Reality TV

Stephen Steven lawyer New York Bachelorette.jpgLawyers tend to do well on reality TV shows. Siblings Victor and Tammy Jih, both California lawyers, just won a million dollars on The Amazing Race. Back in 2006, another Asian attorney, Yul Kwon, snagged a seven-figure prize on Survivor: Cook Islands.
(By the way, May is Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month. Yay Asians! Two of your ATL editors, yours truly and Elie Ying Mystal, are Asian American.)
Not surprisingly, lawyers tend to excel on reality TV shows involving skill and strategy. Alas, fluency in legalese might not be helpful when you’re trying to speak the language of love. From a tipster:

No story on the lawyer on the season premiere of The Bachelorette? The guy was a total douche, but he redeemed himself with his closing line. As he had just failed to make the first cut of guys that the Bachelorette was interested in, he told the camera, “Maybe she’s just not into awesome guys.”

Another reader wrote, about eliminated contestant Stephen (above right; he looks a bit like Bob Saget):

This guy is 30, apparently just graduated law school, is a lawyer in NYC, and when he got kicked off the show said that the B’ette didn’t understand what happens in cities, prefers hicks, etc. He was utterly douchey…. If you were to do a post, I’m sure you’d find out more about this dude…

If you know more about New York lawyer Stephen, feel free to share in the comments. It looks like he won’t be threatening the record of Texas lawyer Jeremy Anderson, who currently holds the title of the longest-lasting attorney contestant on The Bachelorette.
Commentary on The Cougar, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyers Losing at Love: Bounced from The Bachelorette, Cut from The Cougar”

tammy and victor jih.jpgBack in January, we interviewed siblings Victor Jih, a partner at O’Melveny & Myers, and Tammy Jih, an associate at Quinn Emanuel, who starred on this season’s Amazing Race. Little did we know in January that we were talking to this season’s race winners. Last night, the Jihs beat out some cheerleaders and a deaf kid and his mom to win the Amazing Race prize.
(For the uninitiated, the Amazing Race is a reality TV show where teams of two race around the world in the hopes of winning $1 million.)
Not everyone is thrilled for the Harvard Law grads. The Chicago Sun-Times is asking whether the Mandarin-speaking Chinese-American siblings had an unfair advantage in China. And the Associated Press called the finish of the race “heartbreaking:”

Luke Adams, 22, just graduated as the valedictorian of the Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind, and raced with his mother Margie, 50. They were in the lead heading into the last competition, which involved picking out surfboards with insignias representing every leg of their trip. Luke started fast but couldn’t get the last one right.
As he was frustrated, Victor Jih completed his task and headed into a taxi for the finish line.

Maybe the AP would be happier for the twins if they realized how tough lawyers have it these days. Or maybe not. Regardless, we bet that $500k bonus feels pretty good to each sibling. We checked in with them via e-mail, but got just a brief reply from Tammy:

Thanks for watching the show! Sorry we could not respond earlier. I have not been on the internet, but I am assuming you have already written your article. Sorry for the delayed response, but we have had a busy last 24 hours, as I am sure you can imagine!

Actually, we’ve been delinquent in watching the show regularly this season, but we got reviews from folks who have. The reviews and a photo of the Jihs in (admittedly-conservative) beach attire, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Biglaw Siblings Take Gold in the Amazing Race”

tammy and victor jih.jpgStarting 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.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Interview with soon-to-be Reality TV Stars, Victor and Tammy Jih”

tammy and victor jih.jpgThe Amazing Race is a reality TV show where teams of two race around the world in the hopes of winning $1 million. The 14th season of the show debuts on February 15th, and will star hot legal siblings, Victor and Tammy Jih.

Victor Jih, 35, is a partner at O’Melveny and Myers, while Tammy Jih, 26, is an associate at Quinn Emanuel. In this CBS video clip, Tammy says she hasn’t “had exactly the same life experience that Victor has had.” We think she just means in terms of length of time spent in Biglaw. Both Jihs went to Stanford undergrad and Harvard Law School, and now work as attorneys in California.

According to their bios on the CBS site:

Tammy is a litigator who believes that her ability to keep a cool head under pressure, especially with little or no sleep, will lead to success on the Race. Her biggest pet peeve with her brother is that he’s a bit of a control freak…

Victor is a partner at his law firm and works as a corporate litigator. He is running the Race to see if he and his sister can co-exist in a hyper-competitive situation without driving each other crazy.

