Rudy Lim, a former corporate partner in Singapore for DLA Piper and Duane Morris, has had his two-month sentence for lying about his annual compensation in an effort to switch firms slashed by a local high court justice. Lim will now serve one day in jail and pay a $10,000 fine.
According to reports by Bloomberg and The Straits Times, Lim was “dealt the ultimate professional punishment” by being disbarred in the U.K. as a result of telling Duane Morris — as part of a scheme to increase his compensation at his new firm — that his monthly draw from DLA was $65,000 when it was really $25,000.
Duane Morris hired Lim, the former head of DLA’s Indonesia practice, when it opened a Singapore office in January 2007. As previously reported by The Am Law Daily, Lim had been working for DLA in Singapore for several years — making partner in February 2006 — handling project development and finance work for the firm before interviewing with Duane Morris in late 2006. After Lim left DLA, employees going through electronic records on his computer found a forged payroll statement showing that he’d improperly boosted his annual compensation.
DLA alerted Singapore’s Commercial Affairs Department, which conducted an investigation that became the basis for a disciplinary review by the Solicitors Regulation Authority of England and Wales in March 2008. An SRA report issued that August found that Lim deliberately created a false payroll document to aid him in salary negotiations with Duane Morris. Lim had resigned from the firm in May 2007.
At a three-day trial in Singapore earlier this year, a district court found Lim guilty of forgery and ordered him to serve two months in prison, despite the fact that forgery convictions traditionally carry with them a sentence of seven years and a fine. Lim appealed his conviction and remained free on $80,000 bail posted by his father.
On Monday, Justice Tay Yong Kwang of the Supreme Court of Singapore ruled that while Lim intended to cheat his new employer, Duane Morris didn’t rely on the fake pay slip when determining Lim’s compensation package. The Straits Times reports that Lim’s lawyer argued that his client had received the Duane Morris job on his own merit, and had only lied about his pay as part of a face-saving maneuver, believing that he was underpaid at DLA and would soon be taking a leadership position with his new employer.
Lim, who was admitted to practice in the U.K. and Australia, previously worked as an associate at White & Case and Baker & McKenzie.
This article first appeared on The Am Law Daily blog on AmericanLawyer.com.