Having recently dissed Yahoo!’s event planners, fairness requires mention of a story I read in the Wall Street Journal Law Blog, which picked it up from the Legal Profession Blog. This past spring Illinois solo attorney Samir Chowhan advertised for secretarial help for himself and another solo on Craigslist–in the Adult Gigs section:
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.
A woman responding to the ad received an email from Chowhan that spelled out those “additional duties:”
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.
He goes on to explain the interview process:
Lastly, we’ve 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’re comfortable with that aspect, because I don’t want you to do anything that you’re not comfortable with. So since that time, we’ve decided that as part of the interview process you’ll be required to perform for us sexually (i didn’t do this before with the other girls i hired, now i think i have to because they couldn’t handle it). Because that aspect is an integral part of the job, I think it’s necessary to see if you can do that, because it’ll predict future behavior of you being able to handle it when you have the job.
Illinois’s attorney disciplinary authority is investigating. After first denying responsibility Chowhan admitted he posted the ad and sent the email, claiming he “was just screwing around, just curious to know if anyone would respond. Unfortunately, someone did.” He no longer practices law, a decision he says was not related to this exercise in curiosity. That’s good, because I expect he’ll lose his license to practice.