Ex-Paul Hastings Partner Disbarred Over Fake Credentials
A former Paul Hastings partner suspended from the practice of law last fall after he was found to have embellished his résumé with a slew of phony accomplishments has been disbarred, a U.K. regulatory body announced Wednesday.
Dennis Thomas O'Riordan, a former Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft regulatory partner who joined Paul Hastings in 2009, claimed a batch of bogus credentials that included bar admission in New York, two bachelor's degrees and a doctorate from Oxford University, a master's degree from Harvard University, and a designation as an Eldon Scholar at Oxford Law, according to the United Kingdom's Bar Standards Board.
The board had appealed a separate disciplinary tribunal's September decision to suspend O'Riordan's law license for three years, arguing to the Visitors to the Inns of Court that a harsher sentence was warranted in light of new evidence that had been uncovered about his deceptions. The appeal was heard Monday, and the sentence was increased to a disbarment.
Sara Down, head of professional conduct at the Bar Standards Board, said in a statement that "the BSB felt strongly that the sentence of suspension did not go far enough and that allowing Mr. O'Riordan to return to [practice] would, given the extent of his dishonesty, have diminished public confidence in the profession and discredited the bar."
A Paul Hastings spokeswoman said Wednesday the firm "has nothing to discuss regarding this matter." According to The Am Law Daily's previous reports, O'Riordan left the Paul Hastings partnership in 2012 to work as a barrister and consult with Paul Hastings on a part-time basis. The firm severed all ties to him in October.
The revelations about O'Riordan's fakery surfaced when he submitted his résumé to an unnamed U.K. law firm in November 2012.
Before rejoining Cadwalader in 2008, O'Riordan worked as a barrister with Quadrant Chambers and 4-5 Gray's Inn Square and held various in-house legal roles with banks including Nomura, Sumitomo Finance International and Republic National Bank of New York, which HSBC acquired in 1999.
As for O'Riordan's actual credentials, The Am Law Daily previously reported that he became a member of the Bar of England and Wales in 1993, studied law at the University of East Anglia—though he did not, as he claimed, receive first-class honors there—and took his bar finals at Inns of Court School of Law.
O'Riordan could not immediately be located for comment Wednesday evening. The Bar Standards Board noted in its release that O'Riordan did not dispute that the credentials were false.