Television

Professor William Birdthistle

Welcome to the latest installment of Lawyers & Economics, our occasional video series on financial topics by Professor William Birdthistle of Chicago-Kent College of Law. He’s joined in some of these videos by an acting professional: Johnny Kastl, television actor turned 2L at Iowa Law, better known to some of you as Dr. Doug Murphy of “Scrubs.”

In the last video, Birdthistle and Kastl tackled the Greek debt crisis. Sadly enough, that problem remains unsolved, to the detriment of the world’s financial markets.

Today’s topic isn’t going away anytime soon either. If you have — or are thinking of taking on — student loans, keep reading….

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I have successfully avoided jury duty since I moved back to New York in 2003, but this week they finally caught up with me. This week, I’ve had to perform my civic responsibility of sitting in judgment of my peers (like I don’t do that enough already).

Sorry, I had to “be available” to sit in judgement of my peers. Nobody is ever going to pick me for a jury. I blog about law for a living, hold two Harvard degrees, and have a checkered past. I’m not getting impaneled. Instead, I was just looking forward to the rare business day when I didn’t have to invent an opinion or listen to “the internet” pontificate on my weight.

Then the lady who seemed to be in charge of the proceedings told me that I was looking forward to three days of that. I went to protest, but Nurse Ratched told me to sit down and wait for my lobotomy. So i started paying attention to my surroundings — because blogging is how I cope with the slings and arrows of outrageous people asking me to behave like a normal person.

I’ll deal more directly with Nurse Ratched at another time. Today I got an up-close look at the voir dire process in a criminal trial. While I was not picked, I feel like my McMurphy-esque fingerprints will be all over the case.

Let’s take a look inside our clearly broken jury system…

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She definitely loves wieners.

* Vedel Browne has been charged in the machete robbery of Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer. He faces up to 20 years if convicted, and with that sentence, we’re betting he wishes he got away with more than $1,000. [CNN]

* ¡Viva México! These days, Mexico’s got more than just drug cartels, violence, and prison riots. More and more U.S. and international law firms (like DLA Piper) are crossing the border to set up shop. [Wall Street Journal]

* Which Biglaw firms own New York’s congressional delegation in terms of donations? The same Biglaw firms that have handed out bigger bonus dollars: Boies Schiller, Davis Polk, and Paul Weiss. [Politicker]

* Jury selection in the Tyler Clementi case is under way. Dharun Ravi, the Rutgers student who allegedly spied on his roommate, faces up to ten years in prison. Should’ve taken the plea bargain, bro. [New York Post]

* Some women like their wieners with a side of abuse, but that doesn’t mean they want the encounter memorialized on film. A federal judge says that’s too bad, so let the cameras roll. [Hollywood Reporter]

* Katherine Darmer, a Chapman University law professor, passed away after falling from a building last week. Her death is now being probed as a possible suicide. Rest in peace, professor. [Los Angeles Times]

Beyoncé

* “All My Justices” may soon be coming to daytime television station near you. In a close vote, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill that calls for television access to Supreme Court proceedings. [Legal Times]

* A former Cravath associate’s law license has been suspended as a result of a DV assault charge. For every day spring bonuses go unannounced, another CSM attorney will do something to embarrass the firm. [Am Law Daily]

* Duncan Law wants wants a judge to reconsider an injunction, claiming “eight students have withdrawn” since its accreditation was denied. In other news, only eight students at Duncan Law have half a brain. [National Law Journal]

* If you liked it, then you should’ve put a trademark on it. Jay-Z and Beyoncé have filed a trademark application for their daughter’s name. Nothing says love like exploitation. [New York Post]

* Remember the siblings involved in a nationwide manhunt last summer? Stripper and bank robber extraordinaire Lee Grace Dougherty pleaded guilty, and now faces up to 28 years in jail. [New York Daily News]

David Otunga

If you’re a longtime reader of Above the Law, then you’ll remember Harvard Law School graduate and former Sidley associate, David Otunga. We’ve previously written about Otunga’s adventures in reality television on VH1′s I Love New York, his engagement to singer-actress Jennifer Hudson, and his foray into the wonderful world of “professional” wrestling with World Wrestling Entertainment.

Otunga’s been flexing his muscles in the ring since 2008, but our tipsters were unimpressed, noting, “From Harvard Law School to I Love New York to the WWE. Unfortunately the next stop is probably porn.” Well, sorry to disappoint you, but Otunga hasn’t signed up for his porn industry debut just yet. Instead, he took a momentary break from wrestling to make his return to the courtroom.

Was he able to lay down either of his finishing moves (the Verdict and the Case Closed) to pull out a win?

