in CV Writing, Legal Profession

Lying on CVs – 20% of all CVs are inaccurate or untrue?

Lying on CVs

This is probably more relevant for locums than permanent candidates, but when going through gaps on CVs we very often get asked why it is so important that we know what someone was doing in 1995 for 12 months.

Well here is the reason. This is an extract from a CV for someone who was struck off as a solicitor in the 1990s, sentenced to a spell in prison and then later convicted again of further offences in the 00s.

Have a read through and see if you can spot anything suspicious.

2008 to present Consultancy Roles – London
Consultancy roles with property developers/financial institutions /law firms advising on Property Management. Dealing with Sales/Purchases of residential and commercial transactions – start to finish.

Locum roles – 2013 – – Residential /
Residential – residential with some commercial
– residential and commercial
– residential conveyancing
– Residential matters

2006 to 2008
Manage portfolio /properties with ground rent collections
Lease drafting. Variety other management/legal matters
Process residential and commercial conveyancing /both sales and purchases- deal with lenders/brokers/Solicitors

Property Company
Residential and Commercial matters . Head of 6 teams/Train/Supervise
Collections/Transfers/Draft documents/Property Manager

Property Manager. Residential and Commercial Properties
Collection/Court actions; Client generation. Some Trust work

2000 /03
Practice development with Partner. Establish new office.
Manage residential/commercial properties. Wills/Probate/Trusts
Plot Sales with two companies

1999 Solicitors
Conveyancing /Residential and Commercial. Wills/Probate. Specialist
“elder citizen” advice on Inheritance tax matters and trusts.

1997 to 1999 Locum /consultancy roles with Property Companies/Law Firms
When partners sold practice, I moved “in house” with a property development company but after returned to private practice to assist development of practice.

1987 to 1996
Property Development. Finance resourcing. Contract supervision.
Oversee projects (U.K. and Europe) Legal documentation

1975 to 1987 Solicitors
Senior Assistant/ Practice
Built up to 5 offices, 65 staff and increase turnover. Responsible for client development. Implementation of expansion program.
Introduce new employment Systems. Professional service to clients and marketing flair. Areas of work:- Property transactions. Commercial
contracts/disputes. Trusts/Wills/Probate. Tax advice Some litigation.

Could you tell if there were any discrepancies here or that this CV was for someone from such a background?

This candidate described themselves as a legal executive to get round the struck off solicitor bit, and appears to have been able to continue to work in the legal profession on this basis, despite having been struck off as a solicitor.

It is said that 20% of CVs contain made-up bits and I can certainly agree with that. Most of the made up stuff is fairly easy to see (for example candidates with 1 years PQE giving detailed info on work that only someone with about 20 years PQE could have covered).

Anyone who makes up their degree or A levels must be a keen poker player who likes taking risks – after all it is a criminal offence to obtain a job by deception.

Recently a firm in London recruited someone who had the wrong degree class on their cv. The firm had a policy of checking up on CVs after a few weeks, and sure enough the solicitor had to confess that the 2.1 was a figment of their imagination. The firm dismissed the candidate on the spot. I can’t blame them. If someone is prepared to take a gamble on their CV, what else would they lie about?

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Jonathan Fagan

Jonathan Fagan LLM FIRP is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment. He has been recruiting solicitors and legal support staff for law firms and in house legal departments for over 20 years and handles roles from junior fee earners through to partners and law firm sales/purchases. A non-practising solicitor on the Roll since 2000, he is also the author of a number of legal career books, which are available at You can contact Jonathan at