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City lawyer parliamentary candidate battles claims he over-egged experience at Clifford Chance

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Tory safe seat man in bid to refute allegations that his claim to have headed a magic circle department is a big fat exaggeration

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A solicitor and Conservative Party parliamentary candidate is battling to fight off allegations that he falsely claimed to have been a department head at a magic circle practice.

Media reports today suggested that Alan Mak — the general election candidate in the safe Tory constituency of Havant in Hampshire — inaccurately boasted on his CV that he was a “department head” at global practice Clifford Chance.

On his leaked CV (pictured below) — which was first picked up by website Political Scrapbook — Mak described CC as the “world’s biggest law firm”, where he had been a department head. He also claimed that he had been awarded the title of “young City lawyer of the year” before the age of 30.

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Reports have maintained that Mak was never promoted to Clifford Chance’s partnership. And as an associate he was never in charge of a department or practice group.

But Mak has told Legal Cheek exclusively that he spent seven years at the firm during which time he was in a crucial mid-tier management position.

“My roles at the firm included heading up the UK department of a Europe-wide practice group,” he said, “which I made clear during the selection process for Havant. Not all local departments are run by partners, and my successor in that role now is also not a partner. I have never claimed to be a partner of Clifford Chance or any other law firm.”

Mak went on to say he was “a founding member” of the Clifford Chance Foundation, a pro bono initiative launched in 2008.

“My work included assessing applications for grants,” he said.

Mak — who read law at Cambridge — was admitted as a solicitor in February 2009. According to Law Society records, he specialised in financial services, mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, banking and general commercial work.

His CV also stated that Mak was “used to dealing with ministers, civil servants, and speaking up for others”.

Mak rallied support from local Tory activists in his defence. Havant Conservative Party chairman Mike Fairhurst went into bat, saying:

“Nobody in the constituency party ever assumed that Alan was, or had been, a partner at any law firm. He has never claimed to be a partner, and his CV does not imply that. If he had been a partner, I am sure he would have said so clearly. He was selected on his all-round ability, and we are very happy that he is our candidate.”

Clifford Chance declined to comment on any aspect of Mak’s former employment with the firm.