BigLaw lawyer's 'jolly impressive' resume lied about education at Harvard and Oxford

A London lawyer who was a partner and then a special consultant at Paul Hastings has been suspended from practice for three years for inflating his credentials on his resume, websites and professional profiles.

D. Thomas O’Riordan—also known as Dennis O’Riordan—had claimed to have degrees from Oxford and Harvard and membership in the New York and Irish bars. “All jolly impressive,” Roll on Friday says, “but, unfortunately, all lies.” Roll on Friday broke the story, which was also covered by the Lawyer, the Careerist, Above the Law, the Evening Standard, the Telegraph and the Daily Mail.

O’Riordan did study law—at the University of East Anglia—and he was admitted to the bar. He is no longer working at Paul Hastings.

Roll on Friday said O’Riordan had “a high-powered career” before he was shown the door, while the Lawyer says he was well-liked and “a key figure in London.” Early in his career, he was a senior in-house lawyer for several overseas banks. He joined Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft in 2008 to launch its financial regulatory group, and was among seven partners and 19 lawyers who jumped from the firm to Paul Hastings in 2009,. He became a special consultant focusing on regulatory work at Paul Hastings last year because he wanted to work part-time.

The deception was discovered when O’Riordan applied for a new job, the story says.

Paul Hastings gave this statement to Above the Law: “We learned last Wednesday that a consultant to the London office, Tom O’Riordan, has, in the past, exaggerated his academic qualifications. Mr. O’Riordan is a barrister and his professional body, the Bar Standards Board, has successfully brought disciplinary proceedings against him. Mr. O’ Riordan left the firm last Wednesday with immediate effect.”

The Careerist had these thoughts on why the deception succeeded: “I think after he lied successfully the first time, he felt he was on a roll. The higher up you go on the corporate ladder, the less you’re subject to scrutiny. Only the little people—paralegals, law students, and junior associates—are subject to school transcript checks and cavity searches.

“But let me give you another theory why I think he passed so smoothly: He probably fit the part beautifully. Being a white, middle-aged male who looks like he could have just stepped off the golf course gives you instant credibility. In any endeavor.”

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