The cast for the latest season of Survivor, which premieres on September 17, has been announced. This season, the show’s nineteenth, takes place on the tropical island of Samoa.
Four of the 20 contestants, or a fifth of the field, are either lawyers or law students. Is appearing on a reality television show the best way to wait out the recession?
We believe this to be the highest number of law-related contestants in a single season. We reached out to Charlie Herschel — the former Survivor contestant and current Weil Gotshal associate, who has encyclopedic knowledge of the show — and he said that, as far as he knows, four would be a record. Herschel explained:
Lawyers are making a better showing than bartenders for once on Survivor! There was a lawyer on the first Survivor who sued producers for rigging the show. Word was that they avoided casting lawyers after that.
Also, it’s generally difficult for lawyers to drop everything at a moment’s notice for the casting process and also for the show (which is required), so they have trouble casting lawyers. Most of the lawyers on survivor dont practice anymore.
Perhaps you know one of these four. Let’s learn more about them, shall we?
Elizabeth Kim: Elizabeth, a 33-year-old Korean-American with a dazzling resume — Barnard, Princeton, and U. Penn. Law — doesn’t currently practice:
After several years of practicing litigation at a top New York City law firm, Elizabeth now works as an urban planner in coordinating and managing industrial real estate development projects for New York City government, although just how much she’ll reveal to her fellow tribemates is still up in the air. “I’m not sure I’m going to tell people where I went to school or that I’m an attorney.”
Why so shy, Liz? Having been a litigation associate at Paul Weiss is nothing to be ashamed of.
(And Korean-American, non-practicing lawyers have a history of success on Survivor. E.g., Yul Kwon, who was a McKinsey consultant right before joining Survivor.)
Jaison Robinson: The handsome and athletic Jaison, 28, is a law student at the University of Chicago. He received his undergraduate degree at Stanford. Accordingly, his Survivor bio describes him as “very educated” (which, considering that he’s African-American, is perhaps better than calling him “articulate and bright and clean”).
Update: From someone who summered with Jaison last year at Latham: “I think he’s joining their SF office in December (not positive, though). The guy is a total badass, and really nice, too.”
Monica Padilla: Monica’s personal story is inspiring; she’s the first person in her family to get a college degree, as well as the first to get a law degree. Her educational pedigree is arguably less distinguished: “Recently, she graduated from the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, where she perfected, what she describes as, her power of persuasion.”
But this 25-year-old hottie looks great in a swimsuit — and she knows it:
She fully intends to use her beauty and the fact that she “can sell ice cubes to an Eskimo” to her advantage in the game.
Russell Swan: At 42, Russell is a bit older. We don’t know anything about his educational background. His bio describes his work as follows:
At 5’11″ and 220 “semi-solid” pounds, this attorney spends his working hours suing companies and individuals who violate environmental laws. In addition to practicing law, Russell enjoys spending time with his wife and five-year-old daughter and watching independent films.
We recommend Erin Brockovich.
Update: Per Martindale, Russell received his law degree from Temple and works for the EPA in Philadelphia. (Gavel bang: commenter.)
Will these legal eagles soar on Survivor? Charlie Herschel gave us this opinion:
I think these lawyers will do well. The hardest part is being cautious and logical in the moves that you make, both lawyerly attributes.
Very true. Which one of the quartet — Elizabeth, Jasion, Monica, or Russell S. — do you think will do the best on the show?