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Law firm partner fools everyone with fake qualifications

4 November 2013

When inviting someone to be your business partner, it is vital that you are certain you can trust them. A recent case in London highlights the importance of the background check, after it was revealed a prominent barrister had risen to the top despite falsifying his academic achievements.

Dubbed a Walter Mitty figure in the media, Tom Riordan worked as a partner at international law firm Paul Hastings for three years before moving to a consultancy role. He had previously represented several prominent banking institutions around the world, as well as a number of firms in London.

While he is known to have passed the bar at the Inns of Court School of Law, from this point onwards it appears his achievements were entirely fictional, including places at the Irish and New York Bar and recognition from Harvard and Oxford University.

His deception was discovered after an application to a different London chambers aroused suspicion, and background checks revealed all was not as it seemed. The 51-year-old has now been suspended for three years by the Bar Standards Board, and Paul Hastings has severed all ties with him.

How well do you know your partner?

While this is quite an extreme and certainly far outside the norm, it does highlight the need to be careful about who you go into business with.

Where law firms are concerned, there are usually more than two partners in the partnership and the loss of one will not have too adverse an effect.

However, it is not hard to imagine a scenario involving you and just one other partner. If a similar surprise were to be revealed in this case, the fall out could be catastrophic.

So, ask yourself how well you really know the person you are contemplating going into business with, and do a little research to make sure their credentials add up. This could be to your benefit in the long run.

Ask Ralli Partnership Law

If you are considering entering a partnership and would like advice on the best way to approach this process, Ralli Partnership Law are experts in the field.

In addition, you can contact us if you are already in partnership and find yourself in a position where you need to remove or suspend a partner, we can provide legal advice on the most efficient and effective way to achieve this.

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