Attorney Carlos A. Gamiño practices criminal defense law and divorce law in Milwaukee, Waukesha and the surrounding areas.
It’s not too often that we see attorneys in trouble for breaking the law – after all, it’s our jobs to know precisely what the laws are and how they affect everyday citizens. However, there have been more than a few recent cases of lawyers having to answer for their actions in front of a disciplinary board.
As a criminal defense lawyer in Milwaukee, there’s very little that surprises me. When I stumbled on a story about an attorney in Minnesota having sex with his client, though, the details left me shaking my head.
Thomas P. Lowe, a 58-year-old divorce lawyer from Eagan, Minnesota, began an affair with a client he was representing. According to court documents, the affair lasted for six months – and then Lowe broke things off because he wanted to save his own marriage. The woman involved then made a suicide attempt, and while she was in the hospital, she disclosed their affair.
The real kicker, though?
Lowe was billing the woman for the times they spent being intimate. He was logging those hours as “meetings” and “preparing forms.”
It’s one thing for a lawyer to have sex with a client, which isn’t allowed in the first place. It’s another when he’s married… and it’s another scenario entirely when the lawyer is billing the client for having sex with her in the backseat of a car (yes, really).
Lowe was suspended indefinitely for his conduct, and it probably wasn’t beneficial to him that he had prior disciplinary action; a little more than a decade ago, he purchased cocaine from a client and was caught.
Did his client deserve that kind of treatment? Certainly not. He billed her $900 for the time that she was emotionally and physically involved with him – not to mention the hourly rates he was charging her to work on her case. Every aspect of what happened is unfortunate, from start to finish.
Life isn’t about taking advantage of other people. It’s about making other people’s lives better, and that unfailingly makes our own lives better.