Starting February 15th, you’ll be able to spend your Sunday nights watching hottie Biglaw siblings Victor and Tammy Jih go global as they compete for $1 million in the Amazing Race.
As noted yesterday, Victor Jih, 35, is a partner at O’Melveny and Myers, while Tammy Jih, 26, is an associate at Quinn Emanuel. We had a three-way with them yesterday, and asked about trading Biglaw for reality TV, how they got on the show, spending 4 weeks Blackberry-less, and whether Victor really thinks Africa is a country.
Victor may be the senior Biglaw member of the family, but Tammy always jumps in first to answer questions. Check out the interview, after the jump.
Kash: How did you decide to do the Amazing Race? Are you longtime fans of the show?
Tammy: Victor is the bigger fan of the show. He’s been watching since the first season, and got me watching. But I am the one who decided we should apply.
Victor: I actually thought about applying before. When I was a junior associate, I talked about applying with a friend who had just made partner. We thought the show would love that. But we never applied.
Kash: What did you do to set yourselves apart in your application video?
Tammy: We just acted like ourselves. We were nerdy and fought with each other.
Victor: I told a story about a dream I had where Tammy was kidnapped by aliens. I called her on a cell phone to warn her. In the dream, she wouldn’t listen to me, and she died.
Tammy: In the morning, he called me and he was actually mad at me.
Kash: You both went to Stanford, then Harvard Law School, and practice law in California now. Why have you followed such similar paths?
Tammy: Victor likes to think I am following in his footsteps but I don’t see it that way… To put it in a way ATL readers would understand, in law school, Victor wrote the outlines that everyone studied off of. I was the one copying and studying off of outlines.
Kash: For the filming of the show, you had to be out of the office from Oct. 31 through Nov. 21. And you couldn’t tell your firms that you were doing the Amazing Race, due to CBS rules. How were you able to take the time off to compete?
Tammy: I had been on a trial for a few months, and people were actually expecting me to take time off.
Victor: As a partner, it was really hard… If a client had not wanted me to do it, I wouldn’t have… There was a lot of trust at the firm and with clients.
Kash: How did you go four weeks without email or phone access or the ability to address client needs?
Victor: Both of us had paid our dues, and worked really hard at our firms. Tammy was coming off of an intense trial…
Tammy: I had actually already hit my hours before I left.
Victor: It was easy to get people to rally behind us… If I didn’t have clients who were totally on board, I wouldn’t have done it. One client said she’s a big believer in work/life balance, and that it applies to me as well.
Kash: How many e-mails awaited you when you returned?
Tammy: Hundreds and hundreds
Victor: Over a thousand, even after having gotten off of every spam list I could think of before I left.
Kash: How is the return to Biglaw after racing the world?
Tammy: Jarring. I am giving interviews today in the midst of writing a motion.
Victor: Taking a moment away was invigorating and recharging. One of the dangers of being a lawyer is losing your humanity so it was good to be out in the world and interacting with people.
Kash: What’s been the reaction at Quinn Emanuel and O’Melveny since finding out Monday that you are starring in the Amazing Race?
Tammy: People were a little mad at me for keeping it a secret.
Victor: I’ve been getting a lot of e-mails from partners, associates and staff wishing me luck. But I’m sure I’ll be the talk at the water cooler once the show starts. I’ve already been getting lots of flak about calling Africa a country. [Ed. note: In this CBS clip]
Kash: Did your familiarity with the law help you at any point along the way during the Race? How did being lawyers set you apart from the other competitors?
Tammy: Both Victor and I know how to work really hard with very little sleep.
Victor: We knew we would be presented with a lot of challenges that we wouldn’t know how to do. We’ve been through a lot of school, and we’re good at learning… Plus, part of being a lawyer is figuring out something you know nothing about on a regular basis.
Kash: Soon you’ll join the ranks of famous Harvard law grads. Two other famed HLS grads, Barack Obama and John Roberts, were in the spotlight on Jan. 20 during the Inauguration. What are your thoughts on the oath flub by your fellow alumni?
Tammy: You can’t put us in the same sentence as those two!
Victor: Given my own flub on Africa as country, I am very empathetic and totally understand. But I went into this whole thing knowing that I would make mistakes. Everyone does. It’s more interesting to be a person who does.
Kash: So as the latest hottie Biglaw reality TV stars, can you tell me your relationship statuses?
Tammy: I have a boyfriend, who’s actually a Harvard Law School grad.
Victor: I’m Facebook single… Maybe I should stop talking.