A lawyer’s false resume draws discipline

Filed March 19:

The ARDC Review Board has recommended a sixty day suspension for a lawyer who falsified his employment history in an application for a government position. The lawyer listed a legal position on his resume that he never had. He also made false statements on his CMS 100, which is an application for a government position.

The ARDC even attacked the lawyer for using a euphemism in describing why he left a particular employer. The lawyer was apparently asked to leave but he said he left for “family reasons.” The lawyer challenged this evidence but he lost. The discussion follows:

“Respondent contends that the Hearing Board erred in considering certain evidence in aggravation of his misconduct. First, The Hearing Board in its report stated Respondent also lied on his CMS 100 by stating that he left his position at Gordon & Glickson, the first law firm for whom Respondent worked, for “family” reasons. In reality, Respondent admitted he was asked to leave because he was not meeting his billing requirements. The testimony regarding Respondent’s departure from Gordon & Glickson was offered as background information, and provided evidence supporting a theory that Respondent had a motive to lie on his CMS 100 application. Respondent contends that the Hearing Board’s consideration of this lie violated his due process rights. Respondent notes that the Administrator did not charge Respondent with misconduct arising out of this statement on his application.
Pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 753(b), the Administrator’s Complaint should provide notice to the attorney sufficient to “reasonably inform the attorney of the act of misconduct he is alleged to have committed.” See, In re Chandler, 161 Ill.2d 459,470, 641 N.E.2d 473 (1994). However, the Complaint does not need to have the same specificity of a criminal charge, and the Administrator is not required to plead every fact he intends to introduce in evidence. In re Harris, 93 Ill.2d 285, 292, 443 N.E.2d 557 (1982). Moreover, the Hearing Board may consider uncharged misconduct as an aggravating factor in determining if it is deemed similar in nature to the underlying charges and if it was proven by the evidence. See e.g., In re Storment, 203 Ill. 2d 378, 786 N.E.2d 963 (2002). This Board will not reverse the Hearing Board’s rulings on the admission of evidence unless this Board determines that the Hearing Board abused its discretion and that the abuse of discretion prejudiced the Respondent. See, e.g.In re Blank, 145 Ill. 2d 534, 553-554, 585 N.E.2d 105 (1991); In re Petrulis, 96 CH 546 (Review Bd., Dec. 9, 1999), approved and confirmed, No. M.R. 16556 (June 30, 2000). We decline to conclude that the Hearing Board abused its discretion in considering this evidence.”
In sum, false resume cases are easy cases to prosecute because the Administrator need only prove that the information on the resume or job application did not match the truth. The Administrator avoids dealing with motives and former clients who may or may not provide truthful testimony.  A false resume case is similar to a plagiarism case – and easy to prove.

Edward X. Clinton, Jr.


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