Scott Erwin will soon begin serving a bar imposed 15 month suspension for conduct stemming from a bartering agreement in which the Illinois attorney accepted lap-dances from his exotic dancer client in exchange for a reduction of legal fees.
In the United States, bartering legal fees for other lawful services is a legitimate way to satisfy an account. However, in Erwin’s case, his client had made accusations with local authorities that he inappropriately touched her during the exchange.
Authorities were not satisfied with the evidence to lay a charge against the lawyer. The Illinois bar then conducted an investigation which led to Erwin’s suspension.
Erwin’s matter can be an excellent reminder to professionals everywhere that, although an act or agreement may technically be legal, it might be in your best interest to use some common sense when making such agreements.