Washington, Oct. 28: Samir Chowhan, a Chicago lawyer of South Asian origin, is facing disciplinary action from the Illinois state Attorney Registration Commission for attempting to hire a legal assistant, part of whose job would have been to have sexual interaction with me and my partner, sometimes together sometimes separate.
Chowhans now-notorious search for an employee-cum-sexual partner began with an innocuous job posting on a website with the title, Loop lawyers hiring secretary/legal assistant.
The text of his post read: 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. Generous annual salary and benefits will be provided, including medical, dental, life, disability, 401(k) etc. If interested, please send current resume and a few pictures along with a description of your physical features, including measurements. We look forward to meeting you.
Although the penultimate line in the post about physical features and measurements should have alerted those who read it, among the respondents was one Chicago resident, Debbi Dickinson.
She said in her complaint, now before the commission which also disciplines lawyers, that she believed the odd references were because the law firm was seeking an attractive secretary.
Therefore, Dickinson included a photograph, details of her height, clothing size and measurements in her application.
The response she received from Chowhan stunned her. Debbi, the lawyer wrote in a detailed and lengthy email: Thank you for your interest in the job. I just wanted to give you some more info about the job and see if you are still interested in interviewing... Your duties will include the general secretarial work and legal work...
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 are comfortable so far, please let me know and we can proceed with the process.
Chowhan promised Dickinson an annual salary of $50,000 to $75,000 plus benefits.
He also pointed out that his initial posting was in the adult gigs section of the Craigslist website, a network of online communities featuring free online classified advertisements.
That, too, should have alerted Dickinson that this was not a regular job posting. To his credit, Chowhan made it clear to the employment seeker that we have 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 are comfortable with that aspect.
Therefore, he insisted that as part of the interview process you will be required to perform for us sexually making it plain that I didnt do this before with the other girls I hired, now I think I have to because they couldnt handle it.
Chowhan said the sexual activity is an integral part of the job and that it will predict future behaviour of you being able to handle it when you have the job.
Rattled by the reply she received, Dickinson approached the commission, which has now concluded that the lawyers conduct tends to defeat the administration of justice or bring the courts or legal profession into disrepute.
Although the commission has scheduled a hearing, Chowhan has sensed that this is the end of the road for him in the legal profession.
Initially, he denied posting the advertisement, but has since admitted to his conduct in a sworn affidavit to the commission.
He has also wound up his practice in Chicago and perhaps fearing grave consequences, left Illinois to live in Indiana, according to reports in the local media.