The Legal Beat
Law Professor Responds To All-Female Bar Leadership Team With ‘Where Are The Men?’
Posted on Tuesday February 27, 2024
The Philadelphia Bar Association recently elected new leadership for its Environmental and Energy Law committees, congratulating its new co-chairs and vice-chair with a LinkedIn post. It’s the sort of mundane professional post that quickly fades into the LinkedIn noise without much notice.
But then environmental lawyer and NYU adjunct Larry Schnapf added this comment to the conversation:
Maybe there are more guys out there upset about losing the battle of the sexes!
It is possible that he genuinely intended to bemoan the “reverse discrimination” of white dudes not holding every position of authority in perpetuity, but for the sake of this article, let’s give this the benefit of the doubt. Mostly because assuming some sort of post-ironic reading makes for a much more interesting professional discussion.
Because if we assume this to be a genuine take, the response would be “screw this guy” and we could wind up this post right here.
Of note, America has advanced sufficiently that a casual observer probably wouldn’t have even clocked that all three elected officers in the post were women. Had it not been for Schnapf’s comment, I certainly would’ve overlooked that. There can be advantages to bringing attention to these markers of progress.
Lampooning the chumps who would look at three women winning an election and whine about the plight of men can be a fun way to convey this achievement too. For someone deeply ensconced in the environmental law professional scene, Schnapf might have thought a cheeky quip would make all his professional contacts smile as they knowingly nod at the clever satire.
LinkedIn is not like other social media platforms where folks routinely limit their comments to people who know them personally. Sarcasm like this won’t really play if the audience has nothing else to go on, and on LinkedIn that audience will include a whole lot of people who have to take the text at face value. Someone who takes the time and effort to build an online reputation for satire — like, say, New York Times Pitchbot or Three Year Letterman — can get away with acontextual irony, but that’s not a professionally advisable LinkedIn move for an attorney posting under his own name.
Know your online limitations, people. Leave unadorned sarcasm for a forum where everyone can see what you’re trying to do.
Joe Patrice is a senior editor at Above the Law and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to email any tips, questions, or comments. Follow him on Twitter if you’re interested in law, politics, and a healthy dose of college sports news. Joe also serves as a Managing Director at RPN Executive Search.