A solicitor whose CV was full of professional and academic qualifications he did not have has agreed to remove himself from the profession in a move akin to being struck off.
Michael McCooe became a consultant in the London office of Canadian firm McCarthy Tetrault on the back of a CV that stated he was also admitted to professional bodies in Australia, Ireland, France and Switzerland.
It also said he had an LLM in competition law from King’s College, London, a PhD in international competition and trade from the University of Zurich, and a doctorate in international competition law from Trinity College, Dublin.
However, according to a regulatory settlement agreement (RSA) published by the Solicitors Regulation Authority today, “Mr McCooe has not been admitted before any professional bodies in Ireland, France or Switzerland. He has only practised law there”.
Further, he does not have any qualifications from Trinity College, Dublin, or the University of Zurich, and while he holds a post-graduate diploma in EC law from King’s College, London, he does not have an LLM from there.
Mr McCooe, who now lives in Switzerland, was admitted as a solicitor in 1991 and was an in-house lawyer at Bader Burnier Debroux from 1992 to 1994, and practised on his own account from 1996 before joining McCarthy Tetrault in 2011. He resigned from the firm nearly three years later and does not currently hold a practising certificate.
The RSA said Mr McCooe “does not now remember how the inaccuracies arose on his CV. However he accepts he is responsible for them”.
As a result, he admitted that “he was aware of, and failed to correct, false and inaccurate details contained within the CV that he knew or ought to have known would be misleading to others.
“On that basis, Mr McCooe accepted that he had been dishonest and knew his failure to correct the errors was dishonest.”
In mitigation, he said his recollection was that his employer did not rely on the CV when offering him the job, “and he did not realise that his employer would include incorrect details in its publications”.
The RSA continued: “Once Mr McCooe realised that his employer had included incorrect details, he raised the issue and made sure that the details were removed. He also made sure that the employment agency corrected the details before he used their services again.”
Mr McCooe undertook to remove himself from the roll of solicitors and agreed that “that this shall have the effect of a striking-off order, so that he will be subject to the restrictions of section 41 of the Solicitors Act 1974, i.e. that no solicitor shall employ or remunerate Mr McCooe in connection with his practice without the SRA’s written permission”.
He also undertook to tell any firm with which he sought employment about the agreement and not to apply for restoration to the roll of solicitors in the future.
Mr McCooe agreed to pay £1,872 in costs as well.