We’re going to be catching up with the Jihs in an interview later today. If you have questions you’d like us to ask the hottie reality TV stars, beyond their practice groups and relationship statuses, send us an e-mail with the subject “Amazing Race.”

Check out a video clip of the two, as well as a little info on who they’re up against, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Biglaw Siblings to Compete on the Amazing Race”

Jeremy Anderson.jpgWhere do lawyers turned reality TV contestants go? After their television careers, they take different paths.

Some return to their law firms. E.g., Charlie Herschel (Survivor / Weil Gotshal); Denise Gitsham (The Bachelor / K&L Gates); and Stacy Rotner (The Apprentice / Sidley). Some stay in the world of entertainment. E.g., David Otunga (engaged to Oscar-winning songstress Jennifer Hudson); Yul Kwon (Survivor winner, who then worked for CNN as a special correspondent).

And some have ups and downs. Remember Jeremy Anderson, the hottie from Hunton & Williams who competed for DeAnna Pappas’s hand on the latest season of The Bachelorette? Shortly after the show ended, his life wasn’t so glamorous. From a Texas tipster:

Jeremy, the runner-up from the Bachelorette, is working as a contract attorney upstairs at my firm [McKool Smith in Dallas]. Looks like Hunton Williams didn’t invite him back to the firm after the show ended. I heard about it because a bunch of the secretaries were going to the doc review floor to go check him out. I personally wasn’t about to make my way up there to stare at the guy.

Other indignities inflicted upon poor Jeremy (from a different reader, in mid-September):

I was at lunch today at Jason’s Deli in downtown Dallas with all of the other downtown workers. Well, all of a sudden, a familiar face walked in for a take-out order: Jeremy from the Bachelorette. My, how the mighty have fallen. From national TV to getting his own lunch.

And that wasn’t the end of it. Get this: Jeremy Anderson has been doing catalog modeling for JCPenney. And not just regular JC Penney, but the JC Penney outlet store.

(No joke — we have photographic proof. The photos show that Jeremy, whose magnificent shirtless torso was featured prominently on The Bachelorette, has gained weight since leaving the show.)

But our hero’s tale has a happy ending. Read more, and check out the pictures — including the J.C. Penney catalog images — after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Where Is He Now? An Update on Jeremy Anderson, Lawyer Turned Bachelorette Contestant”

1a Charlie Herschel David Lat.JPG
Lawyer turned Survivor contestant Charlie Herschel, right, with your above-signed writer (in the yellow Survivor do-rag).

As previously reported in these pages, Charlie Herschel — a 29-year-old, openly gay associate at Weil, Gotshal & Manges in New York — is a contestant on Survivor: Gabon, which had its two-hour season premiere last night. We’re pleased to report that Charlie is still in the running for the one million dollars. To read more about our handsome hero, including details of his friendship with fellow gay Clay Aiken, check out this interesting interview with Herschel in The Advocate.

Last night, we headed over to Professor Thom’s in the East Village, to attend a “Survivor” premiere party in Charlie’s honor. It was hosted by his employer, Weil Gotshal — which is doing well in the downturn, thanks in large part to its top-flight bankruptcy practice.

Correction: The party was not officially hosted by Weil, although many WGM attorneys were in attendance.

More discussion, plus a slideshow of party pics, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “ATL Party Crash: The Survivor Premiere Party”

Charlie Herschel Charles Herschel Weil Gotshal Manges Survivor.jpgThings are looking good these days for Weil, Gotshal & Manges. For the sixth year in a row, it made the top 10 of the Vault 100. It took fourth place in the American Lawyer’s A-List rankings, and turned in a strong showing in the magazine’s midlevel associate survey (#11 out of 80+ New York firms).
And Weil attorneys are an interesting crew, too. Some plunge into rapping careers. And some compete on reality shows!
Meet first-year associate Charlie Herschel. He’s a contestant on the latest season of Survivor, premiering on September 25. From his bio:

Charlie Herschel has been a fan of SURVIVOR since the first season and has been training for it ever since. A lawyer for one of the top 10 most prestigious law firms in the world, Herschel is ready to try his persuasion skills on a different type of jury.

