John Barber and Jeff Ranen left Lewis Brisbois to start their own firm, taking over 100 colleagues with them. Lewis Brisbois management subsequently released their emails to get back at them, where they referred to females using the c word, called a judge sugar tits, and generally wrote a lot of stuff you shouldn’t write in email using their work emails. The fallout is so severe that Alex Su tweeted about it and several of the defectors from Lewis Brisbois have asked for their job back.
First, I’ll just put it out there, interesting that corporate fraud is not newsworthy but emails that some assholes wrote is. Maybe we should just trick the media into reporting on this stuff by fabricating nasty emails. They don’t like the truth, so let’s give them a lie they can run with. Somebody pass this to your favorite news agency and tell them I’m a bad, bad man.
As an outsider looking in, it reminds me of a lot of the things we tell ourselves as court reporters. Need to be fair. Need to be civil. Need to be upstanding, and ethical, and always polite, and so on and so forth. We take a lot of our cues from the legal fiction of lawyers, civility, justice, and all that kind of stuff that everybody pays lip service to but only some actually follow. A lot of us really believe in that stuff, and in my case, I really did.
But just look at the reality. A firm ranked as one of the largest on Law360’s list had partners that put that stuff in writing. The firm just outed that it likely knew about this stuff and didn’t care. And then let’s not get into the idea of leaving your employer while poaching a large number of employees on exit. From beginning to end, nastiness, and in the eyes of the sanitized corporate world, “unprofessional.”
But it doesn’t matter. Lewis Brisbois just smacked one of its competitors hard.
This is why I chose to use the dirtbag left performative media style for Stenonymous in outing corporate fraud. I figured out sometime in 2021 that the corporate world only has a veneer of politeness, all this nonsense nice guy stuff goes right out the window as soon as money’s involved. When you drop the pretenses and the corporate dancing around the issues, you can get a lot more done. Not only is it a great choice for loudly broadcasting a message, which is what you need to do when the mass media is not on your side, but another outfit that uses that style, Chapo Trap House, was making $60,000 a month according to some reports. So not only can this help us by broadcasting a message, it also might end up drawing in a huge influx of cash to the field if it takes off. Imagine being able to pump our associations, unions, and nonprofits, and entrepreneurs full of cash from stenographic media. This is a future I envision, if I ever get the startup capital. Anyone know an angel investor with a twisted sense of humor?
I have great empathy for our leaders. They’re not allowed to drop the dance. They have to dance the dance. They have to speak a certain way. Meanwhile, I’m able to explore the depth and limits of free speech. I’m able to be the same person that all these big business types are, calculating, goal-oriented.
The thing that horrifies them is that my goal is not money, it’s truth and the advancement of working reporters. As I’ve said, money is a means to an end. And even when Stenonymous funding fell off, I persevered, because there is something special about our little culture and society, and I couldn’t watch it go out on a lie.
So next time you’re wondering whether you’re being too aggressive or impolite, just remember Lewis Brisbois. They don’t care what people think. They don’t care about morals. They don’t care about anything that isn’t protecting their piece of the pie. And when someone tried to take some of that pie, they used what leverage they had to take it back.
Reporters, it’s time to protect your piece of the pie. Information distribution and funding media that is aggressively advocating for the pie on your plate is what I’ve calculated will do it. Of course, I have other hopes related to equality, access to justice, and science, but these all align with the interests of the working reporter or sole proprietor and most of the small business owners.
Gotta play to win.