Patterico's Pontifications


How Not to Begin Your Legal Career

Filed under: Buffoons,Humor,Law — Angry Clam @ 7:08 am

[Posted by The Angry Clam]

There exists a grand tradition in the legal world that outsiders only rarely get to see. From voicemails to emails to sushi memoranda, all manner of tidbits get passed around. It shouldn’t be surprising, either, in such a document heavy profession.

Accordingly, I pass on to you what is, to my knowledge, the first great career-destroying email of 2006:

It begins innocently enough:

From: Dianna Abdala [mailto:]
Sent: Friday, February 03, 2006 9:23 PM
Subject: Thank you

Dear Attorney Korman,

At this time, I am writing to inform you that I will not be accepting your offer.
After careful consideration, I have come to the conclusion that the pay you are offering would neither fulfill me nor support the lifestyle I am living in light of the work I would be doing for you. I have decided instead to work for myself, and reap 100% of the benefits that I sew.

Thank you for the interviews.

Dianna L. Abdala, Esq.

Ok, that was a bit of a crass way to turn down a job, but hey, whatever, right? Well, of course there’s more to this story:

From: William A. Korman
To: ‘Dianna Abdala’
Sent: Monday, February 06, 2006 12:15 PM
Subject: RE: Thank you

Dianna –
Given that you had two interviews, were offered and accepted the job (indeed, you had a definite start date), I am surprised that you chose an e-mail and a 9:30 PM voicemail message to convey this information to me. It smacks of immaturity and is quite unprofessional. Indeed, I did rely upon your acceptance by ordering stationary and business cards with your name, reformatting a computer and setting up both internal and external e-mails for you here at the office. While I do not quarrel with your reasoning, I am extremely disappointed in the way this played out. I sincerely wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.
– Will Korman

OOOPS! Looks like cold feet for Ms. Abdala! Now it is really bad form, to have actually accepted the job and then to do what she did. So let’s see how she digs herself out:

From: Dianna Abdala [mailto:]
Sent: Monday, February 06, 2006 4:01 PM
To: William A. Korman
Subject: Re: Thank you

A real lawyer would have put the contract into writing and not exercised any such reliance until he did so.
Again, thank you.

NICE! If I received that, I would start to get really angry at that point. However, William Korman shows much more poise:

From: William A. Korman
To: ‘Dianna Abdala’
Sent: Monday, February 06, 2006 4:18 PM
Subject: RE: Thank you

Thank you for the refresher course on contracts. This is not a bar exam question. You need to realize that this is a very small legal community, especially the criminal defense bar. Do you really want to start pissing off more experienced lawyers at this early stage of your career?

A good point- most lawyers know each other, and they talk. Does Ms. Abdala learn from this? YOU BE THE JUDGE!

From: Dianna Abdala [mailto:]
Sent: Monday, February 06, 2006 4:29 PM
To: William A. Korman
Subject: Re: Thank you

bla bla bla

From here, Mr. Korman sends the email to one of his friends, a professor at Boston University School of Law, and remarks on how egregious Ms. Abdala’s conduct was. Prof. Breen asks, and receives, permission to pass it along some more. And that’s when the wildfire starts, eventually reaching some of Ms. Abdala’s classmates who don’t appear surprised at her behavior.

The real kicker, however, comes on February 14th, which earned the email its current subject line: “HAPPY VALENTINES DAY.” Curious? Here it is:

From: Death Wish [mailto:]
Sent: Tuesday, February 14, 2006 12:40 PM
Cc: [Huge list of emails, apparently the majority of the criminal defense bar]

Start from the bottom and read all the way up.

Nice. Very nice.

At the present time, I have been unable to reach Ms. Abdala for comment on this story.

I maintain, however, that “bla bla bla” is one of the greatest email responses in the history of the universe.

– This Public Service Announcement proudly presented to you by The Angry Clam

UPDATE: There’s an article in the Boston Globe about the controversy. Apparently, they were more successful in reaching her than I was.

