Legally Rude – Jerks of the Web

Although we’ve discussed briefly boundaries that bloggers often cross, in addition to libel and slander, lawyers are not immune from offensive behaviour either.

ABC Nightline covered a story of a 24 year-old Boston lawyer who was not satisfied with a job offer they had received. A flame war ensued.

But strangely enough one of the parties, likely the potential employer, forwarded the messages to others, until it finally ended up in the hands of the news agency that published them.

Abdala: Dear Attorney Korman, At this time, I am writing to inform you that I will not be accepting your offer. After careful consideration, I have come to the conclusion that the pay you are offering would neither fulfill me nor support the lifestyle I am living in light of the work I would be doing for you. I have decided instead to work for myself, and reap 100% of the benefits that I sow. Thank you for the interviews.

Korman: Dianna — Given that you had two interviews, were offered and accepted the job (indeed, you had a definite start date), I am surprised that you chose an e-mail and a 9:30 PM voicemail message to convey this information to me. It smacks of immaturity and is quite unprofessional. Indeed, I did rely upon your acceptance by ordering stationary [sic] and business cards with your name, reformatting a computer and setting up both internal and external e-mails for you here at the office. While I do not quarrel with your reasoning, I am extremely disappointed in the way this played out. I sincerely wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.

Abdala: A real lawyer would have put the contract into writing and not exercised any such reliance until he did so. Again, thank you.

Korman: Thank you for the refresher course on contracts. This is not a bar exam question. You need to realize that this is a very small legal community, especially the criminal defense bar. Do you really want to start pissing off more experienced lawyers at this early stage of your career?

Abdala: bla bla bla

The employer has some very valid points; law is a small community, and it’s unprofessional to go around burning bridges.

But it’s also unprofessional in this case for the employer, likely affronted by the rejection of the offer, to then try to seek retribution and ensure that she would indeed “start pissing off more experienced lawyers.”

Although he thought it would reflect poorly on the candidate (it did), it reflects even worse on him if he did forward it, because unlike the job applicant he really should have known better.


Susan Cartier mentions this post, and points out a few articles she’s done on related subjects.

Thanks to Maverick for the heads up.

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