For more information please call  800.727.2766


Lewis Brisbois Releases Sexist, Antisemitic, and Racist Emails Following Attorney Exodus

In May 2023, two senior male labor and employment lawyers announced they were leaving Lewis Brisbois in Los Angeles to start their own firm. These lawyers previously served as chair and vice-chair of the employment practices group and were members of the firm's management committee. One hundred and forty additional attorneys left with them. The two male partners, John Barber and Jeff Ranen, said they wanted to "do something fresh" and "build something that's reflective of our values and our beliefs." The partners named their new firm Barber Ranen.

Well, Barber Ranen is no more. After the exodus, the Lewis Brisbois management team released fifteen years' worth of Barber's and Ranen's emails to the press. According to the Los Angeles Times, these emails show the two men using derogatory terms for "women, Black people, Armenians, Persians, and gay men" and offensive stereotypes about Jewish and Asian people. The men refer in the emails to a California Superior Court judge as "Sugar T—s," some female lawyers as "c—," and used the negative epithets "fag" and "faggot." Ranen dismissed a job candidate by saying, "How about someone who's not a Jew," and they denigrated an Asian job applicant's genitalia size.

Within three days, Barber and Ranen resigned from their new firm. They apologized for the emails in their statement. The new firm will continue under different management and a new name, but some of these attorneys want their old jobs back at Lewis Brisbois. The email release has led many to question why Barber and Ranen's behavior was acceptable until they left Lewis Brisbois. Barber and Ranen copied junior associates and other partners on many of the emails. The emails suggest a "culture of bigotry thriving in some corners of the behemoth firm." (Los Angeles Times)