Failure to Disclose Information on the Bar Application May Come Back to Haunt You

In an Illinois Supreme Court order issued on March 14, 2014, lawyer, Reema Nicki Bajaj, consented to be suspended for three years and until further order for failing to disclose on her bar application her illegal work history as a prostitute.

According to the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, Bajaj advertised herself as “Nikita” on AdultFriendFinder.com, performed sex acts with two men who answered the ads (ultimately pleading guilty to prostitution for one of them), and gave false testimony in an ethics case in September 2012, where she denied that she ever exchanged sex for money. With regards to her bar application, Bajaj failed to disclose her “Nikita” alias in response to the question that asks if the respondent has ever been known by any other name, failed to disclose her employment as a prostitute in her employment history, and falsely answered “no” in response to a question about possible misconduct.

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Bajaj was admitted to practice law in the State of Illinois in 2010, but was active on AdultFriendFinder.com between 2005 and 2008. In 2012, she pleaded guilty to prostitution stemming from a 2010 encounter with a man she met on the website, bringing her past to the attention of the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission.

The Illinois Supreme Court sided with the Commission and agreed to suspend Bajaj from the practice of law for three years, placing great importance on a lawyer’s honesty. This decision serves as a cautionary tale to law students and lawyers alike: what you include (or fail to include) on your bar application matters and it may just come back to haunt you.

Read more about the case here, and see the disciplinary petition here.

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