David Otunga Sidley Austin I Love New York Above the Law blog.jpgLaw firms love free publicity. Especially law firms that have been in the news for having to pay $27.5 million to settle age discrimination claims by former partners.
Or maybe not:

David Otunga, a 2006 graduate of Harvard Law School and former associate at Sidley Austin, appeared in the first episode of I Love New York 2 on VH1 last night.

In case you’re not familiar with the show, here’s a synopsis:

“Tiffany “New York” Pollard is jumping back into the dating pool to find the man of her dreams. A fresh crop of twenty men are brought together to compete for her heart and this time the selection process has a twist….some of the chosen contestants vying for New York’s heart have been hand-picked by online users and some have been chosen by Tiffany’s outspoken mother, Sister Patterson.”

Back to our tipster:

[Otunga] was brought in as one of three or four “Mama’s Boys” (potential suitors selected by New York’s mother) and nicknamed “Punk.” He told New York that he was perfect for her, since he was an HLS grad and a lawyer at “one of the top law firms in the world.”

Unfortunately, that law firm — Sidley Austin — didn’t appreciate his appearance on the show, and the firm recently “suggested” to him that it may be in his best interest to pursue his “acting career” instead of his legal career. He’s no longer on the firm’s webpage.

More after the jump.


We understand that David Otunga was in Sidley’s Chicago office, where he was in the general litigation group. A nickname like “Punk” seems quite appropriate for a tough litigator from the Windy City.
From another source:

Apparently, an e-mail was sent around to his group (and forwarded to some people internally at Sidley) saying that he left to pursue “other opportunities” or some such euphemism which can mean many things but generally does not mean “appearing on I Love New York 2.” (Apparently the show was shot last summer. Currently unclear how he balanced that with working at Sidley in Chicago.)

Does anyone have a copy of said email? If so, we’d love to see it.
The many ATL readers who emailed us about Otunga had different reactions. Here’s one:

I’m not sure why Sidley is being a little weird about this. People will obviously find out, and David obviously wants the publicity (or if he does not it’s too late for that). I guess it’s not the greatest thing that ever happened to Sidley, but something tells me that a firm that survived the Chicago Fire and 9/11 (had an office in the World Trade Center) will survive this.

And don’t forget that age discrimination suit by a slew of former partners, too. But on the other hand:

This guy is at Sidley and is actually appearing on the next season of I Love New York. Is he kidding with this? Seriously, what does this do to your legal career?

TV show aside, how does he practice law and have such a cheesy web page? I just feel dirty looking at it… and the YouTube link to him bench pressing… Come on!!!!

I’m not sure why the guy has been taken off Sidley’s website… Scratch that, the reason is obvious! I’m also not sure whether he resigned or was fired, but the Illinois ARDC’s website still has him registered as working at Sidley… I’m sure that your sources will know more….

By the way, it seems there’s another legal eagle on the show:

The other contestant is a law student who didn’t state where he attends law school. He is also a Mama’s Boy and nicknamed “Pretty.” Here is his photo.

If you have more details about “Pretty,” feel free to email us. Thanks.
Update: More about Pretty appears here. More about David Otunga and his romance with Jennifer Hudson appears here and here.
I Love New York 2 [official website]
PUNK from VH1′s I Love New York [MySpace]
In Age-Bias Suit, Sidley To Pay Ex-Partners $27.5 Million [WSJ Law Blog]


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