Thursday, April 29, 2010

Lawyers On, If Not In, Jeopardy!

Posted by Alan Childress

Lawyers and law professors have been well represented on game shows over the years, and have been -- my impression is -- quite successful on Jeopardy!  I do know (by emails) one undefeated five-time champion:  Pat Healy, a lawyer and an indexing editor, among other positions, for LexisNexis. (His great work on my own book will be sold May 17, more later.)  Critical legal studies scholar Peter Gabel is the son of Arlene Francis, who regularly appeared on the panel for What's My Line?, and of an occasional guest panelist, actor Martin Gabel. (Peter was a surprise mystery guest once, too, and stumped his mother.) And Ninth Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski appeared on The Dating Game. Was he the catch?

Of course, in the early days, the two most famous game show participants were a psychologist (Joyce Brothers) and a literature prof (Charles Van Doren), the latter more like infamous, in the excellent movie Quiz Show.

Readers can post their own examples of law profs in action, but one you did not hear about is my own appearance, 21 years ago next month, on Concentration, with Alex Trebek. You did not hear about it because I told almost no one, which tells you a lot right now.  Suffice it to say that at the end, Alex was not speaking to me anymore, and the last words I heard were from the housewife from Pamona who remarked, after having trounced me, "And he's a professor, too!"  This as my seat was gliding away from her and Alex (who earlier had corrected her when she said "anxious to" when she meant "eager to"; pedantic twit).  It appeared to be gliding but in fact some Teamster off-camera was pulling me as a dolly.

More on that someday, but really this is a week to celebrate other game show moments.

April 29, 2010 in Film, Television | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Stanford Lawyer (Class of 1979) Heads Up Hollywood Negotiations

Posted by Jeff Lipshaw

Cal039_294w I was flipping through the New York Times Sunday Business section this morning, and saw this article about the upcoming labor negotiations between the motion picture and television industry and the various unions and guilds (writers, directors, actors), complete with picture of my law school classmate, Carol Lombardini (left), the new president of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.

Just another member of the moderately amazing Stanford Law School class of 1979, whose members have included, in addition to all the top flight lawyers, among other things, law professors, the dean of the University of Chicago law school (who hired Barack Obama), a deputy cabinet secretary, the publisher of a major newspaper, the State Department legal officer in Berlin responsible for liaison with Rudolf Hess in Spandau Prison, the CEO of one of the largest construction companies in the world, the winners of the 1979 Stanford Trivia Bowl, the Notre Dame athletic director, and the parents of two different University of Michigan undergrads named Matt.

February 28, 2010 in Current Affairs, Film, Law & Business | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Cameron and Merchant-Ivory to Remake "Remains"

Stung by criticism that Avatar is "all effects" with pedestrian plot and dialogue, James Cameron announced today that he is joining forces with the Merchant-Ivory team on a 3-D remake of The Remains of the Day. In the new version, with a script to be written by Cameron and Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, Stevens, the repressed butler of the original, will become an android in service to Darth Darlington on a space station near Alpha Centauri, and like the original, struggling with an emerging consciousness.  Andy Serkis, who played Gollum in The Lord of the Rings, will play a computer generated Stevens, with a voice-over to be provided by Anthony Hopkins.  Helena Bonham Carter will reprise her Planet of the Apes tour de force, taking over the Emma Thompson role as Miss Kenton, a primate hired as housekeeper for Darth Darlington, to be played by Ian McKellen. 

The film will culminate in a typically Cameron-esque action sequence, with Stevens being subjected to the Turing test by the Klingons, Romulans, and Federation representatives who have gathered at Darlington Station to discuss the impending galactic war between the forces of foundationalism and those of post-modern indeterminacy.  Daniel Dennett, Roger Penrose, and Stanley Fish have been retained as script advisors.

Sets are currently being constructed in New Zealand, with the opening anticipated for summer, 2011.

[This parody was brought to you by Jeff Lipshaw, and has nothing to do with law, except that it represents one form of procrastination from grading, and reflects one habitual over-thinker's reaction to some of the over-thinking that has gone on with respect to a sci-fi movie, which the over-thinker happened to love.]

December 23, 2009 in Film, Games | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Unsupported CJA Fee Requests, and Overly-Sarky Sidley & Austin Brief

Posted by Alan Childress

Two recent posts from the Law of Criminal Defense Blog caught my eye and I share them with you below.  (This is in addition to recommending Bill's nice and provocative post here this morning on outcomes in legal education -- which btw has been picked up by the ABA Journal here [they do that to Mike's posts all the time, too] and has good comments after, including several "Go Henderson"s.).

In one post, the blog (by John Wesley Hall, Jr.) reports on "a rare look at an appeal from a denial of CJA fees appealed to the Circuit Court and applying the" circuit's written guidelines.  That court was the Ninth Circuit; it held that the trial judge's "48% reduction of CJA counsel's second interim fee request was within the court's discretion based on the judge's observation of the trial not matching the trial preparation." 

I am indisputably interested in issues of federal appellate deference and standards of review, to be sure, but also what caught my eye is the decision below was by "Judge Quackenbush."  I immediately thought of Groucho's doctor-character in A Day at the Races, but that was actually Hackenbush. But my comedic instincts were not wrong.  Turns out he was originally Quackenbush but "MGM’s legal department discovered at least a dozen legitimate U.S. doctors named Quackenbush, so, for legal reasons and to Groucho’s dismay, the name was changed to Hackenbush."  More famous litigation lore, perhaps, is the Warner Brothers' rumored threat to sue the Marx Brothers for their film title A Night in Casablanca, to which Groucho wrote a letter to WB threatening to sue them for using the word “Brothers”:  “Professionally, we were brothers before they ever were.”

In another post, Hall comments on a trial judge's chastising of Sidley Austin "for dripping sarcasm in their brief."  Hall's reminder:  "You're going to win or lose without it [sarcasm], either on the facts and law or the fact the judge hates defense lawyers and defendants, and sarcasm is just unprofessional."

Hall also links to an article on lawyers AS criminal defendants, by Leslie Levin, new in the Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics.

November 12, 2009 in Blogging, Film, Lawyers & Popular Culture, Teaching & Curriculum | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)