Legal Ethics

Lawyer should be disbarred for resumé lies, including Olympic claim, discipline board says

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Resume inspection.

A Michigan lawyer should be disbarred for alleged online and resumé lies about his law firm, law licenses, work history and participation on a U.S. Olympic team, according to the state attorney discipline board.

Lawyer Ali Zaidi made misrepresentations that “run the gamut from outlandish and extravagant to what might be termed modifications of his record inspired by some actual events,” according to the Jan. 11 opinion (PDF) by the discipline board. The Legal Profession Blog has highlights from the opinion affirming a hearing panel’s order of disbarment.

In resumé misrepresentations connected to actual events, Zaidi extended the time of his employment or invented a few fictional summer associate positions at law firms for which he worked at other times, the opinion said. He was employed for short periods by law firms in Connecticut and Missouri, and then falsely claimed that he was admitted to practice in those states, according to the opinion.

Zaidi also falsely claimed that he was on the U.S. field hockey squad that competed in the 1996 Olympics and that he has a master of liberal arts from Harvard. In addition, he maintained a website that represented that his law firm, Great Lakes Legal Group, was associated with multiple lawyers at several locations around the country. Zaidi admitted to disciplinary authorities, however, that the law firm was just an “idea that is still in progress.”

Zaidi had sought to continue his misconduct hearing, but his request was denied. At first he claimed he could not be there because of a birthday party for his children, and then because of an inability to obtain child care. The hearing continued in his absence. He later said in a petition for review that he missed the hearing because his daughter was recovering from surgery on her eye. The discipline board upheld the decision to conduct the hearing as scheduled.

Zaidi did appear at his sanctions hearing, where he did not present evidence that could be viewed as mitigating, the discipline board said. Zaidi said during the hearing that he made misrepresentations because he was “scared nobody would hire me if they realized why I was moving around so much. And I wanted to create this impression of longevity and create this impression of consistency of my movements.”

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