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An attorney in Michigan is facing disbarment for filling his resume with a series of 'alternative facts' -- including that he competed for the U.S. field hockey team in the 1996 Olympics. Turns out, the lawyer, Ali Zaidi, wasn't on the roster for that or any other Olympic events.
Now Zaidi's gold-medal lie, along with a whole string of additional misrepresentations, has the Michigan Attorney Discipline Board recommending his ouster.
It's not uncommon for job-seekers to polish their resume a bit. But these are usually white lies or exaggerations, like saying you played a pivotal role on a project that you were only partly involved in. But Zaidi's embellishments went a bit further. In his response to the complaint against him, Zaidi admitted that, contrary to previous claims:
That's a bit worse than listing "fine wines" and "international travel" as your interests, when you rarely cross state lines and prefer Trader Joe's $2 table red. (Do people still list their interests on their resume?)
Zaidi's misrepresentations "run the gamut from outlandish and extravagant to what might be termed modifications of his record inspired by some actual events," according to the Board's opinion. And "outlandish and extravagant" seems a particularly fitting characterization.
We might add "foolish," since several of the attorney's claims could be contradicted by a simple Google search. Or maybe we're over-estimating hiring committees. According to the Board opinion, Zaidi made it through the hiring process "at some prominent firms."
For his tall tales, disbarment was the appropriate punishment, the Board concluded.
The take away for other attorneys: Keep it honest. Don't claim that you competed in the Olympics -- or even the Goodwill Games.
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