Right now, we bet that more than a few people are inspired to be a fake lawyer for Halloween - you just need a briefcase, a legal pad and chutzpah. The NY Times reports that Brian T. Valery, a paralegal who posed as a lawyer for a few years at law firm Anderson Kill, faces arraignment for impersonating a lawyer and perjury this Wednesday in Connecticut. Valery had been working at Anderson Kill as a paralegal since 1996, and in 2004, he said he passed the bar, after graduating Fordham Law. The law firm let him represent at least 50 clients in matters such as defending drug companies from lawsuits...but then last year, one of Valery's college friends called Anderson Kill; the Connecticut Law Tribune noted that the friend couldn't find Valery "among registered New York lawyers, but found him listed as an Anderson Kill attorney." Uh oh!
Valery claimed there were bureaucratic loose ends that prevented his name from being listed, but it turns out that his name couldn't be found anywhere in the directory of people who are admitted as NY lawyers. Valery had even told colleagues he failed the bar twice, before "passing," perhaps as a way to keep the game going. The NY Times tsk-tsks Anderson Kills, writing, "Simple checks might have brought some facts out sooner," since Forham Law had no record of Valery, and, what's more, he never graduated from Siena College either. The human resources people at law firms are going to be pretty busy!
In a 2005 litigation case, Valery told a court in Stamford, Connecticut that he was a lawyer in good standing. Last week, Connecticut authorities arrested him, and he faces two month for the impersonating-a-lawyer charge and up to five years for perjury (the claim of being a lawyer in good standing).
What's great is how client explain Valery's "unimpressive" skills; one Valery client told the NY Times, "All first- and second-year attorneys are pretty terrible."