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Top LA law firm with celeb clients releases scores of emails where top partners called judge ‘sugar t***’, referred to female lawyers as ‘c****’ and denigrated Jewish people after they defected to start their own firm
- John Barber and Jeff Ranen left Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith last month
- They left to start a ‘compassionate’ firm and took over 100 colleagues with them
- But their emails show them often using racist, homophobic and sexist terms
One of the nation’s largest law firms, with past celebrity clients like Kathy Griffin, has released troves of emails that show two of their former partners regularly using racist, homophobic and misogynist language.
Lawyers John Barber, 55, and Jeff Ranen, 45, said they were leaving the Los Angeles law firm Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith last month to build their own ‘compassionate firm,’ and would be taking over a hundred colleagues with them.
In a press spree, the lawyers portrayed their former law firm as a profit-focused business where they were forced to compromise on their values, and said their new office would focus on ‘paying it forward.’
The megafirm then hit back last weekend, releasing emails between Barber and Ranen where they repeatedly used inflammatory comments against women, black and Jewish people and gay men, among others.
The emails, seen by the New York Post, stretch back 15 years and show a Superior Court judge being called ‘Sugar T***’ by Barber and multiple women referred to as ‘c****’ by Ranen.
The LA law firm where John Barber (left) and Jeff Ranen were once partners released emails showing them repeatedly use vile language over 15 years
When an attorney requested overtime in June 2012, Barber wrote: ‘Kill her by anal penetration’
The emails, seen by the New York Post, stretch back 15 years and show a Superior Court judge being called ‘Sugar T***’ by Barber
The disgraced pair also discussed denying an Asian applicant a job because of his alleged penis size and dismissed another candidate with, ‘How about someone who’s not a Jew.’
When an attorney requested overtime in June 2012, Barber wrote: ‘Kill her by anal penetration.’
In November 2012, Ranen sent an email to Barber noting another partner’s ‘huge t***.’ That partner was one of the lawyers that followed the pair to their new firm, as reported by the Post.
Earlier the same year, Ranen wrote to Barber: ‘Gypsy is my new word to describe about half of the minorities in California.’
When Barber was told in November 2013 that a colleague was upset because of a case witness’ frequent use of the N-word, he replied: ‘Got it. N*****. Don’t use.’ Barber reportedly spelled out the full slur.
Barber used the full slur again in October 2012, and the partners also made frequent use of ‘f*****’ and other anti LGBT terms.
After the death of George Floyd sparked protests nationally, Ranen emailed Barber saying: ‘F****** looters came within a mile and a half. I can’t even imagine what it was like living in Larchmont [Los Angeles] in 1992 when the savages decimated Koreatown.’
When Barber was told in November 2013 that a colleague was upset because of a case witness’ frequent use of the N-word, he replied: ‘Got it. N*****. Don’t use’
The top LA firm has previously represented celebrity clients like Salt Bae and Kathy Griffin
‘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 where they announced their resignations from the new firm.
‘We are ashamed of the words we wrote, and we are deeply sorry.’
Barber and Ranen’s planned firm, Barber Ranen, seems to have collapsed following the release of their emails, with chief executive Tim Graves saying the remaining partners will form a new firm.
DailyMail.com has reached out to Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith for comment on this story.
Barber had spent over 25 years at the firm, and Ranen had been there for 20.
The top LA firm has more than 1,600 attorneys in offices around the world; it has previously represented celebrity clients like Salt Bae and Kathy Griffin.