Reality TV

I would still trust Judge Wapner.

It feels like I receive at least one email a week from a pissed-off white male. I feel like everywhere I look there is some white person whining, complaining, playing the “victim” card, and moaning about how difficult things are for a white person nowadays. I’m telling you, if white males have to live under a non-white male president for another four years, Ted Nugent is going to start writing spirituals.

Sometimes I respond to these “white plight” emails. Sometimes I get into passionate debates with people. Never do I sit back and say, “Man, white men really are getting screwed on this issue. White power!” I mean, at the end of the day the playing field still ridiculously favors white males. Sometimes white men can’t see it, just like sometimes you can’t tell that the Earth is curved when you’re standing on the ground. But if you look up — and do some math — it’s pretty obvious we live on a sphere, and it’s pretty obvious we live in a society that favors white males.

But I am… open-minded. And my mind was blown wide open when I read a blog post on Just Enrichment about the paucity of white male judges as fictional characters. Without having the resources to do a full-scale survey of every movie or television character in the past twenty years, this guy makes a compelling point that white males are disfavored when it comes to portraying impartial justice.

And I think this guy — Adam Chandler, a 3L at Yale Law School — is absolutely right….

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What do you get when you cross Top Chef with Mark Cuban’s The Benefactor (anybody remember that? HA), steal half the name of America’s Next Top Model, and throw in inexplicably famous “chef” Curtis Stone? Only the single greatest reality show on NBC during the 8 p.m. time slot on Sundays: America’s Next Great Restaurant

This groundbreaking pilot’s premise is that people who did boring things with their lives because they were too poor or risk-averse pitch restaurant franchise ideas to Curtis, Bobby Flay, and two other judges that nobody recognizes, who then back the winner with money from NBC’s budget their own wallets to open three identical restaurants so they can fail in three different cities at the same time.

As you may have guessed, America is not watching, the show is not Great, and I somehow doubt that The Spice Coast (or whichever proposed restaurant wins) will threaten the national hegemony of McDonald’s, although I might order it from Seamless Web.  If I liked Indian food. Which I do not.

In any event, competing in “ANGR” is one of our own…

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Ashley Hebert

In case you were too busy watching the End Times unfold in Japan last Monday, back in sunny L.A., music soared and angels cried as second-time-around Bachelor Brad Womack finally selected a fiancée from a cumulative pool of 60 desperate women. As ABC production assistants stood just off camera with guns, Brad and his fiancée confirmed they would marry, and the network announced next season’s Bachelorette: second runner-up Ashley Hebert.

Though 26-year-old Ashley is probably best known to fans for her sperm-like eyebrows and for sexing Brad up in the Fantasy Suite, she’s also a fourth-year dental student at U. Penn. and, accordingly, the most respectable Bachelorette yet. So… does this mean ABC will nix the usual crew of medical sales/mall kiosk workers/”entrepreneurs,” up the ante, and give Ashley some real professional dudes to vie for her heart?

Seems like it….

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We want to hear about your firm’s bonus news, even if it’s old. If we haven’t reported on it yet, we want to know about it. (Use our site search box in the upper-right-hand corner, or scroll through our Associate Bonus Watch archives, to see which announcements we’ve already covered.)

Here’s some old bonus news (literally “last year’s” news). A few weeks ago, Shearman & Sterling announced its bonuses. They essentially matched the Cravath scale, but with the caveat (also issued last year) that they are at least partly “merit-based” — i.e., adjusted up or down based on performance. The S&S bonuses are being paid out on January 14.

Some Shearman associates might be upset by the lack of upward movement on bonuses. But at least one of them probably doesn’t care that much, since he enjoyed other income in 2010.

I’ll take “Lawyers Who Have Appeared on Jeopardy” for $1000, Alex….

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(And… Jeopardy!)

Brandy Kuentzel, laid-off K&E lawyer turned reality TV star.

Apologies for this very belated coverage of the season finale of The Apprentice, which aired last week. Alas, no member of Team ATL — not even Marin, our resident reality TV addict — actually watched the show. The final episode was a bit like the proverbial tree falling in the forest without anyone around to hear it.

But it seems numerous ATL readers tuned in, even though ratings for the show are down 75 percent since the premiere season. So here’s a post, triggered by your many email pleas for coverage.

We extend warm congratulations to Brandy Kuentzel, the Chicago Law alumna and laid-off Kirkland & Ellis associate who emerged victorious in the reality TV competition. In the finale, Kuentzel defeated a fellow lawyer, Clint — a 40-year-old SMU Law grad described in his NBC bio as “living off of credit” — for the opportunity to work for Donald Trump.

