Friday, April 27, 2007
The revelation that the Dean of Admissions at MIT falsified her academic credentials and was discovered 28 years after her hiring brings to mind our recent discussions about bar admission. It shows that a misrepresentation of credentials is a ticking time bomb to a professional career notwithstanding years of apparently high quality job performance.
There are a number of very interesting cases of lawyer impersonation. Perhaps the most famous D.C. case involved a "lawyer" whose real name was Daniel Jackson Oliver Wendell Holmes Morgan, an escaped convict who had an active practice under the name of L.A. Harris. He was outed after he was involved in a traffic accident with a real lawyer, who asked about his credentials in discovery, leading to him taking it on the lam. He was eventually arrested and convicted. The fascinating story is told in No Time For Dying, co-written by a client that Morgan had represented who was on death row when it was discovered that his trial lawyer was an impostor.
Then there was a case I prosecuted involving one Regis Toomey (I am not making these names up). He was admitted to the D.C. Bar but omitted mention of the fact that he had been barred and disbarred in Texas. The court revoked his license rather than disbar him, meaning that he could never seek reinstatement.
There was another fellow who slithered his way into the D.C. Bar when the D.C. Court of Appeals took over the jurisdiction of the bar from the District Court in 1972--he was discovered as a result of client complaints. (MIke Frisch)