Ed. note: Please welcome Jenny M. Brandt, who will be covering celebrities and the law. You can read her full bio at the end of this post.
As an attorney, I have noticed how obsessed other attorneys are with boxing in our identities. Either you’re a plaintiff’s attorney or a defense attorney. A prosecutor or a public defender. A Biglaw sell out or a public interest bleeding heart. Everything about you can be learned from which area of law you pursued. To some degree, these stereotypes ring true. I could never be a prosecutor, and there are few I’d like to have a drink with. They are a certain kind of person. But, in many ways, these boxes restrict us from living life free to enjoy all that is out there for consumption.
I view the aversion to celebrity gossip among attorneys as a byproduct of this black and white thinking. What does it say about you if you actually care that a criminal defense attorney allegedly slept with Lamar Odom, a Kardashian husband? Attorneys like to sound smart and believe the same about themselves. Consuming celebrity gossip with the masses means that you are a commoner, lowbrow, lacking in sophistication, or just plain dumb. Right?
The truth is that we are drawn to law because we love a good story. We love the details. We love the drama. We love the juice. There is nothing lowbrow or shameful about the desire for details. It is the bread and butter of the legal profession. Celebrity gossip offers everything we love about the law. Drama. Tragedy. Destruction and resurrection. Complex human behavior. Mistakes. Growth. Messiness and picking up the pieces.
I roll my eyes when I hear someone complaining about the Kardashians being famous, Miley Cyrus being gratuitous, or Britney Spears lacking musical talent. Dear complainers: can you be any more clichéd? Pretending to be above celebrity gossip bores me. It’s no fun. It’s a little square-ish. And, frankly, it makes me suspect you have demons hiding in your closet. Nobody likes the opera, escargot, and museums all the time. Loosen up.
For those that already know the merits of celebrity gossip, like me I’m sure you go nuts when you have to watch coverage of a celebrity legal entanglement. The analysis is always off and shallow. The wrong legal terms are used. It is like listening to a lecture about constitutional law from a second grader. As an attorney and a celebrity gossip lover, I wanted more. So I’ve joined the team here at Above the Law to write about celebrity lawlessness with the sophistication (yes I said it) that a lawyer and drama lover can bring to the table.
I wake up each morning to check SCOTUSblog, TMZ, Perez Hilton, and then the new Ninth Circuit and California court opinions, in that order. As a drama consumer, I’m in no position to think I’m above any gossip. It’s time to free yourself to feed on the nitty-gritty, juicy details of any drama that comes your way. We make our living by profiting on the tragedies of our clients. It’s time to profit emotionally by watching the downfall of those famous folks we think we know. To look away is unlawyerly.
Jenny M. Brandt is a criminal defense and appellate attorney in the Bay Area, California. She loves all things criminal law, celebrity gossip, and corgis, and has a blog at www.juicejusticeandcorgis.com. She graduated from UCLA (’05) and UCLA School of Law (’09) with a concentration in Critical Race Studies.