Commentary on Fallout from Barber Ranen Resignations

June 6, 2023

Zach Olsen’s comments in American Lawyer recognized by Above the Law in ‘Quote of the Day’ feature

In a recent discussion with The American Lawyer, Infinite Global President Zach Olsen spoke about the abrupt resignations of Barber Ranen’s founding partners, John Barber and Jeff Ranen. Their exits resulted from the shocking revelation of email communications filled with misogynistic, racist and homophobic language.

“This is about as bad as it gets when it comes to negative publicity,” Zach Olsen stated. “You don’t often see this level of misogynistic, racist and antisemitic content because people—even horrible people—know better than to put things in writing. The timing of it all, not just for John Barber and Jeff Ranen, but for the dozens of attorneys and staff who followed them to start the new firm, is atrocious.”

Not only does an event of this magnitude impact the individuals implicated, but it also tarnishes the public image of everyone at the organization, including the attorneys and staff brought on board to launch the new firm. The timing of this revelation could not have been worse.

Timothy Graves, CEO of Barber Ranen, confirmed that upon the surfacing of these objectionable emails, immediate action was taken to remove both Barber and Ranen from their roles. These emails, showcasing 14 years of inappropriate language, came to light following an internal investigation by Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith. The investigation had been instigated by an anonymous complaint about Barber and Ranen’s conduct during their tenure at the firm.

Lewis Brisbois, for its part, is doing “all of the right things,” Olsen said, praising the firm’s crisis management. Key measures include promptly setting up a dedicated investigative team, maintaining transparency about the progress of the investigation, and tactfully distancing the organization from both Barber and Ranen.

Despite the turmoil, Olsen believes in the resilience of the firm, provided it continues to handle the situation appropriately. “I don’t believe this will have long-term implications for Lewis Brisbois, assuming they keep doing the right things and nothing else comes out that could call the firm’s culture into question,” Olsen said.

In addition to being quoted in The American Lawyer, Above the Law recognized Olsen in its Quote of the Day feature here.

For more insights into the ongoing Barber Ranen Resignations, continue reading on The American Lawyer (subscription required).

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