Lawyer turned Survivor contestant Charlie Herschel, right, with your above-signed writer (in the yellow Survivor do-rag).
As previously reported in these pages, Charlie Herschel — a 29-year-old, openly gay associate at Weil, Gotshal & Manges in New York — is a contestant on Survivor: Gabon, which had its two-hour season premiere last night. We’re pleased to report that Charlie is still in the running for the one million dollars. To read more about our handsome hero, including details of his friendship with fellow gay Clay Aiken, check out this interesting interview with Herschel in The Advocate.
Last night, we headed over to Professor Thom’s in the East Village, to attend a “Survivor” premiere party in Charlie’s honor. It was hosted by his employer, Weil Gotshal — which is doing well in the downturn, thanks in large part to its top-flight bankruptcy practice.
Correction: The party was not officially hosted by Weil, although many WGM attorneys were in attendance.
More discussion, plus a slideshow of party pics, after the jump.
[Ed. note: This post is by SOPHIST, one of the finalists in ATL Idol, the "reality blogging" competition that will determine ATL's next editor. It is marked with Sophist's avatar (at right).]
Why does my television constantly tell me that being an attorney is: glamorous, “fun,” and yet so easy that any idiot can do it? I caught a preview for TNT’s new lawyer show, Raising the Bar, and, after my seizure, I realized that dramatic license has gone too far.
So, with a nod to the Coolest Law Firm bracket, I bring you the “Lionel Hutz Invitational.” Which of the following characters has done the most to mislead our friends and family about the true nature of our profession? Let’s keep it to characters created after 1990, so the kids can play along.Today, I’ll start with the quarterfinals, I’ll update the progress on Thursday, and on Friday we’ll vote on the finalists. But I sense how much ATL readers love to write in candidates, so please comment on the fictional donkeys that didn’t make my cut (I cannot watch Eli Stone or Shark). Perhaps I will run my own “shadow poll” based on the most popular write-in choices.
[Ed. note: This post is by MARIN, one of the finalists in ATL Idol, the "reality blogging" competition that will determine ATL's next editor. It is marked with Marin's avatar (at right).]
If you’ve ever secretly read somebody else’s email 537 times, turns out you’re not alone. Larry Mendte, former CBS3 Philadelphia news anchor and Botox enthusiast, allegedly hacked into his former co-anchor Alycia Lane’s personal email accounts 537 times since January 2008 and leaked the contents of some of those emails to the press, according to the criminal information filed last Monday. What makes this case interesting is not the charge itself (one felony count of intentionally accessing a protected computer without authorization; Mendte is expected to plead guilty on August 22), but the fact that this case appears to confirm that there are real-life Ron Burgundys among us: vain, jealous and 100% ridiculous. According to Lane’s attorneys, Mendte, insanely envious of Lane’s 8.7% higher salary (Lane supposedly made $780,000, Mendte about $100,000 less), embarked on a campaign to sabotage her career by installing keylogger programs to obtain Lane’s passwords, which he then used to compulsively check Lane’s emails from work. And home. And vacation. And his country club. Lane unwittingly assisted Mendte in his plot to undermine her by sending pictures of herself in a bikini to married NFL Network anchor Rich Eisen, which were intercepted by Eisen’s wife. It is believed that Mendte leaked the correspondence to the press, including the wife’s classic response:
Boy, do you look amazing in a bikini . . . congrats! Whatever you’re doing, (Pilates? yoga?) keep doing it – it’s working for you. Anyway, sorry but those seven e-mails you sent to my husband, Rich, well, oops, they came to the e-mail address we both use from time to time, but no worries, I’ll forward the beach shots as well as the ones of you dancing with your friends on to his main address. Do you have it?
Mendte also allegedly leaked certain privileged communications between Lane and her lawyer concerning that one time when she allegedly assaulted a police officer and accidentally called her a “dyke b*tch.” Stay classy, Philadelphia.
Evidently Mendte was so busy hacking into email, subverting attorney-client privilege and leaking private information to the press that he failed to consider that his lower salary was merited. It takes more than a Cheshire grin and a plastic face to succeed as a news anchor, and unfortunately for Mendte, his spray tan could not mask his complete ineptitude as an investigative journalist.
That’s the title of our latest column for the New York Observer, which reflects upon recent television and film portrayals of women litigators.
It touches upon some of the same themes highlighted in Amy Kolz’s excellent American Lawyer article from last year, but it’s more focused on fictional female litigators, as opposed to real-life ones. Here’s how it starts:
Whatever happened to Ally McBeal? If recent movies and television shows are any guide, the life of a female lawyer has gotten a lot less pleasant since the carefree, charmingly neurotic days of dancing babies and bathroom kisses. But today’s portrayals may be more accurate, and certainly more critically acclaimed.
Last January, Glenn Close won a Golden Globe for her compelling performance as Patty Hewes, a fearsome and wildly successful plaintiff’s lawyer, on the addictive TV show Damages. The following month, Tilda Swinton snagged an Oscar for stepping into the pumps of Karen Crowder, a hard-charging in-house litigator, in Michael Clayton.
