15 years of Racism Destroys 2 High Profile Attorneys
Last week, the LA Times reported on one of the biggest law firm scandals of the year.
“Last month, Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith, one of the nation’s largest law firms, was rocked by the announcement that two top partners were starting their own boutique practice and taking as many as 140 colleagues with them.
The shock inside Lewis Brisbois’ downtown Los Angeles headquarters soon gave way to anger as the recently departed partners embarked on a press campaign that portrayed their former employer as a profit-focused legal mill that ground down the aspirations of its lawyers.
“We decided we didn’t want to compromise anymore,” one of the partners, John Barber, told a reporter in May. The other, Jeff Ranen, recalled giving a rousing “Jerry Maguire speech” to convince colleagues to follow him out the door.
But over the weekend, Lewis Brisbois struck back.
In an extraordinary move, its management team directed the release of scores of emails in which Barber and Ranen used vile terms for women, Black people, Armenians, Persians, and gay men and traded in offensive stereotypes of Jews and Asians. In one fell swoop, the venerable firm managed to torpedo its new rival, destroy the defecting partners’ careers and send the legal establishment reeling.
The emails, stretching back 15 years, were head-spinning in their coarseness and vitriol. A Superior Court judge was called “Sugar T—s.” Multiple female lawyers were referred to as “c—.” The epithets “fag” and “faggot” were deployed as all-purpose insults. An Asian job applicant was denigrated for the supposed size of his genitalia. Ranen dismissed another job candidate with, “How about someone who’s not a Jew.
– LA Times Revenge served ice cold? Top L.A. law firm outs former partners’ racist, sexist emails LATimes BY MATT HAMILTON, HARRIET RYAN JUNE 7, 2023
This Hit Home For Us
Be a Part of the Solution!
A Panel Discussion
Date Jun 21, 2023
Time 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Wednesday, June 21, 2023
1:00 PM – 2:00 PM Eastern
About the Program
Hate takes on many forms. Hate against Jewish people, known as Antisemitism, continues to skyrocket. The Anti-Defamation League reported a 36% increase in antisemitic events from 2021 to 2022, and FBI statistics show that 63% of religious-based hate crimes are against Jewish individuals.
The workplace is not immune to hate. Despite state and federal laws prohibiting discrimination and harassment in the workplace, one recent study showed that 25% of hiring managers are less likely to promote a Jewish employee, mostly based on Jewish stereotypes and tropes, such as “Jews have too much power, control and wealth.”
Join FordHarrison partners Dawn Siler-Nixon, Rachel Ullrich, and Johanna Zelman alongside guest co-panelist Michael Igel, Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Florida Holocaust Museum, for an in-depth panel discussion on what employers can do to fight against Antisemitism, both in the workplace and in their communities, and to become allies for their Jewish employees.
- FordHarrison is recognized by SHRM to offer Professional Development Credits (PDCs) for the SHRM-CPSM or SHRM-SCPSM. This course is approved for 1 hour of PDCs.
- This program is also pre-approved by HRCI for 1 hour of PHR, GPHR, and SPHR recertification credit.
- FordHarrison is an accredited provider of CLE by the State Bar of California. This program is preapproved for 1 hour of General CLE in California.
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