I find stories like this to be incredible. As in, not credible. As in, there’s something more to the story – there must be.
How could Dennis O’Riordan lie about his resume and get away with it? Among lawyers, who are paid to be suspicious? It takes mere seconds to check a person’s registration with the New York Bar (I was duly sworn in in 2008; I had to work quite hard to get there, even if I was certified for admission in ’05). Having Harvard send over transcripts also takes only a few seconds. Both these firms must have at least the same vetting process for partners that they do for associates.
Somebody had to know, and to know early. A lawyer’s job is often to distinguish truth from deception. We have our instincts, but typically, we use neither magic nor psychological tricks – just experience looking at documents critically and asking for evidence. Firms live and die by handling this process properly. So, someone at the firms knew, right from the beginning – either they knew and said nothing – or they spoke up, and someone else either didn’t care. So what is really going on?
The lawyer was only found out after apparently using his fabricated CV to apply for a job at an unnamed barristers’ chambers in November last year.
More likely, the “unnamed barrister” did precisely the same steps that these major, reputable firms did – then went further after finding discrepancies, and deemed that this offense simply could not be tolerated. That barrister was willing to take a chance of a lawsuit – because truth is sometimes more important.
Dear Clients: If you ever are uncertain about your counselors, ask them to validate their credentials. It’s your right to do so before you pay them significant money. Most lawyers post their diplomas and certificates on their office wall – take a peak. Those credentials really don’t tell you much about the quality of your counsel’s skills and experience as they relate to your needs – but they do set a minimum baseline. ”Trust, and verify.”
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