The complaint has been investigated and
resolved to the customer's satisfaction
Erwin Martinkus & Coleunethical attorneys

This review was posted by
a verified customer
Verified customer

I worked for Erwin Martinkus & Cole.

(1) They started me as an employee and then after 7 months switched me purportedly to an independent contractor under an unwritten bizarre compensation system. The Form 1099 set forth all of the money I brought in but in reality the unwritten system caused the law firm to take 50% off the top and then any partner who knew the client before me would get 10-20%. But I was expected to pay self empl0yment tax on the entire amount. I was not allowed to take non-firm jobs. Okay, I know I was not an independent contractor. But no one would listen to me at the time. I even hired a CPA to help me.

(2) Law Firm Partner Lynne Feldman demanded that I engage in the same activity that she did. That was - taking $35-$40 from primarily non-English speaking immigration clients. She told the clients (in a written contract) that the amount was a misc amount for postage and copying! Bologna. She always charged the clients separately for that amount anyway. And most clients did not speak English and so it worked out sell for Lynne Feldman.

In actuality, Lynne Feldman put the amount in an internal law firm account and used the money (tax free) for books and trips. Attorney Feldman actually demanded that I participate in the scheme. I told her no. She told me that she would not let me use her legal resources because I *could* get my own if I only charged the clients the extra money and started an internal, tax-free account.

I went straight to the senior partner and told him that I thought the practice was just plain unethical and illegal. Shortly there after the partners had some meetings with my secretary. Then, I basically got set up, My secretary knew I took an anti-anxiety drug (Buspar). My secretary knew money was tight for e. She said she no longer needed the RX and she offered it to me for free. I accepted.

Shortly thereafter, the firm asked me to leave.

I could not get unemployment insurance (because the firm claimed I was an independent contractor). I had a big tax lien for unpaid self employment taxes because the amount the firm claimed I received (on the 1099) was only a fraction of what I actually received. The other attorneys that received parts of my receipts apparently were not paying taxes on the amounts.

It took 7 years for me to have the IRS write a letter ruling in my favor and against Erwin, Martinkus law firm. The IRS warned the law firm to stop the practice of treating associate attorneys as employees and paying in some complicated and unwritten compensation plan. The IRS told the law firm (specifically one of its partners, Mike Brown, JD, CPA to file a W2. It was not done. In addition, the law firm still has not contributed to my social security account. Meanwhile, I am still fighting about the tax lien (that was based on self employment taxes that I never actually owed.

I complained about Mike Brown, JD, CPA when I was going through federal security clearance because Attorney Brown lied about me to the IRS. Attorney Mike Brown lied to the IRS when he stated that I was hired as a paralegal! That statement was unethical because it was meant to deceive the IRS.

Lynne Feldman continued to harass me after I left the law firm. I started my own law firm (as best I could) and took many of my old firm clients. The Erwin Martinkus firm kept charging me cash money for client files and for depositions that I took for other partner's cases (huh? why?) That was whack of Partner Jim Martinkus to do that to me. It was all very abusive.

Little ole me complained about the Erwin Martinkus law firm and Lynne Feldman to the Illinois Attorney and Registration Commission (IARDC). The next thing that I knew there was *no* investigation against Lynne Feldman or the Erwin Martinkus law firm. rather, the powers were after me. And their star witness against me was Lynne Feldman.

As luck would have it, ever time any of my clients had a problem or question, Lynne Feldman was right there to tell the client what she thought of me! Attorney Feldman was the primary witness against me. And my own defense attorney (William Moran, Esq from Springfield) would not let me articulate any defense or even question Attorney Lynne Feldman about what motivation she would have in testifying against me.

I get suspended from the practice of law because I could not handle the rigors of the private sole proprietorship law firm that was thrust into me after being fired penniless. I underwent 3 unnecessary and painful orthopedic surgeries from Carle Clinic orthopedic surgeon Chris Dangles, MD. I tried very hard to continue my law practice while injured because I did not want to disappoint my clients. In fact, some clients were very disappointed (like Martha Gonzales). Ms. Gonzales demanded to my mom that she must see me the evening after the surgery, The surgery was failing and so was I. Poor Ms Gonzales did not understand. I was not about making excuses to her. SHe deserved my attention and I let her down,

Ultimately, I was suspended from the practice of law because I could not keep up with the practice of law. The ARDC stated that I could apply for re-instatement in January 2007.

However, I am not able to get a "real job" and that bothyers my attorney. Instead of a real job, I underwent my own treatment for invasive breast cancer (April 2006-June 2007) and now I am the primary care giver for my elderly dad who has Stage 4 colon cancer (met to liver). Dad has dementia and is incontinent. It is my job to clean him when necessary. I also feed him and drive him to all chemo and therapy appts.

I also work at my mom's family business in order to give her a break and to make enough money for health insurance. My new atty (to get the law license back) says that I need to show I am rehabilitated and fit to practice law. And, although I have shown no sign of depression or any other mental health issue since I stopped treating with the "bad doctor, " my new doctor (aka my advocate??) says that the fact I do not have a "real job" indicates that I am financially irresponsible.

Okay, meanwhile, attorneys like Lynne Feldman and Mike Brown have lied and manipulated the IRS and innocent clients. And my first disciplinary defense attorney would not let me make any defense or offer any explanation for my conduct. In addition, William Moran, III would not let me offer my evidence of volunteer work, pro bono work and the good legal work I had done before the period of depression. Lkegally, that was just plain bad advice.

I wanted to become a lawyer because I thought the profession was a venue for people to help others who are vulnerable and cannot help themselves. What happened to my profession?


The complaint has been investigated and resolved to the customer's satisfaction.

More Erwin Martinkus & Cole Complaints & Reviews


  • Jo
    jodigirl Feb 05, 2009

    check out

    "Attorneys Don't Advocate"

    0 Votes

Post your comment

    By clicking Submit you are agreeing to the Complaints Board’s Terms and Conditions



    Unhappy consumers gather online at and have already logged thousands of complaints.
    If you see dozens of complaints about a certain company on ComplaintsBoard, walk away.
    One of the largest consumer sites online. Posting here your concerns means good exposure for your issues.
    A consumer site aimed at exposing unethical companies and business practices.
    ComplaintsBoard is a good source for product and company gripes from especially dissatisfied people.
    You'll definitely get some directions on how customer service can best solve your problem.
    Do a little research on the seller. Visit consumer complaint websites like ComplaintsBoard.