Former firm CEO accused of faking law degree

by Mackenzie McCarty26 Feb 2014
Allegations are flying that former Baldwins Intellectual Property CEO, Michael Vukcevic lied in his CV and does not, in fact, have a law degree.

Vukcevic resigned from the practice in November last year, with a press release stating that he stepped down “for personal reasons”.

However, an investigation by the New Zealand Herald claims the real reason Vukcevic left was that colleagues became suspicious of his purported legal qualifications and launched an internal investigation into his academic background. The investigation found that Vukcevic had not completed the legal qualification he claimed he had when applying for the position.

However, a Newstalk ZB report quotes former National Party president, Michelle Boag, who says the article is nothing more than a ‘smear campaign’ against Vukcevic.
Boag is an advisor at the Middle East Business Council, of which Vukcevic is a member. She’s told reporters she believes somebody has a ‘grudge’ against Vukcevic and that there was a ‘typo’ on his CV which is now being used against him.

"As I understand it, he should have had the word 'incomplete' next to LLB. Having said that, I don't know why it wasn't there."

NZ Lawyer contacted Baldwins for comment but the firm was unable to meet today’s deadline.

Alison Munro, an administration manager at Victoria University, confirmed in an email to the New Zealand Herald that Vukcevic only completed a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Economic History, granted in December 1993.

"Mr Vukcevic has not completed a Bachelor of Laws at Victoria University of Wellington," said Munro.

Baldwins is one of New Zealand’s leading intellectual property practices with fourteen specialist teams covering areas ranging from nano-technology to agricultural chemicals.

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  • by Karen Harding 26/02/2014 3:41:05 p.m.

    Note Michelle Boag is obviously a loyal friend but it is not a typo to have the words "incomplete "missing next to LLB as one does not have an LLB if it is incomplete. one has to complete to finish. A typo is if word is spelt incorrectly by typing error. One would think the law firm would know as we have to pay Practising certificate fees to the NZLS to practice as a barrister and Solicitor. Did he have a practicing certificate?

  • by John 28/02/2014 5:52:17 p.m.

    If I did one philosophy paper at university with the ultimate plan of doing a PhD and then put PhD (incomplete) in my CV do you think Michelle Boag would think that was legitimate. This is not a case of a typo - it is simply a case of someone misrepresenting his qualifications and hoping that nobody would notice I suspect

  • by Rod Arnold 1/03/2014 2:22:26 p.m.

    I do agree this cannot be explained away as a typo. An internal investigation would not have been required if Mr Vukcevic had not supposedly led his colleagues on to believe he had a "completed" LLB from Victoria. He certainly would not have resigned if it had not been a consideration in obtaining the role of CEO in a law firm. There is quite a distance to travel for a “lawyer in training” from attending a class in Legal Method to practicing as a lawyer. There are however a few (like me) who do have law degrees conferred but have not undertaken professionals because their current jobs do not require them to be lawyers, or they have decided not to practice as lawyers because their academic knowledge of the law complement other qualifications and skills.