Reality TV

Going on game shows offers up the possibility of great reward or eternal humiliation in the form of YouTube’s infinite archives. An Oregon lawyer by the name of Paul Galm experienced the latter, when he appeared on “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?” in 2006. (This is admittedly old, but sometimes we like to exhume Internet classics.)

Galm started off by telling Meredith Viera about how he and his wife — both attorneys — quit their jobs and blew their savings traveling around the world, and how he was appearing on WWTBAM hoping to get his nest egg back. Instead, he epically wound up with egg on his face:

Says the tipster who sent it along: “This guy must have gone to a TTT.”

Well, we did a little research. As it turns out, Paul Galm went to a top ten law school.

Which prestigious institution popped him out, and where is he now?

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Real Housewives of New Jersey son Albie Manzo may be slow, but he’s determined. He flunked out of Seton Hall law school, but he still wants his law degree, and met with a lawyer in the show’s last episode to figure out how he can get it.

Manzo says that the culprit behind his poor law school performance — reflected in his GPA of 1.9 — is a learning disability that causes him to take three times as long as normal people to absorb information. Some may question whether LDs and JDs go together. Said one ATL commenter:

If he has a learning disability, he really shouldn’t be a lawyer. It takes him three times as long to absorb information? Are clients going to be ok with paying him three times as much to get something done? The legal professions is a skilled profession and requires a certain amount of intellect. If one doesn’t have the required intelligence, then it is not right for them… it would be like making exceptions and giving special treatment so ugly people can be supermodels.

But his mom told him he should go for it anyway, become an attorney, “and show Seton Hall the mistake they made.” In the show’s last episode, Manzo met with a lawyer who told him he needs a letter from the school attesting to the fact that they made a mistake. Otherwise, Manzo has to wait two years to reapply to law school….

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It’s not every day that we see a Biglaw associate on the cover of a celebrity gossip magazine. So we were a bit shocked when a tipster sent along the scanned image (right) of last week’s In Touch magazine, with this message:

The guy identified as “Ali’s new guy” in this week’s Intouch weekly (and pictured on the cover) is a Skadden associate — and I think a fairly well-regarded one at that.

Ali, of course, is the current star of The Bachelorette. Background from our resident celeb gossip expert Marin:

This season stars Bachelorette Ali Fedotowsky, an unemployed 25-year-old who quit her job at Facebook and moved back in with her parents to be on the show. Fans of the series will recall that Ali was a castoff from last season’s Bachelor, where she endeared herself to fans by wearing low-cut dresses, crying frequently, and vaguely resembling a poor man’s Reese Witherspoon as seen in dim light through cataracts. Anyhow, she’s back this season and more determined than ever to find love with one of 25 white bachelors, not including the one Hispanic dude, Roberto.

The Skadden Arps associate is not one of the two lawyers who was competing for her hand on the show. So this story would ruin the season, if true. Who is this associate?

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Erin Elmore, The Apprentice

Erin Elmore, ex-reality TV star.

In our last few reality TV stories, we have highlighted the perils of putting your life on camera — publicly flunking out of law school, having the world know you’ve failed the bar exam twice, and exposing an ego surgically enhanced to the size of Texas.

One former reality TV star emailed us to protest. Erin Elmore wrote:

I also was on a realty show….. Apprentice 3 with Donald Trump. It actually opened career doors and I never regretted doing the show!!!

Elmore was on the 2005 Magna vs. Net Worth edition of the show, pitting those with book smarts against those with street smarts. Since she has a law degree from Villanova, she was obviously teamed up with the book smarties.

She sent along a series of YouTube clips with the email, showcasing all the TV gigs she’s gotten since doing The Apprentice. Here’s a montage. The girl knows how to work a Philadelphia red carpet.

Elmore worked for Marshall Dennehey and then JP Morgan Chase before going on The Apprentice. Trump fired her, and she returned to the world of law. To what great heights has reality television propelled her?

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Erica, of VH1's Cut Off

This is not a good month for legal types in reality television. Albie Manzo of The Real Housewives of New Jersey failed out of Seton Hall Law School. Brooklyn Law School grad Victoria Eisner of Downtown Girls failed the New York bar exam. And now all of the law school classmates of Erica Rose have failed to live up to her expectations.

Who is Erica Rose? She’s a cast member of the VH1 reality TV show “Cut Off,” about rich heiresses whose parents have indulged their every whim. The nine heiresses thought they were going on a reality TV show about “The Good Life,” but instead discovered that their parents had dumped them in a communal house, cut off their bank accounts, and canceled their credit cards. Now they’re trying to figure out how to work real jobs and survive without a trust fund.

Erica met with a career coach in the show’s most recent episode to go over her résumé, which includes a J.D. He asks why she went to law school. She responds that she “hoped to be like Nancy Grace” or to be the future Judge Judy. Such lofty goals! He points out that those women “put in a lot of hours before they got on the air.” Her response? “But I’m prettier than they are.”

Then she segued into bemoaning the looks of her classmates…

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MTV has sunk low. Really low. Its newest program, Downtown Girls — a reality TV show about a group of hot girls living in TriBeCa — is using the New York bar exam as a dramatic narrative hook.

