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Lying on your CV in internet age can be a risky business; BETHAN DARWIN LAW & MORE.

I'VE KNOWN for a long time that lawyers fib on their CVs.

This is based on reading the "interests" sections of all the CVs I've seen over the years.

All that fell walking and opera going, piano playing and volunteering - nobody lists what they really do.

If they did the section would read more like this: "Work most of the time. Last played the piano when I was at school but hope to take it up again when I retire. Always turn the radio up when Nessun Dorma comes on. Enjoy Homeland/Downton Abbey, curry, wine and Facebook."

It's now fashionable for people with children to list "family" as an interest as if family is something you can take or leave, like knitting or jigsaws.

When people list "family" what they really mean is "not got time to cut my toenails, let alone have interests. Have you any idea how much work breeding human beings involves?" I tackle the interests issue in my own CV head-on: "Chance would be a fine thing," mine says.

The interests section of high-flying city lawyer Thomas O'Riordan might once have read something like this: "In my spare time, I enjoy making up qualifications I don't have."

The 51-year-old had worked in several top-level barristers' chambers and solicitors' firms in London and had been in-house lawyer for Nomura and Sumitomo Finance and head of legal and tax for the Republic National Bank of New York.

He had not, however, as he claimed on his CV, gained degrees from Oxford or Harvard or been admitted as a member of the New York and Irish bars.

He got away with this until last November when he was reported to the Bar Standards Board.

This led to his immediately leaving his position with international law firm Paul Hastings. Two weeks ago he was suspended from practice for three years.

People with whom Mr O'Riordan had worked indicated that he had excellent feedback from clients. He was duly qualified as a barrister and appeared to have been good at his job.

The extra qualifications he claimed to have were not necessary to do the jobs he did, although it's likely that right at the beginning of his career a law degree from University of East Anglia might not have been enough to open the door to the highest levels of the City of London establishment.

If you're going to fib, you may as well fib big.

Mr O'Riordan got away with it for over 25 years. On a cost benefit analysis, 25 years of earning at the highest level might have been worth the risk.

Journalists were unable to track down Mr O'Riordan for comment and he was believed to have travelled abroad.

If he's hoping to travel incognito he's going to have a job.

His picture is on the internet. In his photo, Mr O'Riordan is wearing braces - that symbol of City risk-taking back in the '80s, now rather out of fashion.

Mr O'Riordan probably misses the '80s. Back in those good old days, braces were big and the internet hadn't taken off yet so there was less chance of getting caught out fibbing on your CV.

I wonder what the interests section of Mr O'Riordan's CV says now? Something like this I reckon: "Enjoy sitting on beach in Thailand, writing screenplay of life story.

"Have sold house in Balham purchased for PS120,000 in 1987 for PS1.2m which has topped up savings from City bonuses nicely. See ya, suckers." | Bethan Darwin is a solicitor WITHCOMMERCIAL Conclusion


Bethan Darwin often comes across CVs listing interests such as felling walking and opera but the reality is often very different
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Oct 16, 2013
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