Apparently, client-attorney privilege flies out the window when the attorney starts rattling off homophobic slurs via email.
Instead, the comments become VERY public when they're submitted as evidence in the lawyer's very own personal hearing.
Denver, Colorado, lawyer Robert E. Abrams has been slapped with disciplinary measures after clients of his reported that he referred to a presiding judge with homophobic and fat-shaming slurs.
Abrams, in order to avoid a three-month suspension, must now complete 18 months of cultural sensitivity training, the American Bar Association Journal reports.
The trouble began back in 2016. A married couple hired Abrams to represent them in a construction contract dispute they had with the builder.
Judge Phillip Douglass, who presided over the case, apparently yelled at Abrams during a 2016 case management conference. Abrams did not take it well.
Though tight-lipped in the courtroom, Abrams took to email and vented his frustrations to his clients.
Colorado Supreme Court documents summarizing Abrams' subsequent disciplinary hearing include the text of his email:
"The judge hates me. It happens, it's not the first time. I probably remind him of someone who beat him up [when he] was a fat kid and now that he's a big fat judge he gets even w/ the bullies. Maybe he just hates Jews, who knows?"
"I was getting yelled at by Fatso. The judge is a gay, fat, f*g, now it's out there."
It's worth noting that even in his most bigoted moment, Abrams' lawyerly attention to detail made sure to capitalize his fat-shaming title.
During his disciplinary hearing, Abrams took the "political correctness" route to defend himself.
"Respondent is simply not a politically correct individual, and will never be politically correct because of his background, where and when he was raised, and life experiences…of which Respondent is proud."
As for his use of the homophobic slur, Abrams had an answer for that too, contending that the term, in his experience, was used to describe "a sissy" and not sexual preference. Abrams continued, "That's how the bullies talked to the weaklings when I grew up...You come on me, and I'm coming right back."
To further position the ordeal as a one-man anti-bullying campaign, Abrams cited his upbringing in High Park, Illinois, where he claimed to be bullied often, solidifying his self-declared title of "Chicago Street Fighter."
Abrams also attempted to prove a lack of homophobia by noting that he's represented multiple LGBTQ clients in the past.
According to his final opinion,William Lucero, the presiding judge at the disciplinary hearing did not yield to those rebuttals:
"The legal regulation system does—and should—set minimum standards for proper conduct when lawyers represent clients and in that role serve as intermediaries between clients and the legal system."
"This rule does not regulate bigotry; it regulates behavior. … In his private life, [Abrams] is free to speak in whatever manner he chooses. When representing clients, however, [Abrams] must put aside the schoolyard code of conduct and adhere to professional standards."
"[The legal] system is meant to serve all and dispense justice equally, without regard to race, gender, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status; when lawyers represent that system, their conduct must give effect to those principles."
Abrams plans to appeal Lucero's ruling. In the meantime, it's likely he hesitates at the keyboard before firing off email rants about this judge.