Saturday, April 08, 2006

SOUND OFF: LAWYERS WHO E-MAIL AND THE PEOPLE WHO LAUGH AT THEM

I asked readers if they thought that Dianna Abdala was wrong to turn down a law firm's job offer by e-mail, whether William Korman, the lawyer offering the job, was wrong to scold her for doing so, whether she was wrong to question his abilities as a "real lawyer," whether he was wrong to ask if this was the foot upon which she wanted to start out a professional career, whether she should have responded "bla, bla, bla" and whether he should have circulated their e-mails to his legal colleagues.

There seems to be general agreement that Abdala was, if not actually wrong from an ethical standpoint, at least ill-advised.

"Her e-mails show immaturity and a tremendous lack of judgment," writes Lisa Metzger of Orange County, Calif.

"I consider Mr. Korman's response appropriate, given the apparent inconvenience to him," writes William Severns of Cambridge, Ohio. "It was to Ms. Abdala's benefit that someone advise her early in her professional career as to appropriate behavior."

Some felt, however, that Korman also was out of line.

"I agree with William Korman that Dianna Abdala's e-mail response to a job offer was unprofessional," writes Michelle Geissbuhler of Worthington,Ohio. "However, he trumped her in immaturity by responding in kind and by circulating the resulting exchange among his peers."

"If this isn't a put-on or hoax," writes John Minton of St. Louis, "then`can't fix stupid' would seem to fit."

The e-mail exchange between Korman and Abdala can be found by http://kirixchi.livejournal.com/255295.html. To add your own comments, click on "Comments" below. Please include your name and hometown in your comment.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think it is wise to bear in mind that NONE OF US has the whole story. Some sources have said that Mr. Big Shot first offered Ms. Newbie a position at a stated salary then reneged. If so, she had some reason to be miffed. as always, context chanegs meaning.

Whether this alleged fact is true or not i don't know. what i DO knows this-- there ARE contextal facts we do NOT know.

What IS an indisputable fact is that using email leaves one open to being distibuted/published to the entire world, and any time one chooses email to communicate, this is a very real risk.

The rest is speculation.

Ethicaly, i am not sure there IS a question-- let alone an answer.

bjhickman143 said...

There is definitely a question and definitely an answer. Mr. Korman may not have handled things in a completely appropriate manner but he came a lot closer than Ms. Abdala. She showed her true colors, and Mr. Korman had the right to make sure his colleagues knew not to offer a position to her in the future.

This is the danger of communicating via email. When she responded like a child and pressed "Send", she forfeited her rights to keep this correspondence private.

She had control of the situation and forfeited that control when she behaved childishly. He could have been the "bigger person" and kept it to himself (as well as chosen his words in response more carefully...which I'm certain will also come back to haunt HIM) but she has to recognize his response was a consequence of her actions.

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