Reprimands for solicitor who plagiarised articles and falsified resume
September 15, 2016
A Melbourne sole practitioner, who falsified his credentials when applying for a job, has been found guilty of professional misconduct.
The Victorian Legal Services Commissioner brought two charges of professional misconduct against Mr Matthew Karakoulakis after an investigation discovered he had falsified his resume when applying for a job in 2014.
The Commissioner told the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal that Mr Karakoulakis had explained he had not wanted to appear to be overqualified for the position, so he falsified the date of his admission to legal practise on his resume to two years after his actual admission date. VCAT was told that Mr Karakoulakis then altered his work history to account for the later admission date and that he had also altered his social media profile to show false start and finish dates for his employment with two large law firms, while omitting his employment with one firm completely.
At the same time, Mr Karakoulakis claimed on the website of his law practice, AMK Law, that he had 15 years’ legal experience, despite only having been admitted about 10 years earlier.
The Commissioner also told VCAT that the AMK Law website contained three articles which Mr Karakoulakis claimed to have written. On further investigation, the articles were found to be largely plagiarised from various sources.
VCAT noted that while the offences did not involve clients or other members of the legal profession, they did suggest an unethical approach to practice. Further, VCAT noted that such actions affect the trust and respect the community has for the legal profession as a whole.
Mr Karakoulakis pleaded guilty to both charges. VCAT reprimanded Mr Karakoulakis, fined him $5,000 and ordered he complete six additional continuing professional development units in ethics. Mr Karakoulakis was also ordered to pay the Commissioner’s costs of $6,708.