Two Bantersaurs who should have wiped the Outlook backup folders.

A new US law firm has collapsed after its two founders’ racist, misogynist and anti-semitic emails were made public by their former firm.

John Barber and Jeff Ranen left Los Angeles firm Lewis Brisbois in May to start a “compassionate” new enterprise. 

“We decided we didn’t want to compromise anymore,” Barber told a reporter at the time, while Ranen said he gave a “Jerry Maguire speech” which helped convince around 140 colleagues to join the new firm.

They may be ruing their decision to follow the pair after Lewis Brisbois’s management team decided to leak dozens of emails between Ranen and Barber which were so incendiary that the pair were forced to announce on Monday that they were resigning from their new firm, Barber Ranen, which has since said it will close and relaunch with a new name.

“The last 72 hours have been the most difficult of our lives, as we have had to acknowledge and reckon with those emails,” Barber and Ranen said in a joint statement. “We are ashamed of the words we wrote, and we are deeply sorry.”

Barber Ranen chief executive Tim Graves, another former Lewis Brisbois lawyer, said in a statement that the remaining partners will form a new firm called Daugherty Lordan.

Barber was a member of the firm’s management committee, which oversaw its nearly 1,700 lawyers in 55 US offices, and both he and Ranen were employment partners who specialised in defending corporations against harassment and discrimination claims.

The emails released by Lewis Brisbois didn’t leave much room for the pair to do anything other than vanish.

Ranen used “Jew” as a synonym for haggling, writing in 2016, “I might be able to Jew them down to $390”, and also for stinginess, calling Barber a “Jew” because he owed him money.

Ranen told Barber he deliberated emailed questions to an observant Jewish lawyer on Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, after the lawyer had specifically asked him not to. “This Jew is cracking me up”, said Ranen, “I almost ONLY write to him on Saturday mornings”.

On another occasion, when Ranen emailed colleagues to say he’d brought bagels for the office, Barber replied calling him, “Jew cunt”.

When Barber sent details of a litigation lawyer they were considering employing, Ranen wrote back, “Sorry, I forgot to write that we will not hire Jews.”

dont hire

Degrading comments about women were also a staple of the pair’s correspondence, which included a boast by Ranen that he’d get a federal trial hearing postponed in order to attend a party in Las Vegas where “We’re going to a strip club or bringing in hookers”.

In the emails Ranen described female lawyers as “cunts” on three occasions, while Barber reacted to an overtime request from a female Lewis Brisbois lawter in 2012 by emailing Ranen, “kill her by anal penetration”.

When a female lawyer asked for upgrades to the firm’s breastfeeding room,  Ranen forwarded it to a male colleague and speculated about her appearance after giving birth, writing, “She could be 200 pounds and acne scarred and after all this time I’d still fuck her”.


Covering all the bases, the pair also used racist and homophobic slurs.

In response to Ranen warning that a witness did not want to hear the n-word, Barber joked in response, "Got it. Nigger. Don't use." 


“Don’t be a faggot,” Ranen responded to a partner in a 2015 email. “What’s this faggot’s problem,” he emailed another colleague in 2014, referring to a rival lawyer.

Mocking an Israeli lawyer’s past army service, Barber wrote to Ranen, “He’s a fag. Israeli Defense Force hand-to-hand combat instructor? Yawn. I’ll kick his ass”. Ranan replied, “His bio gave me a stiffy. Does that make me a homo?”

When Barber used the expression "oh snap", Ranen needled him by retorting that he wasn’t sure if using it “makes you more akin to a tween or a fudgepacker”.

Linda Miller Savitt, an employment lawyer at a rvial firm whom the email cache revealed Ranen had described as “a real cunt” in a 2018 email, told the LA Times, “It’s very disappointing to learn this about colleagues, even if they are competitors”.

Jonathan Delshad, a lawyer who found out that in 2016 Ranen had written to a co-worker, “Tell him that he’s the reason why most people hate Jews”, said, “I make it a point not to get caught up in personal disputes”, adding, “I do my best to treat every human being with dignity and respect regardless of our position on a legal dispute.”

In a statement, Lewis Brisbois said that after the duo left the firm, a complaint was raised which led to an investigation “and the firm was shocked to find dozens of emails between John Barber and Jeff Ranen containing highly inappropriate and offensive content”.

An insider claimed that the firm consulted ethics experts who provided a range of options, but that in the end Lewis Brisbois decided to provide the media with a curated batch of the worst emails. Although it presented its decision to do so as a laudable example of transparency, it was interpreted by some as a deliberate act of revenge against the pair for leaving with a chunk of its workforce.

The pair appeared aware on some level of the dangerous game they were playing. In one disclosed email, Barber mused, “My average email would get someone fired”.

In another, Ranen told Barber, “if you want to have fun for a second,” just “keyword search the words ‘cunt’ and ‘Jew’ on your email inbox and sent box”.

The firm appears to have done exactly that.

Some lawyers who joined the pair in their doomed venture were reported to have already asked Lewis Brisbois for their old jobs back.

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Anonymous 09 June 23 10:14

When I was in training in 2007 I was given advice never to write anything I wouldn't want read out in the House of Lords. These guys didn't receive that memo. Or if they did they probably scrawled "no homo" on it. 

Lord Lester 09 June 23 10:16

I mean, I'm all for some jolly japes in the office, but even I think that these two are irredeemable.

Anon 09 June 23 10:27

ROF's editorial stance on publishing offensive words in full is the kind of thing I wish I'd known about before I opened this on my work laptop. 

Question Man 09 June 23 10:48

How can we be sure that this is not a setup orchestrated by bitter rivals at their former firm?

Djed 09 June 23 10:49

Make no mistake, those two are bunch of two-hats but Lewis Brisbois surely knew about this for years. They were happy to protect their rainmakers and found an opportunity to shaft them once they became their competition, this was not done for altruistic reasons.

Hate the Playbook, not the Players 09 June 23 17:36

Ok, so the playbook is now to search the email correspondence of lawyers leaving the firm for any and all offensive keywords, then publish it "for transparency issues" while clutching your pearls and holding your nose, just to make sure they are damaged beyond redemption for leaving the firm. Lewis Brisbois sounds like a real nest of vipers. Shrewd move...

SecularJurist 09 June 23 21:23

Ex-Potus Chump will now know which counsel to hire to deal with forthcoming litigation.

They'll probably get on like a house on fire.

Boston PI Lawyer 10 June 23 00:21

An amazing hit job by Lewis Brisbois on Barber and Ranen after they left LB with 140 attorneys. LB could not have been happy and have absolutely torpedoed their careers. These guys will be drafting wills on the Transit Road in Buffalo, NY for $60k a year. 

I guess those flowery DEI press releases don't always reflect reality. 

Meanwhile I settled a case today for $90k, getting a $30k fee. Release the shackles of Big Law my friends. 

No Answer Woman 10 June 23 13:36

@10.48 - yes, jealousy is often the root of pearl clutching around 'sexual harassment'. But what makes you think that is the case here?

Question Man 11 June 23 15:54

Imagine hacking an ex employees phone who doesn't want anything to do with you. Is that weird? oh, he can't have a career, we need to be sure. why do you need to be sure? "Because I'm a white c***"

pff 12 June 23 09:44

Jesus, it's like they had a check list and were methodically going through it. Almost feels fake. Who out there actually uses ALL of those slurs? 

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