This was almost a one word blog post. The answer is no. But I’ve heard stories of this happening so often in the last year that I thought it was worth expanding on.
When you hire a lawyer (or doctor, psychologist, probably real estate agent, many other professions) to represent you in a case, there is a natural power imbalance. You might be attracted to them. You might like them. You might want to have sex with them or date them. That doesn’t change the fact that the relationship is imbalanced.
Illinois attorney ethical rules are crystal clear that a lawyer can not have any romantic encounters with a client. In fact, if you are representing a client and begin to feel romantic toward them, if you want to date them you have to terminate the attorney/client relationship before that can happen.
We were involved in one case where the client was attracted to her lawyer and began a sexual relationship with him. After a while she felt that he was manipulating her into sex with issues related to her case and personal things that he knew about her. Eventually she felt she couldn’t say no because she had no more money to hire a lawyer and she was worried he’d drop her if she turned him down.
In many situations the sex is taking place in the lawyer’s office. That’s a sure sign that they know what they are doing is wrong. And even if it’s a more proper venue, I assure you that the lawyer knows what they are doing is wrong.
If this happened to you, there are two things you should do:
- File a complaint with the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, iardc.org which is the disciplinary body for lawyers. If your attorney does this they should lose their license to practice law.
- Call us or another law firm to file a lawsuit against the attorney. There action is a version of sexual assault. It would not be a surprise to see a lawsuit result in a settlement or verdict in the six or seven figures depending on the case facts.
If this happened to you, we would be happy to talk to you about if for free and in confidence. There is never a fee on these cases unless we are successful. Please note that there are time limits for filing suit, so time is of the essence. If you’d like to speak with an experienced Illinois attorney, please call us at 312-346-5320.