A well-liked Paul Hastings partner has been forced to leave the firm after it was revealed by an unnamed chambers that he had lied about his education and bar qualifications.
Dennis O’Riordan, otherwise known as Tom O’Riordan, left the firm’s London office on Wednesday after an investigation by an unnamed chambers found he had lied about his education, saying he got first class degrees from Oxford University and did a masters at Harvard. He had also claimed to be a member of the New York Bar and Irish Bar.
The allegations, which surfaced on legal website RollOnFriday, have led to O’Riordan’s suspension for three years by the Bar Tribunals and Disciplinary Service (BTDS). Sources at the firm describe the circumstances surrounding his exit as “tragic” when contacted by The Lawyer this morning.
According to O’Riordan’s Paul Hastings profile, which has now been removed, he is admitted as a barrister in England and Wales, and studied law at the University of East Anglia before undertaking bar finals at the Inns of Court School of Law.
O’Riordan worked at Paul Hastings since 2009, when the firm made one of its most audacious moves in the City by snapping up 19 lawyers and seven partners – including O’Riordan – from the London office of Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft (14 January 2009). O’Riordan had joined Cadwalader the previous year (4 August 2008) after five years at the bar with Quadrant Chambers and 4-5 Gray’s Inn Square.
After joining Paul Hastings he became a key figure in London, where litigation and restructuring have provided lucrative revenue streams in the downturn. His experience at the bar and in senior in-house roles with banks such as Nomura, Republic National Bank of New York and Sumitomo also prepared him for the crisis.
However in 2012 he decided to step down from the partnership to return part-time to the bar, focusing on regulatory work for Paul Hastings in a special consultant role. It was allegedly an unnamed chambers that O’Riordan had sent a job application to which found out about his fabricated CV.
A spokesperson at Paul Hastings would not comment on the firm’s recruitment procedures. He said: “We learned yesterday that a consultant to the London office, Tom O’Riordan, has, in the past, exaggerated his academic qualifications. Mr O’Riordan is a barrister and his professional body, the Bar Standards Board, has successfully brought disciplinary proceedings against him. Mr O’Riordan left the firm yesterday with immediate effect.”