Paralegal now jury coordinator
Paralegals miss out on 15% Christmas bonus

Firm Discovers 'Associate' Is Not a Lawyer

Despite many "red flags," it took Anderson Kill & Olick almost three years to find out this 'associate' was a paralegal!

"While Brian T. Valery 's legal education is in question, he could likely graduate with honors from the Frank Abagnale Jr. school of deceit.

"Valery is under fire for his pro hac vice appearance in a 2005 complex litigation case heard in Stamford, Conn. His motion to appear, which went unopposed, was based on his affidavit stating he was an attorney in good standing at the New York City firm of Anderson Kill & Olick. He also claimed to be a member of the New York Bar with no history of discipline.

"As it turns out, Valery not only isn't a member of the Bar, there's no record that he ever applied or sat for the bar exam in New York or even set foot in a Fordham Law School classroom, which he told Anderson Kill partners he was doing at night to advance his career beyond that of a paralegal, Connecticut grievance officials say.

"Abagnale, a notorious con artist on whom the 2002 movie 'Catch Me If You Can' is based, was convicted of passing bad checks worth millions of dollars while working in the Louisiana attorney general's office. He got that job thanks in part to a forged Harvard Law School transcript.

"In an apparently similar display of dupery, Valery, after working at Anderson Kill since 1996, told the firm in 2004 he had passed the New York Bar. Partners at the 132-lawyer firm have conceded to Connecticut grievance authorities that they regrettably took Valery at his word."

I think Anderson Kill would be wise to update its Vault [PDF] listing, particularly those comments from associates about why they like this firm. It has "since modified our procedures for doing...admissions checks to prevent this from happening again."

UPDATE: Note a somewhat different take on this story here: "Paralegal Dupes a Law Firm." Of course, the paralegal was quite wrong to claim lawyer credentials (& actually 'practice law'), but I thought law firms would have been smart enough to check.

What do you think?

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