When Lawyers Attack With Email

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The summary – a young lawyer applies for a position with a firm, which extends an offer, then cuts the offered salary; the young lawyer fires off an email declining the position, after which the fun really began.

When Lawyers Attack With Email
Email Spat Between Lawyers Gets Noticed

Lawyer-oriented TV shows like “Boston Legal” have nothing on the real-life weirdness in Massachusetts legal circles. A host of blogs and websites, including Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, have carried the saga of an email exchange between a job applicant and an employer. The Boston Globe confirmed the exchange really did take place.

Dianna Abdala applied for a position with a criminal law firm run by William Korman. He was impressed enough with her to offer her a job after one meeting. Then he met with her again at his office to say he wanted to hire two lawyers instead of just one, and would have to cut the salary offered.

After giving it some more thought, Abdala dropped an email in his inbox, declining the job offer and citing the salary as the reason. “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,” she wrote.

Korman emailed her back, expressing surprise at her rejection and complaining about the method in which it was sent. Still, he wished her the best for her future despite having made arrangements for her employment by ordering business cards and setting up email accounts. Instead of just letting it go, Abdala decided to take a shot at him in reply regarding those arrangements.

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


It seems Korman is a ten-year veteran of the bar, and well-regarded within the profession. Mass. Lawyers Weekly picked it up from there:

Korman, of course, could not allow this to go unanswered. I picture Samuel L. Jackson’s character in “Pulp Fiction,” gun in hand, saying “Are you finished? Well, allow me to retort.”

Wrote 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?”

It gets better. Or worse. Or both, really.

Abdala responded with the following email: “bla bla bla.”

Now, the email exchange has received a celebrity status of its own, having made the rounds first of numerous law firms, then to the inboxes of people outside the profession, to the blogosphere, and then the Boston Globe.

That’s a lot of mileage for “bla bla bla.” It’s also a prime example of why one should never say something in email that they will seriously regret if it becomes public.

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

When Lawyers Attack With Email
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