Television

The costuming department has put Kate in clothing so tight and heels so high, they make Ally McBeal’s notorious miniskirt suits seem like something you would expect to find on Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

— New York Times television critic Ginia Bellafante, referring to Kate Reed, the protagonist of the new legal drama Fairly Legal (in a review of Fairly Legal, which premieres on Thursday at 10 p.m. on USA, and Harry’s Law, a second legal drama, which debuts tonight at 10 p.m. on NBC).

(But don’t forget that the fine-boned Justice Ginsburg was a beauty in her youth — she was even a high school cheerleader.)

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….

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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.

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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