A Minnesota lawyer had an affair with a client he was representing in a divorce, and he subsequently sent her a bill for the non-legal time they spent together. The state supreme court has now suspended the attorney’s law license indefinitely.
In August 2011, the client in question had a consultation with Attorney Thomas P. Lowe about filing for divorce. He agreed to take the case.
Things took an unprofessional turn from there, according to the Pioneer Press:
“During a phone call days later, Lowe asked about her sexual relationship with her husband, commented on her appearance and asked if she was interested in sex with him.
“The following month, they began an affair that lasted until March.”
Lowe apparently charged her for all services rendered:
“At various points, Lowe billed the woman for legal services on the dates of their sexual encounters, coding the time as meetings or drafting memos.”
Lowe ended the affair in March, and two days later he withdrew from the divorce case. The woman tried to commit suicide. While in the hospital, she revealed the affair with Lowe.
Minnesota’s Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility subsequently filed a complaint against the attorney, and, after first denying anything untoward happened, he admitted the allegations.
Earlier this month, the Minnesota Supreme Court pulled his license. He can apply for reinstatement in 15 months.
This wouldn’t be the first time a lawyer slept with a client, but it may be first when that activity became part of billable hours in an ongoing representation.