Every modern lawyer has followed the same painful path: twelve years of school, followed by four years of college, earning a bachelor’s degree, sitting for the LSAT test, then getting accepted into law school, and studying very hard with their nose to the grindstone for three years, and ultimately passing the bar exam.
Many young lawyers begin their hopeful career with six figures of student loan debt, earning less than they had hoped, while billing hours every day for firms for years and years. The light at the end of their arduous, sleep-deprived tunnel, is that opportunity to leap from associate to partner.
Wouldn’t it be great to just skip all that schooling and debt and make partner right away?
Kimberly Kitchen, a Pennsylvania woman tried just that. Amazingly, it worked. She became the proud partner of a law firm without ever having going to law school or passing the bar.
Now charged with forgery, unauthorized practice of law, and felony records tampering, her claim to have graduated from Duquesne University School of Law in 2005 was apparently fabricated. However, she worked an astonishing 10 years at a law firm before being promoted to partner in April 2014.
Oh, and she was even elected president of the Huntingdon County Bar Association!
She impersonated an estate lawyer for years and worked for over 30 clients. The firm may be subject to civil suits and demands of refunds, not to mention having egg on its face.
This is not the first time someone successfully impersonated an attorney. In the movie, “Catch Me If You Can” Leonardo DiCaprio played famous con-man Frank Abagnale Jr. who sat for and passed the Louisiana bar exam. Frank Abagnale Jr. actually did not cheat to pass the test. In reality, it took him three tries to pass. He did so without law school.
Abagnale says that pretending to be a lawyer was easier to fake than being a pilot or a doctor, but he was able to pull those off as well.
Just think what deceptive folks could accomplish if they played by the rules.
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