Lawyer calls client a ‘small penis as*hole’ — then challenges him to a duel over billing dispute

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By Judge John Hack on

Row with your client? Insult the size of his manhood and then figuratively slap him in face with a silk glove


An Illinois lawyer has invoked the spirit of early 19th-century US vice-president Aaron Burr by challenging one of his clients to a duel.

But Donald Franz — whose firm, Donald Franz Law Offices, is some 40 miles northwest of Chicago — has taken the tradition a step further, spicing up the “glove slap” with a pejorative reference to his adversary’s manhood.

According to papers filed with the Illinois state supreme court’s Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission, this epic tussle is rooted in a mundane dispute over a fee for tax law advice.

Suffice it to say that lawyer and client fell out, resulting in an entertaining email from the former. A report from US legal news service Law360 (£) quoted an extract in which Franz is alleged to have called his client a “small penis asshole”.

According to the papers filed with the authorities, Franz is then alleged to have ramped up the dispute:

…there is only one man involved between us. I challenge you to a duel, you pick the time, place and manner.

Franz maintained that he was not literally calling his former client out for a session of pistols — or rapiers, for that matter — at dawn. Instead, he was suggesting the more modern duelling ground of the Illinois small claims court.

Probably for the best. As students of immediate post-colonial American history will know, Burr’s challenge didn’t work out so well for Alexander Hamilton. The US’s first Treasury Secretary (pictured below) died from Burr’s pistol shot during their 1804 contretemps in the New Jersey woods.