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Paralegal Dupes a Law Firm

This post from the Estrin Report blog highlights this recent article, Anderson Kill Discovers "Associate" Is Not A Lawyer (, 11/20/06). According to the article, Brian Valery had worked as a paralegal at Anderson since 1996 and told his employers that he was attending Fordham Law's night program to advance his career. In 2004, Valery told the firm that he'd passed the Bar, and apparently, he was hired on as an associate. It wasn't until 2005, when Valery moved for pro hac vice admission in Connecticut, representing that he was a member in good standing of the New York Bar, that grievance officials caught on to his deception and informed the firm.

Apparently, Anderson has policies in place to check the status of newly admitted attorneys. But Valery slipped under the radar because of his ongoing employment relationship with the firm. In that regard, it's not hard to feel sorry for Anderson Kill. The firm trusted a longtime employee and took him at his word. Now, the firm faces the embarrassment of informing clients that Valery wasn't really an attorney as well as potential repercussions (such as increased premiums) from its legal malpractice carrier. We read so much about the unreasonableness of large firms -- how they don't care about employee morale or act in their best interest. Here's a firm that apparently did care enough about an employee to support him in his effort to become an attorney -- and look at the outcome. 

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on November 21, 2006 at 04:06 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)


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