Laid-Off DLA Lawyer Facing Sanctions for Not Repaying… B-School Loans

by lawshucks on July 29, 2010

Olufemi Nicol (Right)

We’re going to have to set up a separate department for the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission.

The same bar authorities that brought us such wonders as Loren Elliotte Friedman (flunked out of med school, lied on law school and BigLaw applications, went to B school), Mark Maciasz (moonlighting H&K lawyer), and most-recently Christian Kline (contract lawyer who overbilled the hell out of Mayer Brown), now brings us a new tale of lawyerly woe.

Today’s (alleged) miscreant is Olufemi F. Nicol (HT: Legal Profession Blog).

His tale of woe, after the jump.

Things started off well enough for Nicol.  He got his law degree from Chicago in 1994.  He stayed local, spending three years at Ross & Hardies (which was acquired by McGuire Woods in 1993) then moved across town to Schiff Hardin.  From 2000-06 he had a number of non-legal jobs.

For some reason, Nicol decided to return to Illinois in 05 and started working on his MBA at Chicago in June.  He borrowed a little under $80k to pay for school, which was disbursed in a number of installments from June 05 through March 06, when he stopped attending.

Almost a year later, in April 07, he took a job at DLA Piper in Chicago, working in the corporate and securities group.  Interestingly, his starting salary was “only” $190,000.  We don’t know what the associate scale in Chicago was back then, but it definitely seems he was put back several class years (remember, he was a 94 grad).

Meanwhile, the forbearances expired, although he did get one extension.  Conveniently, he got a raise to $220,000 at the same time the payments started coming due in January 08.

That was short-lived, however.  Olufemi Nicol was among the 180 people (80 lawyers, 100 staff) laid off by DLA Piper in February 09 – part of the Valentine’s Day massacre and amid one of the worst weeks in law-firm layoff history.

At that point, Nicol had already ignored the lenders’ collection efforts for 14 months.

Three months later, the lenders referred the matter to the Illinois disciplinary authorities who began an investigation.

He treated that investigation just like the debt-collection efforts – by not responding at all, even to a subpoena.

Now, he’s facing sanctions.  The investigator alleges Nicol enaged in the following malpractice:

  1. failure to respond to a lawful demand for information from the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission in violation of Rule 8.1(a)(2) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct;
  2. conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice in violation of Rule 8.4(a)(5) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct; and
  3. conduct which tends to defeat the administration of justice or to bring the courts or the legal profession into disrepute in violation of Supreme Court Rule 770.

That picture of him above is from a pro bono project he was involved with at DLA Piper involving Addis Ababa schools.

We’ll keep you posted on further updates.

If you know anything about him, please share in the comments!

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