Kids, Law Schools, Television

Teen Prodigy: Smart Enough to Go To Law School at 19, Dumb Enough to Go To Law School

hilary duff to star in barely legal.jpgKate McLaughlin will be the youngest 1L at Northwestern Law School this fall, at just 19 years old, reports the Orange County Register.
McLaughlin, who graduated from high school at 12 and from UC San Diego at 17, rocked the LSAT (score: 174) and is going to law school because she wants to save the world:

McLaughlin is not sure yet what she wants to do with her law degree, but hopes it will help her to be more effective in lobbying for the social causes she feels passionately about – feminism, combatting racism, equal rights for gays and lesbians, and international humanitarianism.
“I’m an idealist; I want to change the world,” she said. “I bleed blue; I’m a Democrat. I’m an ardent feminist. I’m big on LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) rights – Prop. 8 was a big issue for me.”

The Wall Street Journal Law Blog questions McLaughlin’s decision to go to law school:

[S]he says being a lawyer isn’t at the top of her to-do list. Rather, she wants to be a science fiction writer…

We’re all for law school — and who are we to say what McLaughlin should do? — but, frankly, we sort of share McLaughlin’s worry about not having time to do the things she’s interested in. How about making a run in the science-fiction world and then heading to law school a bit down the road?

McLaughlin’s not the first especially young one to head to law school. After the jump, we give you a round-up of other barely pubescent law school students and how they’ve fared. One of them has fared especially well — her life might be turned into a TV sitcom about life as an underage lawyer, starring Hilary Duff.


The most famous of the Doogie Howser, J.D. bunch — at least around here — is Kiwi Camara. He enrolled at Harvard Law School at age 16 and graduated in 2004. Things haven’t been easy for this prodigy. He stepped into controversy for racial comments at HLS, fumbled an assistant professor appointment at GMU, and recently botched his big RIAA case. This Kiwi may be a little underripe.
Another prodigy we wrote about was Nicole Matisse, who graduated from the University of Michigan in just one year, at age 19. She decided to go to Wayne State University Law School, to our puzzlement — and was never heard from again.
A prodigy who has fared better, or at least stayed in a positive light, is Kathleen Holtz. Holtz passed the California bar exam at age 18, is a second-year associate at TroyGould, and, by our count, is not yet 21.
We’re not the only ones taken with Holtz. Hollywood is interested as well. From the Hollywood Reporter:

NBC loves shows about young female lawyers this development season. On the heels of the pilot order for David E. Kelley’s legal dramedy “Legally Mad,” the network has picked up for development “Barely Legal,” a half-hour comedy based on the true story of Kathleen Holtz, who in November 2007 passed the notoriously difficult California bar at age 18 to become the state’s youngest lawyer. “Barely,” which has received a script commitment, hails from actor Rob Morrow, who developed the project through his company Bits and Pieces Prods. and is exec producing.

Buddy TV reported in January that Hilary Duff was slated to play Holtz.
Unfortunately, these articles are from January, and we haven’t heard anything about Barely Legal recently. Maybe Hollywood’s waiting until Holtz is 21 to have her sign rights to her life away.
Irvine teen heads to law school [Orange County Register]
A Tale of a Law School Bound Teenager [WSJ Law Blog]
Hilary Duff Stars in New NBC Series Based on Kathleen Holtz [Buddy TV]

144 comments
(hidden for your protection)

comments sponsored by

Show all comments

Our Sites

  • Above the Law
  • How Appealing
  • ATL Redline
  • Breaking Defense
  • Breaking Energy
  • Breaking Gov
  • Dealbreaker
  • Fashonista
  •