One Brandy fan gave us some background on her: “She went to University of Chicago, started at Kirkland SF as transactional associate. After she got laid off, she started a mobile truck cupcake business.” (Digression: Why is driving a cupcake truck such a popular fallback option for lawyers? See also Kate Carrara, of Philadelphia, and Lev Ekster, of New York.)

Continued our tipster: “Brandy has an insane background story. She’s from Alaska, and moved out at an early age to self-finance her education, after graduating as valedictorian of her high school. Oh, and she is insanely hot. Google her.”

As you can see from her photo, Brandy is most definitely a hottie. But, interestingly enough, Brandy Kuentzel wasn’t quite as smoking hot back in her law firm days….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Congrats to Brandy Kuentzel, Laid-Off Kirkland Lawyer Turned Apprentice Winner”

This year The Apprentice, a television show in which contestants compete for the privilege of working for Donald Trump, features 16 who are down on their luck, having lost previous jobs or otherwise having to start anew. No fewer than five of them are lawyers.

– from Trouble with the Law, an article about American law school graduates “finding that their chosen career is less lucrative than they had hoped,” in The Economist.

Season 3 of The Real Housewives of Atlanta (RHOA) premiered this week on Bravo. Why, you might ask, are we covering a reality show that features more catfighting and hair pulling than a prize-off between Kenneth Kratz and Jack Camp?

Because the new season brought with it a new cast member who is not only a southern belle, but is also the managing partner of her very own boutique tiny law firm.  She describes herself as fabulous, fierce, and beautiful. She’s even been nominated as one of Atlanta’s Top 100 Black Women of Influence for 2010.

Most importantly, she knows she can have it all.

Meet Phaedra Parks, a graduate of Wesleyan College, University of Georgia School of Law, and an entertainment Super Lawyer! To listen to Phaedra, you’d think she was a direct descendant of Johnny Cochran. He’s the one who told her to hang out her own shingle — though it’s unclear if Cochran was suffering the effects of his fatal brain tumor when he made this suggestion…

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We’ve already titillated you with an interview of one of the Apprentice contestants, former Clifford Chance associate James Weir. Now we’ll get our first look at the rest of the contestants on tonight’s premiere of The Apprentice, which this season is built around a recession theme (and stocked with a number of layoff victims, including laid-off lawyers).

Click on the liveblog below to experience the glory and majesty of Donald Trump, Donald Trump’s hair, and the recession-aided desperation of strangers.

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The new season of The Apprentice: Recession Edition premieres tomorrow night on NBC, and if you weren’t planning on watching it because it’s the 87th season and nobody cares, you just might want to reverse course. No fewer than five unemployed lawyers — cupcake-wielding Brandy, ex-beauty queen Nicole, fashion-obsessed Mahsa, old person Clint, and Prince Harry-lookalike James — are competing to be Donald Trump’s main minion this season. Above the Law scored an advance interview with one of them.

James Weir, 31, was a second-year litigator in Clifford Chance’s New York office before getting laid off because of the economy back in October 2008.  Unable to find work, this Duke undergrad and ’06 Georgetown Law grad became a “couch surfer” (according to his Apprentice bio), brazenly unafraid of bedbugs (I asked), who spent his time applying for jobs, watching a lot of Netflix Instantly Viewable, and learning to stain furniture (presumably on purpose).

In our brief interview, James reveals ATL’s role in his casting (!!), shares the two things he wishes he said on air, and tells us what his mom really thinks about all of this…

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Ed. note: Welcome to ATL’s new column, Fame Brief. Since Kash has left the building, Marin, ATL’s other lady-in-waiting, will be picking up her celebrity beat and filling you in on the latest celebrity legal shenanigans. Before you fall over yourself to post an annoying comment about how this blog be sinking or how nobody cares about celebrities, consider that our celebrity posts are some of the most popular ones on here. So SOMEBODY out there cares about celebrities….

When I got my first credit card, my dad was afraid I’d go hog wild and buy a suit of armor, sconces, breast implants, decorative fireplace accessories, a foosball table, IVF treatments, a boat and a monstrous “Tuscan villa” McMansion in Towaco, NJ. But at least I’m making payments on these purchases, unlike Joe and Teresa Giudice of the Real Housewives of New Jersey, who filed for Chapter 7 back in October 2009….

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