Lawyer Censured After Disbarred Wife Used His Office

By George Khoury, Esq. on January 19, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

If TV has taught us anything, when lawyers date or marry each other, it rarely doesn't entail sensational drama. One real life case out of Chicago is a stark, but surprisingly gentle, reminder of that fact.

Married attorneys maintained a joint practice, however, when one got disbarred as a result of embezzling over $2 million from clients, trouble for the other was not far behind. Though the name of the practice changed, the disbarred wife continued to maintain a presence in the office. According to the allegations, she met with clients and continued to do legal work, and even used the law firm's resources, including staff. And due to being permissive in his wife's unauthorized practice of law, the Illinois bar believed the husband had earned himself a public censure.

Married to the Law(yer)

There are likely many lawyers out there that sympathize with the censured attorney, Stanley Niew of Oakbrook. After all, what's a spouse to do? Given his wife's already massive legal problems, one can only imagine how stressful it must have been. But, surprisingly, he encouraged her to continue to deposit money into the firm's client accounts.

However, when you start to carefully examine the allegations, it really is a wonder that the husband has stayed clear of the criminal charges his wife found herself pleading guilty to, and has only faced censure. Up until he was notified by an investigator and asked to address his wife's continued presence in the law office, he did not take any action to prevent her from using the office. In addition to the censure for allowing his wife to use the law office, he was also censured for failing to supervise, and allowing his associate attorney to assist his wife in the office.

Lawyer-life Lost

For the disbarred wife, it is unlikely she will ever be able to return to the bar, given that she pled guilty to a multi-million dollar fraud, and will likely be facing several years behind bars. Sadly, for her husband, the dream (we presume he had) of running a legal practice with his spouse has been crushed.

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