Illinois law firm founder faces suspension for feigning capital injection

The skyline is seen in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., October 19, 2017. REUTERS/John Gress

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(Reuters) – Illinois officials this week recommended a five-month suspension for a lawyer who admitted lying and fabricating documents to convince partners he had invested tens of thousands of dollars in the launch of their business.

Chicago attorney James Rollins tricked his colleagues into thinking he paid over $81,000 for his promised $100,000 capital contribution to Sinars Rollins LLC when he actually paid only $18,000, a hearing panel of the Illinois Attorneys’ Record and Disciplinary Commission said Thursday.

Rollins admitted the deception when his fellow partners confronted him in 2017, the hearing panel heard. His confession, along with his willingness to take responsibility, deserved a shorter suspension than an ARDC prosecutor had recommended, he added.

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“In observing and hearing his testimony, we found that his regret was deep and sincere,” the council said.

Rollins, represented by Samuel Manella, a professor of business law at DePaul University Driehaus College of Business, told the board that when the misconduct occurred, he hadn’t been paid for eight or nine months and “didn’t was just getting out of it, trying to save her home and marriage and provide for her then-infant children.”

Rollins and Manella did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Rollins, according to his LinkedIn profile, left the firm, now known as Sinars Slowikowski Tomaska, in 2019. He is now a partner at Chicago-based Sullivan & Associates.

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David Thomas

Thomson Reuters

David Thomas reports on legal activity, including law firm strategy, hiring, mergers and litigation. He is based in Chicago. He can be reached at d.thomas@thomsonreuters.com and on Twitter @DaveThomas5150.

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