Rudeness

The terrible way women lawyers are treated in the legal profession has been described in these pages ad infinitum. Whether their necklines are too low, their hair is too long, they’re giggling too much, or their maternity leave is considered an inconvenience, women lawyers aren’t taken seriously, and they certainly aren’t treated with respect by their fellow lawyers in this profession.

But just how much sexism do women lawyers face on a day-to-day basis? It’s astonishing…

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This is a lawmaker? Like, a person who makes laws? This person has no business anywhere near laws that affect women or other human beings.

Jess McIntosh, a spokeswoman for EMILY’s List, a women’s political action committee, commenting on remarks made by New Hampshire Rep. Steve Vaillancourt about Rep. Ann McLane Kuster’s bid for re-election.

(This weekend, Vaillancourt compared Kuster to an unattractive drag queen in a blog post, further wondering, “Does anyone not believe that Congressman Annie Kuster is as ugly as sin? And I hope I haven’t offended sin.” Ouch.)

This stock photo of a leather-clad woman motorcyclist is topical rather than gratuitous, we’re sorry to say.

Isn’t it nice when appellate courts hear oral argument at law schools? It’s great for bench-bar relations for the judges to leave their marble palace and spend some time with the legal community. It’s great for law students to see what real-world litigation looks like without having to leave campus. It’s generally a win-win situation for all involved.

But a recent calendar at a New York law school didn’t go so smoothly. The legal profession has a sexism problem, but there’s no need for judges to demonstrate it by directing sleazy quips at women lawyers arguing before them….

(Please note the UPDATE, featuring the identity of the judge in question.)

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Some lawyers have this crazy idea that the hoi polloi are in such awe of attorneys that they bend to your will upon the very mention of a Juris Doctor. It’s one thing to throw around your credentials arguing with a landlord or something like that — that’s an actual legal dispute. It’s quite another to be the person who injects their admission to the bar into every unreasonable demand. “I demand an aisle seat! I’m a lawyer!” There are probably a significant number of students who chose law school in hopes of being able to tell off someone with the threat of “I’m a lawyer!” And that’s incredibly sad.

To rain on the parade of these douchetards, regular people understand that there are a whole lot of lawyers out there and that most of them are middle managers at best and paper-pushers at worst. They aren’t really trembling over lawyer threats.

Which this attorney learned when he tried to bully a non-takeout restaurant into sending him takeout because, of course, he’s a lawyer. The restaurant disagreed and posted an epic takedown to the Internets…

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It’s time to yell back at a notorious loudmouth.

Slap on your frowny faces, everybody! This poor law professor is used to people not liking him, but now a critical mass of his own field has turned on him. As of this second, 292 professors have signed on to a statement denouncing him and demanding he relinquish control of the internationally-recognized rankings he founded. As a professional troll, he routinely threatens critics with legal action based on theories that… well, boggle the mind. He once accused me of per se defamation, which was per se frivolous. And now all that baseless aggression has come back to haunt him.

Will he go gentle into that good night?

Of course not! He’s a “fighter,” which is a dressy word for “self-absorbed narcissist.”

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Jordan Belfort

Last night, I attended a panel discussion at the 92nd Street Y featuring some very interesting individuals — including two lawyers. Thane Rosenbaum, the law professor and novelist, moderated a panel featuring former federal prosecutor Daniel Alonso, CNBC anchor Kelly Evans, and the “star” of the evening, Jordan Belfort — the disgraced stockbroker turned convicted felon turned bestselling author who served as the inspiration for Martin Scorsese’s 2013 film, The Wolf of Wall Street.

So what was the evening like? One attendee described it as “cringeworthy” — and I have to agree….

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‘Hey, everybody! I just wanted to let you know I’m an a-hole!’

Law is a profession that attracts some of the most cunning of linguists modern society has to offer. The ability to speak eloquently about dense legal concepts is an art that takes years to perfect, and is a skill that some lawyers can only hope to someday achieve. Until that time rolls around, other lawyers are happy to roll up their sleeves and employ the usage of a language they’re all fluent in to prove their respective points: sarcasm. It’s the lazy lawyer’s key to success — but it can also serve as his undoing.

Sometimes, being overly sarcastic can earn a lawyer a reputation for being a loveable jokester. Other times, being overly sarcastic can earn a lawyer a seat at his very own disciplinary hearing. For example, asking opposing counsel if he’s “grow[n] a pair” yet would probably land a lawyer in the hot seat.

The subject of today’s foray into ethical lapses definitely grew a pair of his own, because not only was he censured for his over-the-top sarcastic remarks, but he also admitted that he’d been ignoring his work in favor of golf trips and exotic vacations. Fore! Watch out for that legal career hitting the sand trap…

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Does being a Biglaw partner mean never having to say you’re sorry… for annoying, rude, or stupid firm-wide emails? When associates hit “reply all” to firm-wide emails, they sometimes wind up in hot water. But when partners send their random musings far and wide, their colleagues often praise them.

Sure, occasionally “reply all” emails from partners don’t go over well. Sometimes the messages come across as lecherous: “I admire your gumption, especially when you’re in a tight dress.” Sometimes they sound disloyal: “Why are we both still at this firm?”

Today’s Biglaw partner “reply all” doesn’t rise to those heights of cringe-worthiness. But it’s still bad enough to be worth sharing with you….

(Please note the UPDATE added below, which puts the partner’s email in proper context.)

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Judges are people too. Usually older people apt to complain that everyone should keep it down and get off their lawn. And in the interest of getting people to quiet down, older people love writing rules. As Jerry Seinfeld said of Florida, older folks “work hard their entire lives just so they can move down there, sit in the heat, pretend it’s not hot, and enforce these rules.”

So it really shouldn’t come as a surprise when we get our hands on this over-the-top “Best Practices” guide sent out by a county judge for every lawyer, staff member, and litigant who crosses the courthouse threshold.

And it’s even less of a surprise when it reads like it was written by a grumpy grandparent….

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We overuse the word “childish” when discussing the behavior of lawyers. This dispute though is so utterly childish it can be summed up as “Teacher! Denise swore!” and “But, Dan did it first!”

Rare is the opinion with the word “a**hole” (though without the wusstrisks we use on this site) in the opening sentence. But that’s what you get when a judge levels a benchslap against one side for “intemperate language,” which is apparently a thing that lawyers shouldn’t use.

Now lawyers can be a salty bunch, so it takes a serious outburst to earn the ire of a federal judge. And this woman doesn’t disappoint, allegedly drafting an aggressive email peppered with “intemperate language” combined with shady tactics and outright lying. It’s a cocktail of behavior that deserves consideration if you’re looking for case studies for a professional responsibility course. As the judge writes in his opinion, this is one where the lawyer should have hit “delete” instead of “send.”

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