Having hung around with lawyers for more than 30 years, there is one thing I can assert with confidence: we’re not that interesting. Sure, we amuse ourselves, but there is a reason why nobody thinks our “why did the chicken cross the road” joke is funny.*
Yet, in the Age of Kardashian, that doesn’t stop lawyers from fulfilling their dream of becoming a star. First, Jamie Casino, of the most awesome lawyer commercial of January, was signed to do a reality show. No concept yet, but flaming sledgehammer. That’s a draw, right?
Now, the Connecticut Law Tribune announces another one:
Bicoastal lawyer Loredana Nesci practices in Connecticut and California, representing clients that she says other lawyers would most likely turn down. Now her experiences as an unconventional criminal and civil lawyer who also juggles family life will be played out in a reality show, “Loredana ESQ,” which will air on cable’s Sundance TV.
Who? Beats me. But when she’s the toast of the air waves, no doubt I will wish I could say I knew her when. I can’t wait to find out why other lawyers would turn down her clients. I assume it’s because they’re broke, because otherwise there will always be someone to take the case. Are broke clients interesting?
There is no indication she can sing or dance. She may be able to tell jokes, but that doesn’t seem to be the gist of the show. Given that it’s Connecticut, maybe they will put her together with 100 other lawyers and form a marching band. Nah, they would never be able to walk in the same direction. So why is she the star of a television reality show?
“She envisioned the show to be about my life as a strong female attorney struggling to help my clients and be a mom and partner,” Nesci said. “My clients are not hardened criminals who cannot be reformed. My clients are down on their luck and made bad decisions which resulted in their arrests. My clients are everyday people trying to live their lives and who have managed to get themselves in jams and it’s up to me to rescue them from their mistakes. These are people who deserve a second chance.”
Is she suggesting that she plans to argue her clients’ cases in the court of public opinion? Because everyone else’s criminal defense clients are hardened and don’t deserve a second chance? And at the same time, be a “strong female attorney” because all the other female lawyers are weaklings? Or are they just lousy moms and partners? Is there something special here that eludes me? I don’t think so.
For a long time now, I’ve pounded the point that lawyers on television are just the baloney in the media’s sandwich. We’re props, used to fill air time between commercials. The heads are interchangeable, and what comes out of our mouths resonates for maybe a few seconds until it’s forgotten when the next segment begins with a cute cat picture. We are not stars.
Sure, it’s happened for a few lawyers. Star Jones. Nancy Grace. Danny Abrams, though if one defines a lawyer as being someone who has seen the inside of a courtroom, then Danny doesn’t make the cut. Other lawyers have crashed and burned in the process. Ask Mickey Sherman about that. Mark Geragos almost made it, but keeps falling off the edge whenever the Larry King show changes hands.
But given the thousands of lawyers who will show up at the drop of a hat to do a three-minute segment on a news magazine, where two and a half minutes are taken up with the hosts chatter and question, no one will either know or care that your puss was on TV. Sorry, kids, but it’s just not memorable.
But if someone makes a television show all about you, certainly it won’t be the same thing. The question, however, is what will be shown about Loredana ESQ.? Will someone explain to her clients that their worst moments will be watched by others, so they will never be able to move beyond them? Will the producers demand that Loredana toss over a table once in a while, or curse at people for no apparent reason to create drama and interest? Will she come off as a “strong female lawyer,” or another flaming nutjob from Jersey, or Orange County, New York City, or Beverly Hills? Can she afford to live the life that she wants the world to see?
A woman lawyer living a working lawyer’s life doesn’t really seem like much of a draw. It also seems to implicate an awful lot that raises serious questions about confidentiality and integrity that puts both the clients’ lives, and the lawyer’s life, at risk. The more interesting they make the show, the less it will comport with how a competent and ethical attorney should behave. Maybe that’s the lesson, that if lawyers are prepared to be as stupid and outrageous as Teresa Giudice, they too can be a star?
It didn’t turn out all that great for Teresa. I wonder if it will turn out any better for Loredana. And it probably won’t turn out well at all for her clients. But then, if they are unhappy with the outcome of the show, they can always turn to Jamie Casino and his flaming sledgehammer. Hey, maybe that can be the concept for his show? After all, trading off the dead brother thing might be enough for a commercial, but it doesn’t have the legs for a series.
* To get diversity jurisdiction.
H/T William Doriss