This 29-year-old, marathon-running attorney and University of Pennsylvania graduate says he is above nothing when he gets to the island. Charlie’s strategy is to be authentic but with a twist. “With high risks, come high rewards, but the risks must be calculated.” The middle son of three boys and a native New Yorker, the Ivy Leaguer is not afraid to claw his way to the top.

Charles Herschel WGM headshot.jpgIf Herschel can survive in the Biglaw jungle, Gabon should be a piece of cake. And there’s precedent for lawyers faring well on Survivor. E.g., Yul Kwon (winner of Survivor: Cook Islands, and a year behind us at YLS).
Now, large law firms can be a bit stodgy. Some don’t react well to their associates’ forays into reality television. See, e.g., David Otunga (from I Love New York 2, and no longer at Sidley); Jeremy Anderson (from The Bachelorette, and no longer at Hunton & Williams). But see Denise Gitsham (welcomed back by K&L Gates, after appearing on The Bachelor); Stacy Rotner (still at Sidley, after appearing on The Apprentice; guess it’s more respectable than I Love New York 2).
What was Weil’s response to Charlie Herschel going on Survivor? Find out — and ogle photos of a shirtless Herschel — after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Another Law Firm ‘Survivor’: Meet Charlie Herschel”

ATL Idol Above the Law Idol AboveTheLaw Idol medium.jpg
Six lawyers, currently or formerly at large law firms, hoping to make the jump to the writing life (read: working in pajamas). One leading legal tabloid, in need of its next lead editor. A mass of angry anonymous commenters, looking for someone new with whom to have a love-hate relationship.
“THIS…. is ATL Idol.”
It’s a reality-show-style competition, in which site readers will pick the new editor in chief of AboveTheLaw.com — the recipient of some 3 million page views a month, described by the Washington Post as “a must-read legal blog.” We believe it to be the first time that a full-time blogging gig — one with a salary you can live on, health insurance, and even a 401(k) — has been awarded through a “reality blogging” contest.
Back in May, we posted a help wanted ad for a new full-time writer here at Above the Law. Over the weeks that followed, we received a slew of excellent applications. We also located additional prospects through personal networking. All in all, we probably considered almost 100 talented candidates.
We narrowed the list down to six highly impressive finalists. But we found the prospect of choosing just one of them to be agonizing.
So we’ve decided to outsource this task to you, the readership of Above the Law. Over the next three weeks, the finalists will blog on ATL, for your consideration. Just as they would on a true reality TV show, the “assignments” will vary from week to week (details about them to follow).
Each Friday, we will open the polls, allowing you to vote for your favorite — the blogger you’d like to see take the helm at this venerable legal tabloid. At the end of week one, the bottom two out of six finalists — the pair of contestants with the fewest votes — will be eliminated. Next week, the reader vote will take four finalists down to two. In the third and final week, the two finalists will go head to head, in a legal blogging deathmatch. Your votes will determine the winner, Above the Law’s new leader.
ATL readers are an opinionated bunch, so we expect you to have strong views about the contestants (which you should feel free to share in the comments). But to those of you who need more guidance when voting, fear not. Just like American Idol, ATL Idol will provide you with three “celebrity judges,” to offer their expert opinions of the contestants’ blogging, and to inform and guide the electorate.
Our judges, who are all leading legal bloggers in their own right, need no introduction. But we’ll introduce them anyway, briefly. They are (in alphabetical order):

  • Ann Althouse, Robert W. & Irma M. Arthur-Bascom Professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School, and author of her eponymous blog, Althouse;
  • Tom Goldstein, head of the D.C. litigation practice and co-head of the firm-wide Supreme Court practice at Akin Gump, and founder of SCOTUSblog; and
  • Dahlia Lithwick, senior editor of Slate (where she blogged at Convictions), author of two books, and a contributor to the New York Times and the Washington Post (among many other publications).
    Our impressive panel is well-balanced, featuring representatives from three major groups of legal bloggers: one law professor, one practicing lawyer, and one professional journalist. We’ll leave it to you to decide — perhaps based on how caustic their commentary is — who’s Simon, who’s Randy, and who’s Paula.
    Update: Professor Althouse emphatically rejects any suggestion that she’ll be the Paula Abdul of this contest. This is just as well; when we invited Dahlia Lithwick to serve as a judge, she called “dibs” on Paula.
    Check back later today, when we’ll post brief bios of the six finalists. And check back throughout this week – and, of course, over the next three weeks – to figure out which writers you love, and which you’d leave. The identity of ATL’s next editor rests in your hands.
    We’re expecting this contest to be fun and exciting. Please spread the word to your friends and colleagues. And once the polls are open, we pass along to you the exhortation of Ryan Seacrest: “America, don’t forget to vote!”
    Update: The bios of the finalists are now posted over here.
    Earlier: Help Wanted: ATL Seeks A New Writer

