Television

I wasn’t able to catch Larry King’s interview with Clarence Thomas’s ex-girlfriend, Lillian McEwen. I had prior commitments (how ’bout them Cowboys). But after reading reports all morning, I can see why her memoirs are stuck in the “manuscript” stage. There doesn’t seem to be any “there” there.

Perhaps the most interesting thing we learned is that Lillian McEwen would rather date a raving, porn-obsessed alcoholic than an angry, black conservative. Don’t get me wrong, I feel precisely the same way. But if this is all the “dirt” she’s got on Thomas, then it’s difficult to see how this materially impacts our understanding of the man.

And that’s assuming that everything she said is true….

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Megyn Kelly of Fox News

I had the opportunity to take my surprisingly controversial argument that bullies shouldn’t be thrown in jail to a television audience. Megyn Kelly, the host of America Live on Fox News and a former litigator at Jones Day, invited me on her program and gave my argument a fair hearing.

Once again, I think my core principles here are sound: children shouldn’t kill themselves, children shouldn’t be incarcerated because other children kill themselves, and children should learn appropriate coping mechanisms when faced with embarrassment and humiliation.

As we all know, I have an insatiable appetite to offend and then devour fresh souls, but I become particularly strong when I can drink the tears of children. Kelly did everything she could to keep me from sounding like a raving lunatic who likes putting babies on spikes, but some people will come away convinced that I’m a heartless sociopath.

What do you think? Take a look at the clip, and let me know just how bad karma will eventually bite me on the backside…

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Andrew Shirvell

Andrew Shirvell, the Michigan assistant attorney general who has decided to launch a smear campaign against a Michigan undergraduate student council president, appeared on Anderson Cooper 360 last night. Shirvell made headlines two weeks ago, when his hate blog against University of Michigan student council president Chris Armstrong attracted media attention. Shirvell claims Chris Armstrong advances a “radical homosexual agenda.” Shirvell’s blog depicts Armstrong with photoshopped swastikas on his face and features all sorts of hateful rhetoric directed against Armstrong. We previously wrote about Shirvell here.

I don’t know if Shirvell thought he was going to get fellated by Larry King when he walked into the CNN studio. But Anderson Cooper was not about to let this unrepentant homophobe have an unchallenged opportunity to spout his hate to a national audience. The best Cooper line: “You seem to be obsessed with this young, gay man.”

Why don’t you check out the video clip, and then we’ll discuss…

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Another year, another legal pilot. But this year, ABC bet the farm on a new series called The Whole Truth, the only legal drama in its fall lineup. With Jerry Bruckheimer as its producer, the show promises to offer a novel twist on the typical courtroom drama.

How? “No one ever knows what really happened until the very last scene, when we learn… The Whole Truth.

The show has received mixed reviews from the critics, but maybe you’ll end up liking it. It premiered last night, and featured Maura Tierney as Kathryn Peale, Senior Trial Assistant District Attorney in New York, and Rob Morrow as Jimmy Brogan, a senior partner at one of Manhattan’s up-and-coming criminal defense firms.

Each week, we’ll get to witness a new criminal law case from the perspectives of both the prosecution and the defense. And each week, the same exact prosecutors will be pitted against the same exact defense attorneys. But don’t worry, the entire cast hails from Ivy League law schools, for all of you prestige whores. Fourth-tier law grads can’t even get fictional jobs on television.

If you’re still interested in learning more about The Whole Truth, let’s do the hokey-pokey and turn the case for or against this show around, after the jump.

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It’s not often that those of us in the legal field get a television show to call our own. So very few shows attempt to capture our passion — our calling — on the small screen. So it was with great anticipation that I watched the pilot of Outlaw, a show that premiered last Wednesday on NBC and features Jimmy Smits as Justice Cyrus Garza, an uber-conservative Supreme Court justice who abruptly steps down from the bench to fight for the little guy.

Great anticipation? Just kidding. Lat heard this show was written for idiots by idiots (“FIBI”), and so he immediately thought I’d have a good time watching it.

Even though numerous television reviewers have skewered the show, often with groan-inducing legal puns, I was curious to see whether it could rise to the level of guilty pleasure and take up residence on my DVR.

I’ve previously tried my hand at screenwriting, and that experiment went so well that I thought I’d throw on the television reviewer’s hat and give you a succinct and well-reasoned review of “Outlaw”.

Without further ado, here is my verdict….

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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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That’s one of the topics covered by an impressive trio of law professors — Richard Epstein, Glenn Reynolds, and John Yoo — in an interesting, wide-ranging discussion over at PJTV. Although they all hail from the right side of the aisle, they disagree on a number of issues. Here’s a summary:

Are law schools creating a new generation law fools? Is the bar exam the best measure of a lawyer? Are the best law schools even worth the money? Law professors John Yoo and Richard Epstein of Richochet.com discussion the legal profession on this episode of Instavision.

One of the most interesting parts of the discussion takes place when Professor Reynolds mentions that he decided to attend Yale Law School over free rides from Duke and Chicago. He asks Professors Epstein and Yoo: What advice would you give to a prospective law student facing a similar choice today?

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The courtroom lends itself to dramatization. A trial has a natural story arc: The adversarial system makes for a clear conflict between characters. There’s a natural end point when both sides rest their cases and the verdict comes down. Plus, lawyers are such loveable characters.

And so there are many great movies and TV shows about lawyers. (Along with some not so great ones.) They can amuse, inspire, terrify, or convince you to go to law school.

The ABA Journal has made a list of the 25 greatest fictional lawyers of all time:

In our survey of this literature of lawyers, however, we feel obliged to recognize a great divide—ante-Atticus and post-Atticus.

From Dick the Butcher’s famous pronouncement to Jack Cade in Shakespeare’s Henry VI, Part 2 — “First thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” — through Dickens’ Mr. Tulkinghorn and Galsworthy’s Soames Forsyte, literature (with a few exceptions) treated lawyers poorly.

That all changed with Harper Lee’s unflappable, unforgettable Atticus Finch. With Atticus, the lawyer — once the criminal mouthpiece, the country club charlatan, the ambulance-chasing buffoon — was now an instrument of truth, an advocate of justice, the epitome of reason.

Since Finch is a literary lawyer on steroids, they have cut him from the competition. The list is the 25 greatest who are not Atticus Finch. Did your favorite make the list?

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