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Paisley Dickey (left) and Pretty Woman (right)

You don’t have to watch much reality television to understand that these days, many cable networks are trying to capitalize on the drama caused by little girls and their overbearing stage mothers. Take, for example, TLC’s Toddlers & Tiaras, a show that that gives viewers an inside look at the often controversial world of children’s beauty pageants. Apparently the resultant mother and daughter tantrums were just too good to keep off the airwaves.

But in late 2011, viewers expressed outrage over the pageant industry’s tendency to sexualize children. After all, with mothers dressing their daughters like surgically-enhanced country singers, fake breasts and all, or hookers with hearts of gold, how could viewers be anything but horrified? In all honesty, some of these little girls — the ones who don’t aspire to be tax lawyers, at least — look like complete prosti-tots (see above).

This backdrop brings us to today’s Lawsuit of the Day, where the mother of one of these tiara-toting toddlers alleges that a well-known celebrity gossip site had a hand in scandalizing her daughter….

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This Bachelor wasn't impressed with the credentials of one Illini 2L.

Still reeling from the producers’ decision to include one Latino contestant four seasons ago, The Bachelor franchise is back in Narnia this season with another all-white cast vying for the heart of Ben Flajnik, Sonoma’s most eligible winemaker and Geico Caveman lookalike. During the opening montage on the first episode, we see Ben drive a tractor, examine dirt, and wear a dusty leather vest — all key indicators that Ben is serious about his business.

Will such a serious career man be able to find love among this season’s pack of Dental Consultants, Trading Clerks, VIP Cocktail Waitresses, and other C-level executives? Luckily, he doesn’t have to. Also available for fake engagement this season is a sexy, seasoned Biglaw attorney.

Just kidding! Erika Uhlig, 23, is a completely average-looking 2L at the University of Illinois College of Law. Before that, she was a poli sci major at the University of Pittsburgh, and before that, she was Miss Chesterfield, Virginia 2006. Here she is singing the national anthem off-pitch in a dress from Dynasty.

To precisely no one’s shock, one of Erika’s law school classmates contacted ATL and opined that “she’s a b**ch”….

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If you’re a bride-to-be — and let’s face it, even if you’re not — you’ve probably seen at least a few episodes of TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress. The show features the goings-on at Kleinfeld, one of the premier bridal salons in New York City, where staff members assist brides in their quest to find the perfect wedding dress.

Imagine our surprise when we tuned in to watch the show, and caught a glimpse of a beautiful lawyer searching for a wedding gown. But this was not just any lawyer — this lawyer used to have an action-packed career as a stunt woman. These days, though, she gets all of her action inside of a courtroom.

So who is this stunt woman turned lawyer? Why did she decide to make such a drastic career change? And how did she snag her husband, the general counsel to a Fortune 500 company?

All of this and more, including some glamorous wedding photos, after the jump….

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Watch this before Sunday.

* Is New Jersey’s Senator Robert Menendez blocking Patty Shwartz, Obama’s Third Circuit nominee, out of resentment? Time to build yourself a bridge and GTF over it. [New York Times]

* Sullivan & Cromwell took the top spot among law firms in M&A transactions in 2011, with $325.7 billion in deals. You better believe they’re giving out huge spring bonuses. [Bloomberg]

* “No one wants to pay for something that doesn’t pay off.” At least those at the annual meeting of the AALS realize this applies to law school. When will the ABA sign on? [National Law Journal]

* In his first move after being appointed to the CFPB — a so-called valid appointment, mind you — Richard Cordray has launched a program for oversight of non-banks. [Legal Times]

* You can’t bill clients for hookers and porn and then try to get out of it by blaming your mental disorder. Or you can, but it will come back to bite you in the ass. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* The Firm: from the best sellers list, to the silver screen, and now to the small screen. Look out for Mitch McDeere in his two-hour, television premiere this Sunday on NBC. [Wall Street Journal]

* Should the Supreme Court be forced to televise oral arguments? Yes, but only on the condition that we get spin-off shows called Wise Latina Justice and Ruthie’s Law. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Rod Blagojevich won’t get leniency during sentencing. He’ll spend the next week lamenting the fact that can’t brush his beautiful hair like Marcia Brady while in prison. [Bloomberg]

* Brynee Baylor, a D.C. attorney, has been charged with fraud by the SEC. Hey, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do to get yourself a pair of Jimmy Choos. You go girl. [Blog of Legal Times]

* Plan B, the morning-after pill, may soon be available on drugstore shelves thanks to the FDA. But so what? Plan A, keeping your legs closed, is a much cheaper alternative. [New York Daily News]

* Pakistani actress Veena Malik is suing FHM for $2M. She only wanted to go topless on the cover, but she claims they made her look full on nude. Have at it, pixel inspectors. [New York Magazine]

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