2nd Circuit, Biglaw, Law Professors, Law Schools, Movies

From Child Star to Law Star: Meet Professor Charles Korsmo

What happens when a child star’s fame fizzles out? Like many one-hit wonders, they’ll try to keep their careers afloat by starring in new roles, but sometimes the spark is just gone. While some try to remain relevant by serving as crime commentators on truTV, others just try to keep their names out of crime blotters. Still others have been trying their hands at the other side of the law.

For example, you’ve surely heard that Jeff Cohen, otherwise known as Chunk from The Goonies, is now a truffle-shuffling lawyer. Josh Saviano, aka Paul Pfeiffer from The Wonder Years, is now a lawyer too (sans the geeky glasses).

Yet another notable child star has moved past the practice of law to enter the classroom, but the law school where he teaches is a long way from the Paradise City….

If you’re a child of the 90s, you’ll fondly remember this scene from Can’t Hardly Wait, where a nerd has his drunken moment of glory at a high school graduation party:

This nerd goes by Charles Korsmo, and he’s a Yale Law School grad with a Second Circuit clerkship under his belt. He’s currently serving as an assistant law professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Law, but prior to his time at Case Western, he was a visiting professor at Brooklyn Law School. Before deciding to pursue teaching, Korsmo was a litigation associate at uber-prestigious Sullivan & Cromwell.

Charlie Korsmo

Compared to the rest of his child star compatriots, Korsmo’s career track is a major upgrade, because it seems like he managed to avoid going on coke and heroin benders. Plus, Korsmo got to star in a movie whose catchphrase inspired an entire Skrillex album.

Most known for his roles in Hook and Can’t Hardly Wait, Korsmo wanted nothing to do with entertainment law when he started practicing law — it just didn’t interest him. Here’s a quip from Korsmo’s interview with the Case Western Law Docket on what does interest him:

[T]hat’s where my practice experience is – corporate and banking law. It’s always something I’ve been interested in. What I’m particularly interested in is the real life impact of legal rules and legal structures. I think that the fundamental legal structures that shape our society come from corporate and financial law.

When asked if he thought whether acting had influenced his career as a lawyer, Korsmo noted that he thought it was “really helpful to have a bit of a performance background as a lawyer, at least in theory.” After all, as a professor, Korsmo says he gets to do improv theatre every day. Perhaps given the state of the job market, Korsmo will advise some of his students on how to pursue acting as an alternative career choice.

But if not, we’ll just hold out hope that he serenades his students with Paradise City on the last day of class.

Interview With Child Actor and New Professor Charles Korsmo [Case Western Law Docket]
Legally Speaking: Some child actors go to rehab; others go to law school [Southeast Texas Record]

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