We wrote before about the law grad on the show in our post: Why Unemployed Lawyers Shouldn’t Go On Reality TV Shows — Exhibit A: Victoria, of MTV’s Downtown Girls. Her bio on the MTV site described her as an aspiring attorney who is “a source of rattlebrained comic relief” and “currently awaiting the results of her second attempt at the bar exam.”

We’ve since learned from tipsters that Victoria is a Brooklyn Law School grad. Her results came in on episode 4 of the show. The show’s lead Carrie Bradshaw-inspired character real person is Shallon, who narrates at the beginning of the episode: “Victoria is about to find out the results of her bar exam and that could totally shift the course of her whole life.”

Consider life shifted. The second time was not the charm for Victoria. So what do you do if you find out that you failed the bar exam on national television?

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New Jersey is taking over the world of reality television programming. Though it would surely be sheer torture to be locked in a room with a bunch of Jersey folk, their ridiculous antics and outsized attitudes make for great entertainment when confined to the small screen.

The Real Housewives of New Jersey is by far the most popular of the Housewives series. It’s now in its second season, and it appears that many of our Above the Law readers are fans. We received a landfill’s worth of emails about the legal hook in last night’s episode. One of the Real Sons of the Housewives of New Jerseys — Albie Manzo, son of Caroline Manzo — was in law school. As he said in an interview on the Bravo website, in response to a question about his love life: “School makes the likelihood of any relationship working slim. I always tell my friends, sometimes I feel like I’m dating law school.”

Alas, Albie just got dumped by Lady Justice — he failed out of law school after only one semester, as viewers learned last night. Here’s a clip of Albie breaking the news to his mom. The reality TV hottie claims to have a learning disability that causes him to take three times as long as normal people to absorb information, resulting in a shameful GPA in his fall semester.

While the LD sounds like it could help Albie rack up some serious billable hours, the school wasn’t supportive. A tipster reports:

Albie said the administration told him that if he couldn’t cut it with his learning disability, lawyering probably isn’t for him.

Which law school had such harsh words for the learning-impaired Jersey boy?

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Most New York lawyer types have given up on the idea of cooking for themselves; they’re far more likely to get their dinner from Seamless Web than from their own fridge and stovetop. But not Serena Palumbo. She’s now in-house counsel for an Italian bank, and has persevered in making nightly home-made dinners, despite prior stints at Schulte Roth and Shearman & Sterling.

And her perseverance has led to a possible career opportunity: TV celebrity chef. She’s one of the competitors in The Next Food Network Star, a Bobby Flay and Giada de Laurentiis-hosted reality competition, which is exactly what it sounds like.

Palumbo looks great in photos, but a former colleague who caught the premiere told us she struggled a bit in the first episode:

Wolfgang Puck told Giada that the Food Network might have to make room for a new Italian princess.

She did a good job with the food but struggled in front of the camera; she came across a bit forced so she’s not a front-runner but can probably turn things around.

Curses. Corporate lawyers don’t get to spend time in a courtroom, practicing their TV face in front of a jury.

We caught up with Serena by phone this week and asked her how she got onto the show, and more importantly, how she finds time to cook dinner every night at home in Manhattan…

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Victoria of MTV's Downtown Girls

With job prospects bleak and the allure of fleeting fame high, some lawyers have considered sending their résumés to reality TV show casting companies instead of legal recruiters. But competition is tough in the realm of trashy television, too.

One unemployed New York lawyer is living the reality TV star dream. Meet Victoria. She is one of the stars of Downtown Girls, a new MTV series about hot girls living in TriBeCa. Sounds like a winner!

Let’s take a look at her bio:

An aspiring attorney, Victoria is Shallon’s other roommate, whose eccentric ways provide a source of rattlebrained comic relief. Victoria recently graduated from law school and is currently awaiting the results of her second attempt at the bar exam. Like her roommates, Victoria is also single, and is infamously known as the “queen of the first date.”

Really? You’re going to include the fact that you failed the bar exam in your MTV website bio?

Can it get worse?

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This past Monday, middle-aged housewives, quadriplegics who were not able to turn the channel, and yours truly tuned into the 763rd 20th season of The Bachelor franchise.

This season stars Bachelorette Ali Fedotowsky, an unemployed 25-year-old who quit her job at Facebook and moved back in with her parents to be on the show. Fans of the series will recall that Ali was a castoff from last season’s Bachelor, where she endeared herself to fans by wearing low-cut dresses, crying frequently, and vaguely resembling a poor man’s Reese Witherspoon as seen in dim light through cataracts. Anyhow, she’s back this season and more determined than ever to find love with one of 25 white bachelors, not including the one Hispanic dude, Roberto.

Figuring that regular guys might be intimidated by Ali’s professional ambition and success, the Bachelorette producers assembled a squad of gentleman callers that simply cannot fail to impress. There is the “outdoorsman,” the “dental sales associate,” the “medical sales associate,” the landscaper, the “internet account executive,” and even the weatherman. Also vying for Ali’s heart are two of our very own kind: LAWYERS.

So, who are these guys?

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