photo, only to receive an email response from “Samir” which dangles an outstanding compensation package (“the range will be from $50,000 to $75,000”) but then leaves no doubt that the position includes some serious quid pro quo sexual harassment right off the bat.
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.
Worse, he goes on to explain that the position requires an audition (like a keyboarding test isn’t bad enough).
So then “Samir” chirpily concludes his email with, “If you’re still okay with everything, let me know what you’re availability is and we can figure out a time for you to come in and interview.” (The grammatical error is his.)
The applicant was so not okay with everything that she reported him to the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission. You GO, girl!
According to the Bar complaint, Chowhan initially tried the flimsy “it wasn’t me” defense, and earned himself not only a charge of “bringing disrepute to the legal profession” but also a charge of filing a false statement. Additional allegations of negligence in the complaint give the impression that he isn’t an especially talented immigration attorney either.
Is Chowhan ashamed of his treatment of the poor applicant and totally embarrassed about being busted? Not according to The Wall Street Journal’s Law Blog:
We got in touch with Chowhan on Thursday afternoon and sure enough, he copped to it. “I did do that,” he said. Chowhan explained that he was winding up his immigration practice, and “curiosity” got the better of him. “I wasn’t intending to hire anyone,” he added. “I was just screwing around, just curious to know if anyone would respond. Unfortunately, someone did.”
Chowhan says he’s now living in Indiana, is unemployed, and has no intention of practicing law ever again. “I came to that decision months before this happened, though.” At this point, he told us, he’s looking forward to putting it behind him. “I’ll take the punishment.”
Somehow, I don’t think that even disbarment is punishment enough for this jerk. He better hope that he doesn’t encounter the applicant’s significant other or her father in a dark alley…
Practical Paralegalism Tips Its Hat to Legal Blog Watch