March 31, 2004

The Real World, Lawyer-Style

by Jeremy Blachman

Variety reports that Fox has a new reality show in the works -- all about lawyers!

[Fox] has given a eight-to-10-episode production commitment to the tentatively titled "The Partner," an hourlong skein in which a group of newly minted lawyers will battle each other to win a job as a partner in a major law firm...

Contestants will be divided into two teams -- one made up of Ivy League grads, the other consisting of players who attended less prestigious schools. Each week, teams will compete by serving as prosecutors or defenders in mock trials inspired by actual cases. A jury of real people -- selected by the lawyers/contestants -- will determine the winner of each trial...

Fox and Rocket Science are in talks with several well-known lawyers about coming on board to serve in the Trump-like role as judge. Talks are also under way with several law firms about serving as the sponsoring firm for the show. Lawyers from the chosen firm will act as advisers to the two teams...

"Lawyers are so verbose, so opinionated and want to be on camera," [exec producer] Darnell said.

1. Lawyers, quick! Get your resumes into Fox before Johnnie Cochran gets there first!

2. The winner gets to become a partner?? Right away?? Is there any reputable law firm that would agree to that? How much partner-level work can this recent grad do, no matter how talented he or she is? No experience, no connections... and imagine the terrible press within the legal industry. "Yeah, they have that partner... from the reality show." That makes you sound really classy.

3. I can tell from that last quote that this show plans to go a long way to correct stereotypes about lawyers... right....

March 31, 2004 07:10 PM | TrackBack

Thank goodness for this show. I was worried that by the time I graduated, there might be some respectability left in the legal profession.

Whew. That was a close one.

Posted by: Russell at March 31, 2004 07:36 PM

I would be really suprised if they got any Ivy League grads willing to participate. Forget the fact, as you point out, that no reputable firm would ever make a recent graduate a lawyer, but I highly doubt any reputable firm would even consider hiring anyone -- even as an associate -- that would appear on this show.

Posted by: Brian at March 31, 2004 10:09 PM

Err... sorry, I meant partner not the more generic lawyer.

Posted by: Brian at March 31, 2004 11:42 PM

I dunno, I think there are Ivy League grads out there who don't have a burning desire to be a law firm partner, and for them, the bonus of appearing on a reality show may be worth the risk of not ending up employable at a big firm. Because surely public interest organizations might still want you. And, hey, 30 years from now it might be so common to be on reality TV that a future Supreme Court justice will be on the show. Actors become Presidents. Why not?

Posted by: Jeremy at April 1, 2004 12:14 AM

if a future supreme court justice was once on a TV show:

is the bluebook clear on the differences in citation format when citing to a reality tv show, a made-for-tv movie based on True Life Experiences, and a miniseries? morever, when string-citing from a movie, what is the preferred format order? (which should come first, Cable TV debut, Broadcast network premiere, or DVD criterion release?)

Posted by: miket at April 1, 2004 07:26 AM

Aren't there Ivy League MBA grads on Trump's show? Are we assuming that JDs are somehow more dignified than their B-school counterparts?

Posted by: PG at April 1, 2004 08:32 AM

No, those of us with JDs are far less dignified than MBA graduates.

Its a position we take quite seriously.

Posted by: Anthony at April 1, 2004 11:52 AM

Why don't we consider it like this.
They may not make it to a reputable firm, but if they go solo after the show, they will be so popular that everybody would like to have a reality show star as their lawyer, 'cause they would like to have a cool lawyer for a change. I mean, people would find it really cool to have a celebrity as a lawyer. Imagine if that lawyer enters the malpractice field or something like that, I bet he will be a millionair in no time. And don't forget that everyone will know for sure that he/she is an ivy league grad.
As for a prestigous firm that would let a grad become a partner, well, i don't think wachtell or cravath would agree. But i think that other firm would, they would think of the million of more that they would be paying him/her per year as advertisements costs. One million of cable TV ads. Now a bad deal.

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Posted by: Iysam @1 at April 1, 2004 12:01 PM

I don't think the taint of reality tv would just push away "big firms," that's why I echoed Jeremy's use ot "reputable firm."

Even many of the smallest of law firms might be turned off. That's to say nothing if this attorney wants to go into government work.

Now, for those dreaming to be the next John Stewart it might be the perfect stage to show your talents. :)

Posted by: Brian at April 1, 2004 01:19 PM

I'd rather see a Fear Factor episode composed only of lawyers. One of the stunts could consist of the lawyers swimming with sharks; although that may become confusing for the viewers at home. :>

Posted by: Sean S at April 1, 2004 01:21 PM

At least it's not advertising! And that's that!

Years ago I used to post comic strips in my office that made fun of lawyers and the legal profession. My clients would get a charge out of them (and I of course would charge them!). My favorite strip was from Miss Peach (by Mel), a primary grade teacher. From time to time one of the kids would be behind a podium with a banner in front of it giving a presentation on the subject disclosed in the banner. Arthur was the dumb kid in the class. As he stood behind the podium with a banner reading "Future Lawyers of America Meet Here", he said: "My ambition in life is to sue every man, woman and child in the United States." Now that's an ambitious class action. Let's see, one-third of the domestic gross domestic product is ....

Posted by: Shag from Brookline at April 2, 2004 02:34 PM

Let's face it, we all want to be on tv, even the dullest most conservative of Lawyers.

Posted by: Darren at May 19, 2004 03:53 PM

Don't you think "The Apprentice" had it's share of doubters, who's laughing now?

Posted by: Darren at May 19, 2004 03:57 PM
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