February 20, 2010

Seeking that perfect niche practice

Let me assure you, practicing law can be hard work. If I were to delve into the legal complexities of a case I handled recently concerning title insurance law, you would see what I mean. Hours and hours in the county law library. There's a reason the law is called "a jealous mistress" (sexist, I know, but the point is still the same - it's time consuming).

It's why I envy Gloria Allred. She didn't become a lawyer until she was about 34, by my calculation, but she really made up for lost time. If there is a high profile celebrity case (and there always is), and if the high profile celebrity case involves a woman who is tangentially involved, usually in some way where she has been publicly "dissed" or treated shabbily as the "other woman," by some guy who is trying to finagle his way out of the usual situation that guys so often find themselves in (namely, pretending to a kind of saintly aura of monogamy bordering on monasticism, when in fact they're carrying on like randy old goats), there's Gloria, the Righteous Avenger, to speak for the woman who cannot articulate her own anger in exactly the right way (that is, for maximum PR impact), and who senses, however inchoately (usually because she is somewhat inchoate, not to say incoherent, herself), there is Gloria, to level the playing field and to open the doors to that most valued of all American sinecures, The World of Celebrity.

What a client list! Paula Jones, in the Clinton BJ case, Nicole Brown Simpson's family in the O.J. murder trial, Amber Frey, in the Scott Peterson case. And now --fff

Gloria Allred, the prominent lawyer who has represented a range of high-profile clients, calledTiger Woods' Friday apology a "staged public relations stunt."

Allred has worked for at least two alleged Tiger Woods mistresses, including Rachel Uchitel (PHOTOS) and porn star Joslyn James (PHOTOS). She said today that Woods needs "lying rehab" and "betrayal rehab" in addition to sex addiction therapy.

Is there anyone in the country who would be more attuned to exactly what a "staged public relations stunt" is? Actually, aren't "staged," "public relations" and "stunt" actually all the same thing? And here's the thing about "betrayal rehab:" where would such a program be conducted for the men of America? In the Astrodome? In the new Yankee Stadium? (As for "lying rehab:" oh yeah, we're going to clean that up.)

It seems to me that Gloria will just not let a man grovel in peace. But more to the point, is she certain that she does not have a conflict of interest in simultaneously representing two of Tiger's dissed women? Are their interests possibly adverse? Suppose Rachel says, "Tiger promised me that he would leave Elin for me." What, then, if Joslyn James, the porn star, then says, "No, Tiger promised me that he would leave Elin for me" ? What if Tiger goes to Lying Rehab and clears up any ambiguity. ("It was the porn star all along," Tiger tearfully admitted. "In front of God, my country and Nike's Executive VP for Advertising, Joslyn's the one. The rest were just to cover my tracks.")

Or suppose both Rachel and Joslyn turn to Gloria and ask, as Amber Frey or Nicole Brown Simpson's Family might have asked, why the hell do we actually need a lawyer to represent us as peripheral actors on the stage of a major national drama in the first place? Do we actually have a legal problem? For that matter, does Tiger? Wasn't he just screwing around with women of adult age in consensual trysts? Why does he need "rehab" for anything, and what the hell are lawyers doing mixed up in this non-event?

Still, the envy remains. See, Gloria represented Nicole Brown Simpson's Family in the OJ murder trial. Remember how they were put on trial for the murder...okay, wait, I'm confused. I guess they weren't actually parties to the case. And in the civil case against OJ in which they were parties, Daniel Petrocelli was the lead counsel, a very able attorney who won the case whereas the DA in Los Angeles had lost the criminal case. Imagine all the work involved in that. Betcha he had his hours in the library. I must have been thinking of Amber Frey. No, that's not it. She wasn't a party either, just a witness.

Those are the cases I want. No jeopardy for my clients, they're not even parties, yet I represent them for...something. I guide them through the...process. I could have thought of that if I had had Gloria's intuitive sense for just how profoundly dumb a circus American public life has become. If your name is in the news, in some way connected to some tawdry episode where real lawyering is needed (or even where it isn't, as in Tiger's "case"), the spotlight itself means you need a lawyer, because becoming famous as a person who has become famous, can, in the right, skillful, cynical hands, become your new career.

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