In March, Julianna Margulies (of ER) returned to television as aggressive defense lawyer Elizabeth Canterbury, the title character of Canterbury’s Law. Even Katey Sagal, who embodied the famously vulgar Peggy Bundy on Married With Children, reincarnated herself this year as Marci Klein, the sleek, powerful, and ruthless founding partner of the law firm on Eli Stone.
A first-year Dallas associate (who took the February 2008 bar) was placed on probation by Hunton Williams after asking for a leave of absence to do The Bachelorette. The firm is apparently waiting for the season to air before making a final decision, although they obviously plan to fire him. Who has the gall to ask for a leave of absence during their first year, especially to do a reality TV show? But assuming it’s a legitimate reason to request time off, is Hunton’s reaction reasonable and fair?
His name is Jeremy Anderson… There’s a rumor that he makes it to the final three. His bio was taken off Hunton’s website.
When we called Hunton about the layoff rumors in Charlotte, we also asked about Anderson. The only comment we got from their spokesperson was, “On a personal note, I love the show.”
We appreciate your sending this along, ATL readers. As one of you predicts, we will “enjoy covering Jeremy . . . and his abs.”
Cameras in the courtroom at the U.S. Supreme Court? Over Justice Souter’s dead body.
So you’ll have to settle for fictional depictions on television. From a very interesting report by Tony Mauro, for the Legal Times:
Nearly a decade ago, when his show “Ally McBeal” was at its peak, lawyer-turned-Hollywood-producer David E. Kelley was invited to dinner at the home of then-Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.
There, Kelley recalls, he got to chat with four or five justices along with other D.C. luminaries.
But now, Kelley says in an exclusive interview with Legal Times, “I’ve probably disqualified myself” from any justice’s invitation list for a return visit.
That’s because of an April 22 episode of Kelley’s current hit show “Boston Legal,” which included one of the most vociferous popular-culture critiques of the current conservative Supreme Court since John Roberts Jr. became chief justice in 2005.
The anti-Roberts Court screed, improbably enough, is delivered to the justices to their faces during the episode titled “The Court Supreme.” Co-star James Spader, who plays Boston lawyer Alan Shore, lights into the Court as he argues before look-alike justices on behalf of a Louisiana child rapist facing the death penalty. The episode aired just six days after the real Court heard arguments in Kennedy v. Louisiana, an actual child rape/death penalty case.
A sample of the rhetoric: Shore attacks the “overtly and shamelessly pro-business” Court, and takes a sharp detour from the rape case to slam Justice Antonin Scalia for his seemingly likely support for Exxon Mobil in the case -also argued recently-involving punitive damages awarded after the Exxon Valdez oil spill.
Don’t try this at home, kids — or in real life. The nine current justices are, for the most part, a good-humored group. But they probably wouldn’t appreciate being called “overtly and shamelessly pro-business” — at least not in open court.
When law students are choosing among law firms, they inquire into such predictable things. What’s the firm’s billable hour requirement? How is work distributed? What about pro bono? For lawyers involved in recruiting, it must get boring to have to answer the same questions over and over again.
So law students, next time you interview with a firm, ask about something that really matters: What is the firm’s policy towards associates who want to participate in reality television shows?
Is the firm supportive of such endeavors? Can I take a leave of absence for the show’s filming, and then return in good standing? If so, will my year-end bonus get prorated?
As it turns out, Biglaw shops take different approaches to reality TV. It was rumored that Sidley Austin was none too pleased when associate David Otunga decided to participate in I Love New York 2 (and he is no longer at the firm). As for his performance on the show, the Harvard Law School grad made it to the final three, before losing to “Buddha” and “Tailor Made.”
Contrast Sidley’s reaction to that of K&L Gates. The firm allowed an associate in its Washington office — the highly attractive Denise Gitsham, 30, a recent Georgetown Law grad and former Bush aide — to take leave to be on “The Bachelor.” Now it welcomes her back with open arms. From an email recently sent around by D.C.-based partner Mark Ruge:
This Monday, at 9:30 p.m. on ABC, is the season premier of the hit television show, The Bachelor. (“The Bachelor” is the nation’s highest-rated reality TV show in the 18-45 female demographic group. It is now entering its 12th season on network television.)
Believe it or not, one of the contestants this season will be our own associate Denise Gitsham, who was away “on location” during much of February. Here is a link to the show’s web site and Denise’s bio:
Denise’s name, photo, and bio were submitted to the show by her cousin, and Denise was selected to be one of the show’s 25 bachelorettes out of more than 12,000 applicants. She was under extreme confidentiality requirements during her adventure (and still is to some degree). At least now, though, she is free to admit what she was doing during her mysterious leave in February.
Just thought you would like to know…
K&L Gates lawyers: if you need to send something to Denise via intra-office mail, the delivery should be accompanied by a rose. Thanks.