Here’s the details: Korman interviews Abdala, who describes herself, unsurprisingly, as “a trust fund baby” who, after graduating from law school in 2004 “took it easy” because school was “hard,” but now has decided to finally, in 2006, get a job as an attorney. After the interview where he offers her a position, he determines that he needs two, not one, associate, and calls her back to ask her to come talk about the reductions in pay/arrangements this could result in. They do, and, he believes, she accepts the changes at this second interview.

However, she got bent out of shape about the paycut, because, as we saw in the email, it wasn’t enough to afford her the lifestyle that she believes she deserves, what with working so hard at Suffolk Law School and then trying to get a job as soon as she could afterwards. Hilarity ensues.

31 Responses to “How Not to Begin Your Legal Career”

  1. reap 100% of the benefits that I sew.

    So, she’s gonna be a seamstress? Good thing she’s got something to fall back on, ’cause she’ll never make a living practicing law. Heh.

    TNugent (6128b4)

  2. To your knowledge does Ms. Abdala troll the blogsphere signing her posts as “Meg”?

    PCD (8b503c)

  3. Let’s see: they’re both lawyers. They’re both combative, confrontational ond obnoxious. They made a small dispute into a big one. To hell with both of them. As a great sage once said, 99% of lawyers spoil the reputation of the other 1%.

    Justice Frankfurter (2dcd84)

  4. I’d leave Korman out of it. All he did was send it to a friend, and didn’t do anything I see as at all problematic.

    It isn’t as though he sent it to everyone and their mother. That’s the rest of the email forwarding chain’s pride.

    Angry Clam (fa7fff)

  5. Very funny, I’ll have to pass it along and spread the wildfire.

    Reputation in the legal field is gold; she just pissed it away.

    Consigliere (3f8ad8)

  6. Mr. Korman needs to check his spelling a little more thoroughly. He said he ordered “stationary and business cards”; I’m not sure what a stationary card looks like (as opposed to a business card). Perhaps he actually ordered stationery and business cards for her?

    That said, I’m sure we’ll see Ms. Ablada in her next gig, cranking out wills and trusts at a low-price shopping mall legal center.

    Steverino (f3bccb)

  7. Oops, I see my dyslexia has caught up with me…it should be “Ms. Abdala”. (Never correct someone else’s spelling when you can’t get it right, either.)

    Steverino (f3bccb)

  8. Angry Clam – it’s amazing to me how hard it seems to be for many people to grasp the concept of professional politeness.

    Had her email been apologetic and humble, and had it acknowledged the difficulty it would have caused for the employer she was leaving in the lurch and apologized for it, it would have been much better received.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  9. Wait a second here. We don’t know the Angry Clam’s real name, but we do know that he recently passed the bar exam. Is it possible, just possible, that The Angry Clam is the pseudonym for Dianna L. Abdala, Esq?

    Inquiring minds want to know! :)

    Dana (3e4784)

  10. Very possible, Dana. Here’s some potential difficulties:

    1) I did not pass the Massachussetts Bar Exam, but the California Bar Exam. Perhaps I’ve disguised the backgrounds.

    2) Can you really imagine me doing criminal defense work?

    3) I’m not a woman… yet.

    Aphrael- It gets worse. See the update.

    Angry Clam (fa7fff)

  11. There shouldn’t have been any cut in pay proposed after the hiring. If this is the way the employer bargains with the employee, it stinks–and if Miss Abdala was wealthy to begin with, that is not relevant. In Las Vegas, some would call the employer’s negotiating tactics welshing.

    Justice Frankfurter (2dcd84)

  12. It is unclear whether $$$ was settled at the first interview.

    Additionally, when he realized that his needs weren’t “bad attitude trust fund baby lawyer at $$$$” but “bad attitude trust fund baby lawyer at $$ and some other attorney also at $$” he (1) told her and (2) gave her the option of negotiating/backing out. No harm, no foul.

    Angry Clam (fa7fff)

  13. If the employer interviewed and hired a “bad attitude trust fund baby lawyer,” and if she was as bad as you make her sound, then he deserves what he got. But, once again, her supposed wealth is not relevant. In my view, any employer who pulls a stunt like this, even if the employeee can still negotiate further or back out, should be shunned by all prospective employees.

