CBA Record October 2018


forced our client into prostitution when she was just 19 years old. While she was trafficked, she survived physical violence, mental manipulation, coerced drug use, threats, and rape. In particular, her second pimp introduced her to crack cocaine so that she would be forced to prostitute for him to feed her drug addiction. She was eventually able to escape her traffickers’ control and years later came to Illinois, but the drug addiction, housing instability, criminal record, and seeping trauma had lasting effects on her. She had few, if any, meaningful options to survive and productively engage in society. As a result, and although she did not want to sell sex on the streets, she did so for survival and obtained several criminal convictions for prostitution in Illinois years after she fled her traffickers. Our client spent much of her adult life healing from, and trying to forget, the experiences that led to a criminal record. Her dream was to help other people by working as a counselor or social worker. But her criminal record was a barrier that put this dream out of reach. Preparing the petition to vacate these convictions was difficult on our client (and wasn’t easy for us either). The impact of our client’s trauma was strong, and bringing back the memories of being trafficked was intensely difficult for our client, who often responded with anger, sadness and blaming herself for what happened to her. We tried to be as supportive and empathetic as possible. We also faced a difficult legal chal- lenge in vacating the convictions. Illinois law allows prostitution convictions to be vacated if the crime was “a result of having been” a victim of sex trafficking. Our case presented a novel issue in Cook County: Can a survivor of sex trafficking be eligible for vacatur of prostitution convictions that were obtained over a decade after she fled her trafficker? We argued that although our client had not been under a trafficker’s control at the time she obtained her prostitution convictions, her traffickers’ lasting impact of trauma, forced drug use, and instabil-

Standing Up Against Hate By Greg Schweizer

my client’s resolve to obtain justice, to set an example for her community, and to use the law to publicly demonstrate that hate has no place in Cook County drive both of us to push her case forward. I am not unusual. Many young associ- ates are contributing their time and talent to pro bono matters every day. On a prac- tical level, my pro bono work has helped me to develop new skills and have in-depth client interactions that are not typical for a young associate who otherwise spends his day doing complex commercial litigation. On a deeper level, I believe that all lawyers have a responsibility to use their training to provide a public service and advance the common good.

I entered private practice in the fall of 2016, and as I read about the dramatic increase in hate crime in Cook County and nationwide, I knew it was time to get to work. As a gay man, I understand how members of the LGBTQ community and other underrepresented and minority groups have often endured harassment, hatred, and violence simply because of who they are. And as a lawyer, I know there are laws in place to help make hate crime victims whole and deter future breaches of the societal norms many of us take for granted. Using those laws to stand up against bigotry is an important way to police the values of civilized society, to pro- tect the most vulnerable among us, and to show the public the ways in which our legal system can work the way it is supposed to. In early 2017, I served as co-counsel to a gay man who was harassed and assaulted by his neighbors because of his sexual orientation. I met with the client, conducted witness interviews, and worked with the Assistant State’s Attorney to pre- pare the client to testify in the resulting hate crime case. I counseled the client and his family throughout the course of an emotional bench trial that resulted in a misdemeanor—but not a hate crime— conviction. The case taught me how hard it can be to get the criminal justice system to take hate crime charges seriously, and how educating police officers, prosecutors, and the court about the contours of both the law and the realities of discrimination is critical to the effective enforcement of hate crime laws. Soon thereafter, I signed up for another hate crime case. I now represent a Mexican- American woman who was physically attacked for no reason other than her national heritage. After counseling her during the criminal court process—which, again, did not result in a hate crime con- viction—we are now pursuing a civil hate crime claim against her assailant. The work is hard and emotional for all involved, but

Greg Schweizer is an associate at Eimer Stahl LLP. His practice includes representa- tions in complex commercial and contract litigation, antitrust disputes, and internal investigations. A New Beginning By George Haines and Lisa Holl Chang For years, our client was a victim of sex trafficking, and many years after escaping, she still struggles at times with the lasting effects of being forced into prostitution. In July 2018, working with the Chicago Alli- ance Against Sexual Exploitation through Mayer Brown LLP’s pro bono program, we were able to successfully vacate a number of criminal prostitution convictions from our client’s record, helping her take another step towards rebuilding her life. Our client was sex trafficked by two men in California in the 1980s and 1990s. Her pimps were merciless. Her first pimp


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