P.S. We can’t find Denise Gitsham on the firm website (although we did find a “Denise Stiffarm” in Seattle). We’re guessing that Denise has been too busy filming The Bachelor to fill out all that pesky bar admission paperwork. Update: Denise Gitsham is now on the K&L Gates website. Denise Gitsham bio [The Bachelor]
Taken as a group, Supreme Court clerks can claim pretty much every honor under the sun. At One First Street, Rhodes and Marshall scholars are commonplace, law review editors-in-chief are a dime a dozen, and law school valedictorians abound.
But how many SCOTUS clerks have their own IMDb entry? Meet Isaac Lidsky (Harvard 2004 / Ambro), an attorney at the Department of Justice (Civil Appellate), who was selected last week by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor as her law clerk for October Term 2008. He founded the non-profit Hope for Vision, and his bio there reads:
[Isaac] is an honors graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, and he served as a law clerk to the Honorable Judge Thomas Ambro of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Before law school, Isaac founded Poindexter Systems, a now thriving internet advertising technology company in Manhattan. Isaac has been involved in raising awareness and funding for vision research for many years. He has organized several fundraising events, has appeared in the national media to promote awareness of the cause, has testified about the need for scientific funding before Congressional bodies on numerous occasions, and has served as a mentor to younger individuals afflicted with eye diseases. He has retinitis pigmentosa.
From a tipster:
I wonder if he is the first blind law clerk on the Supreme Court. I also wonder whether he’s the first clerk to have thrown out the first pitch at an MLB game.
[Before law school,] Isaac had a prior life as a child actor. His most notable role, I believe, was as Barton “Weasel” Wyzell (the new Screech) on Saved by the Bell: The New Class.
Awesome. Fay Diplomas and Sears Prizes pale in comparison next to the experience of having acted opposite Dennis Haskins (aka “Mr. Belding”).
Also hired as a Supreme Court clerk, but for October Term 2009: Bessie Dewar (Yale 2006 / W. Fletcher / L. Pollak (E.D. Pa.)). She’s been described to us as “brilliant,” “wonderfully charismatic,” and “one of nicest, most smiling people to grace the halls of the Yale Law School.”
The current tally of OT 2008 and OT 2009 SCOTUS clerks, with Isaac Lidsky and Bessie Dewar added, appears after the jump.
* A shout-out to the Elect on TV tonight. The lawyer protagonist of the new ABC drama, “Eli Stone” — portrayed by Jonny Lee Miller (pictured), an ex-husband of Angelina Jolie — is supposedly a former law clerk to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. [New York Times]
* A novel approach to the legal job hunt: build your own website, then advertise it in the ABA Journal. If Loyola 2L doesn’t have a job lined up already — although rumor has it that he does, which may explain his “retirement” from blogging — here’s something for him to consider. [3L for Hire and ABA Journal, via WSJ Law Blog]
* More proof that New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is a wannabe Eliot Spitzer. [DealBreaker]
* Lawyerly lairs: Tunisia. [flickr]
Ms. JD is hosting their 2nd annual cocktail benefit to raise money for the Global Education Fund. The event will be held on August 21, 2014 at 111 Minna in San Francisco. Our goal is to raise $20,000 to fund the legal educations of four dedicated law students in Uganda who count on our support to continue their studies at Makerere University during the 2014-15 academic year.
The Global Education Fund enable womens in developing countries to pursue legal educations who otherwise would not have access to further education. According to the World Bank, investment in education for girls has one of the highest rates of return to promote development. In Uganda, more than 45% of women over the age of 25 have no schooling at all, and men are more than twice as likely as women to have access to higher education. Together, we can work to end educational inequality. For more information about the program, please visit http://ms-jd.org/programs/global-education-fund/
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past seven years. You can reach them by email: email@example.com.
We at Kinney Asia have made a number of FCPA / White Collar US associate placements in Hong Kong / China thus far in 2014. Most of such placements have been commercial litigation associates from major US markets, fluent in Mandarin, switching to FCPA / White Collar litigation. Some have already had FCPA experience, but those are difficult candidates for firms to find (this will change in coming years as US firms are now promoting FCPA / White Collar to their 2L summers who are fluent in Mandarin and have an interest in transferring to China at some point).
Legal Week quoted Kinney’s Head of Asia, Evan Jowers, extensively in the following relevant article here.
There is a new trend in the market, though, where mid-level transactional US associates, fluent in spoken Mandarin and written Chinese, are interviewing for and in some cases landing junior FCPA / White Collar spots in Hong Kong / China at very top tier US firms.
When the LexisNexis Cloud Technology Survey results were reported earlier this year, it showed that attorneys were starting to peer less skeptically into the future, and slowly but surely leaning more toward all the benefits the law cloud has to offer.
Because let’s face it, plenty of attorneys are perhaps a bit too comfortable with their “system” of practice management, which may or may not include neon highlighters, sticky notes, dog-eared file folders, and a word processing program that was last updated when the term “raise the roof” was still de rigueur.