  • Jeremy Anderson.jpgSeveral loyal ATL readers (and Bachelorette watchers?) tipped us off to a lawyer being among the 25 bachelors competing on the ABC reality TV show this season.
    The eligible bachelor is 30-year-old Texan Jeremy Anderson. ABC cites his profession as “real estate attorney.” He’s a December 2007 grad of SMU Dedman School of Law.
    Speaking of layoffs at Hunton & Williams, our tipster says Anderson (who summered there in 2007) was let go from their Dallas office when he went on the show:

    A first-year Dallas associate (who took the February 2008 bar) was placed on probation by Hunton Williams after asking for a leave of absence to do The Bachelorette. The firm is apparently waiting for the season to air before making a final decision, although they obviously plan to fire him. Who has the gall to ask for a leave of absence during their first year, especially to do a reality TV show? But assuming it’s a legitimate reason to request time off, is Hunton’s reaction reasonable and fair?

    His name is Jeremy Anderson… There’s a rumor that he makes it to the final three. His bio was taken off Hunton’s website.

    When we called Hunton about the layoff rumors in Charlotte, we also asked about Anderson. The only comment we got from their spokesperson was, “On a personal note, I love the show.”
    We appreciate your sending this along, ATL readers. As one of you predicts, we will “enjoy covering Jeremy . . . and his abs.”

    Denise Gitsham K&L Gates The Bachelor Above the Law blog.jpgWhen law students are choosing among law firms, they inquire into such predictable things. What’s the firm’s billable hour requirement? How is work distributed? What about pro bono? For lawyers involved in recruiting, it must get boring to have to answer the same questions over and over again.
    So law students, next time you interview with a firm, ask about something that really matters: What is the firm’s policy towards associates who want to participate in reality television shows?
    Is the firm supportive of such endeavors? Can I take a leave of absence for the show’s filming, and then return in good standing? If so, will my year-end bonus get prorated?
    As it turns out, Biglaw shops take different approaches to reality TV. It was rumored that Sidley Austin was none too pleased when associate David Otunga decided to participate in I Love New York 2 (and he is no longer at the firm). As for his performance on the show, the Harvard Law School grad made it to the final three, before losing to “Buddha” and “Tailor Made.”
    K&L Gates Kirkpatrick Lockhart Preston Gates Ellis Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgContrast Sidley’s reaction to that of K&L Gates. The firm allowed an associate in its Washington office — the highly attractive Denise Gitsham, 30, a recent Georgetown Law grad and former Bush aide — to take leave to be on “The Bachelor.” Now it welcomes her back with open arms. From an email recently sent around by D.C.-based partner Mark Ruge:

    All:

    This Monday, at 9:30 p.m. on ABC, is the season premier of the hit television show, The Bachelor. (“The Bachelor” is the nation’s highest-rated reality TV show in the 18-45 female demographic group. It is now entering its 12th season on network television.)

    Believe it or not, one of the contestants this season will be our own associate Denise Gitsham, who was away “on location” during much of February. Here is a link to the show’s web site and Denise’s bio:

    http://abc.go.com/primetime/bachelor/index?pn=bios#t=bachelorettes&d=85609

    Denise’s name, photo, and bio were submitted to the show by her cousin, and Denise was selected to be one of the show’s 25 bachelorettes out of more than 12,000 applicants. She was under extreme confidentiality requirements during her adventure (and still is to some degree). At least now, though, she is free to admit what she was doing during her mysterious leave in February.

    Just thought you would like to know…

    Mark

    K&L Gates lawyers: if you need to send something to Denise via intra-office mail, the delivery should be accompanied by a rose. Thanks.
    P.S. We can’t find Denise Gitsham on the firm website (although we did find a “Denise Stiffarm” in Seattle). We’re guessing that Denise has been too busy filming The Bachelor to fill out all that pesky bar admission paperwork.
    Update: Denise Gitsham is now on the K&L Gates website.
    Denise Gitsham bio [The Bachelor]

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