Saturday, February 23, 2008

Change Of Lifestyle Merits Probation

The Illinois Review Board recently recommended a stayed suspension of two years and five years of probation with conditions for two instances of misconduct in the lawyer's personal life. The first involved an altercation between the attorney and his ex-wife's brother-in-law. The fight, which related to a custody order, took place outside of a bar where the two had been drinking heavily and watching the 2003 Super Bowl. The second incident involved his refusal to allow a former girlfriend access to her property, and also took place after the attorney had watched a football game. The former girlfriend obtained an order of protection as a result.

The attorney was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, but the expert testimony suggested that the conduct was a product of the attorney's consumption of alcohol. The review board found evidence of positive change in the attorney's life:

"In the spring of 2005, it appeared that Respondent had undertaken a profound re-examination of his life. He decided that he needed to change his lifestyle. He attended five sessions related to anger management. He joined the "Y" and began running and exercising. He began taking nutritional supplements and eating well. His friend was a gourmet cook, and Respondent became one. When he saw Dr. Jeckel [at the direction of the Administrator]in August 2005, he was still drinking two or three drinks once or twice a week. By the time he saw Dr. Artal in June 2006, he was drinking only occasionally. At the time of the hearing, Respondent had stopped drinking and had lost 110 pounds. He was working very hard at being physically fit."

The attorney has not practiced for several years and is teaching in a paralegal program: "evaluations by his students were positive." (Mike Frisch)

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