    Justice Frankfurter (2dcd84)

  14. I’ll be interested to see your review for the new show Prosecutors. I’m sure it will be dopey as all get out!

    Patricia (2cc180)

  15. The Clam says:

    3) I’m not a woman… yet.

    On the internet, you can be anyone you want to be! :)

    Dana (9f37aa)

  16. I’d love to see the email chain. Is it limited to the Boston Area or has it made it’s way out here in the West?

    The Story was linked on and already has
    32,193 views. SOmeone out there has to have recived the original email withthe chain attached.

    Consigliere (3f8ad8)

  17. Is it Ms. Abdala or Ms. Abla-bla-bla-da?

    dchamil (a16e82)

  18. Consigliere-

    I received it from a friend who was in California, and who had been receiving it through a couple of California-only law firms. So it is out west.

    The next one (I’ve gotten the chain twice) came from a friend practicing in Colorado, so it’s up in the mountains as well.

    Angry Clam (fa7fff)

  19. AC,

    I’m jelasous. I need a better class of friends.

    Consigliere (3f8ad8)

  20. A painful yet hillarious reminder that an email is

    We have heard about the horror stories related to bad picthes being picked up and made sport of. Every PR person wants to avoid such tales being told about them.

    Tech PR Gems (59ce3a)

  21. It seems that the Clamster has scooped AOL by a few days. Here’s the AOL story, complete with Miss Yabba-dabba-do’s picture.

    Dana (a90377)

  22. Dana, that link (in 21) just goes to your blog site talking about Able Danger (you clever dawg, you).

    Psyberian (4aee78)

  23. Anyone notice that she signed herself Dianna Abdala, Esq?

    That is so funny. A lawyer so ignorant she uses the term traditionally used as a single man’s sigs (esquire)!

    Hubblington (137177)

  24. I applaud her, she did the right thing, and brand new lawyers everywhere are applauding her. Everyone knows that experienced lawyers abuse new associates and treat them like slaves.
    1) He offered her one salary, and then lowered it with the claim that he needed to hire two people. Sleazy.
    2) As an experienced lawyer he should know:
    a) Put it in writing and have it signed by both parties. Thats what you tell your clients, right?
    b) Don’t forward email between you and another party, especially if it is a contentious exchange and tell them FORWARD TO WHOMEVER YOU WANT.
    Why should she have to stand for his crap?
    Good on you Diannna

    George M (5ecc76)

  25. […] Diana “Bla Bla Bla” Abdala seems to think so. […]

    damnum absque injuria » All Publicity is Good Publicity? (38c04c)

  26. Big F***ing Deal! Don’t you people have lives? Fat ass Americans have got nothing better to do than eat potato chips and sit on their fat cheeks in front of the computer. “On the internet, you can be anyone you want to be!” Oh, yes? Hm, I guess you can be skinny, speak a foreign language, and know that Lichtenstein is a country? Grow out of your sophomoric mentality! Just get over this boring story and go eat more pizza! Cheers.

    Big Pun (f3fd6e)

  27. The Lord Humungus thinks both of them squat to pee.

    The Lord Humungus (011976)

  28. Hmm… funny how Blogger number 26 believes we Americans are all fat and sit in front of the computer about a boring story. How did you get on this site anyways? I am one to make fun of the Americans myself as I am one but you sir are quite the hypocritical arse. If it weren’t for our fat asses, you couldn’t even enjoy sitting in front of your computer and blogging about how fat we are. Hats off to you dear sir. Glad we beat your not-so-fat asses out of our country some years ago. Cheers!

    erosfood (b1105c)

  29. She is nasty indeed… but does she have a nice ass at least?

    John Statton (051ab8)

  30. Talk about bad manners and immaturity … John Statton’s comment on 12/20 ” She is nasty indeed… but does she have a nice ass at least?”

    Offended (224382)

  31. I’ve been reading about this a lot lately, and one thing pops into my mind — Whole Grain Pop Tarts really are a pretty good substitute for the frosting-covered ones, and 4 out of 5 members of the Massachusetts bar agree.

    Andres Rey (6225a5)

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