Bar disciplinary authorities in Illinois have accused a former lawyer at Chicago civil rights firm Loevy & Loevy of repeatedly lying about having stomach cancer, starting as an excuse for his results on the LSAT exam and, later, as a purported reason for delaying case deadlines.
The attorney, Vincenzo “Vince” Field, also allegedly made similar claims involving a supposedly ill son or foster son. In fact, bar authorities said, Field never had stomach cancer, nor did he have a son or foster child, let alone one with the same kind of stomach cancer he falsely claimed to have himself.
The Illinois attorney registration and disciplinary commission outlined the allegations against Field on Friday in an amended complaint, which followed an initial disciplinary complaint in March. The commission seeks discipline “as is warranted,” but doesn’t ask for a specific form of punishment.
Beyond the phony disease, Field is also accused of deceiving former colleagues at Loevy & Loevy, a 38-lawyer civil rights and plaintiffs firm focused on police misconduct and whistleblower cases, by allegedly making up the name and email of a purported expert witness. Field falsely told his colleagues he had retained the supposed expert under a flat-fee arrangement in connection with a specific case. But later, Field informed his colleagues that the fictional expert would have to back out because his daughter had been struck by a car and seriously injured while riding her bike, according to bar authorities.
On June 19, Field’s lawyer in the disciplinary case, Mary Robinson of Robinson Law Group in Chicago, filed an answer to the original disciplinary complaint. The answer admits many of Field’s false statements about the supposed illness but denies some claims that he intentionally misled others. His lawyer argued that while Field never had stomach cancer, he did suffer from depression, which played a role in his deception.
Field “was ashamed to admit that he suffered from mental illness,” his answer said.
Robinson did not immediately respond to a request for additional comment on Monday, and Field could not be reached. Jonathan Loevy, who founded Loevy & Loevy after an early stint at Sidley Austin, also did not respond to a request for comment. Field is no longer with the firm after joining it in 2012, according to a June 2018 federal court filing in one of Loevy & Loevy’s cases.
The amended disciplinary complaint details the lawyer’s education and career background starting in 1998, when he graduated from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. He took the LSAT for the first time in December 2005, scoring a 158 out of a possible 180. He later used that score while applying to the University of Chicago Law School, but he was denied admission for the 2006 entering class.
Field took the exam a second time in September 2006, this time scoring a 173. He again applied to the University of Chicago, including a personal statement and an addendum that sought to explain gaps in his academic record, according to the disciplinary complaint. Field wrote that he was diagnosed in 1999 with a form of stomach cancer, leiomyosarcoma, that required him to undergo several surgeries to remove tumors, radiation therapy and “countless” small procedures to deal with gastric bleeding.
He also cited the disease for his original LSAT results. Field wrote in his application that when he first took the exam, he had recently undergone a surgery and was continuing to receive radiation therapy. The law school admitted Field on his second application, but the bar complaint alleges that Field never had the disease or any of the medical procedures he described.
Field’s alleged misconduct didn’t stop after he graduated law school and was admitted to the bar in 2011, according his disciplinary case. He engaged in a similar pattern of deception at various points throughout his career, allegedly misleading opposing counsel and the courts in at least three civil rights cases. The disciplinary complaint also accuses Field of giving misleading answers during a disciplinary proceeding.
In one of the civil rights cases, which started in November 2014, Field allegedly sought an extension on an upcoming discovery deadline after claiming that he had missed time from work “dealing with a serious medical issue (having tumors removed from my abdomen and stomach).”
Another civil rights case that began in 2013 led to a different set of allegedly false statements from Field, according to the disciplinary complaint. Ahead of a July 30, 2016, deadline to complete depositions, Field on July 19 emailed the federal prosecutors on the other side of the case to say he was dealing with a family emergency that would stop him from deposing a defendant in the lawsuit.
In follow-up notes to opposing lawyers, Field wrote that he and his fiancee had fostered children for several years. He explained that a foster son of his suffered from leiomyosarcoma, the same type of stomach cancer Field had referenced in his law school application, and that the child needed to have surgery to remove a small part of his stomach and gastrointestinal tract.
About a month later, in August 2016, Field recanted his claims and admitted in a court filing that he had fabricated the family emergency story, though he also argued that he had never done such a thing before.