Precisely what Illinois attorney Marvin Gerstein should have asked himself. He had helped his union-member client obtain an arbitration hearing with the client’s employer, Kraft Foods. Although the union had a lawyer at the arbitration representing the client, Gerstein was there too in a “nonrepresentative capacity.” When the arbitrator asked if anyone objected to Gerstein sitting in, Kraft’s attorney, Ms. Nimz, said that she did. She stated that the union’s agreement with Kraft “provided that employees who filed grievances were to be represented by the union’s attorney and did not have an independent right to be represented by private counsel.” The arbitrator agreed, and Mr. Gerstein was booted out. Ten days later, he sent Ms. Nimz a letter including the following paragraph:
More importantly, as far as I am concerned, in the twenty-six years that I have practiced law, I have never met, in a limited basis, a more despicable self-made piece of dog shit than you. You are a fucking slime-ball and a fucking slime-bag and I piss on your existence. What I want to tell you specifically is to take this letter and jam it up your asshole, resulting in severe paper cuts. You are a used condom of the highest order.
Ouch! So what did the diciplinary commission do with this? Very little. Mr. Gerstein was censured (the equivalent of “you’ve been a bad boy”). If you’re really, really bored, you can read the opinion by clicking here, entering “Marvin Ira Gerstein” and clicking on entry #7.