Thursday, July 28, 2005

THE VERDICT IS IN ON "THE LAW FIRM": GUILTY


WHAT A SLEAZE FIRM THE LAW FIRM IS

Well, it didn't turn out to be such a great show after all. Wow, I couldn't believe how stale this show looked. I was shocked. Roy Black just looked stiff as heck, and I'm surprised because he should be used to appearing on TV by now.

And in total-cliche fashion, this "law firm" was totally dysfunctional, as you'd expect to happen with a reality TV law firm. So what else is new. That took the life right out of the show for me. What attraction is there to working for this "law firm" filled with this argumentative group of dimbulbs? You're better off quitting and putting your big mug on billboards and TV ads and the rest of it, and getting away from all these people looking over your shoulder. This series makes a great case for solo practise. Aren't you fed up yet of seeing dysfunctional people on reality shows? Who'd want to work with these people!

So right away there's a big conceptual problem with the show. This "law firm" needed to be a place these lawyers would want to be at: a place filled with excellent mentors and interesting cases. Instead, this firm comes off as some lousy ambulance-law sleaze firm with riff-raff for clients. Who needs it. If you read the Greedy Associates forums, their idea of a good firm is some Wall Street Biglaw powerhouse that does securities law and big deals. And the Greedy criminal lawyers might dream of working for the Justice Department or the Manhattan D.A.'s office or somewhere like that. They'd laugh at you if you suggested to them that they work for a place like this one on this show. Even if the boss was Roy Black!

At least on Trump's show there was the attraction of getting to be part of the Trump empire if you won. You could hang with the Donald and meet celebrities, and be exposed to people who had lots of money, and at the end of the day you'd end up with a pretty good job where you get to learn something. But who wants to work for a firm that has you fighting cases involving three-legged dogs? This was a really stupid case with embarrassing witnesses. Even lawyers who like being in court all the time must think it was a joke.

I didn't expect reality from this show and certainly didn't get it watching. No law firm operates like this one did. The people fired tonight would have saved their jobs in any of these other firms if they had worked insane hard and brought in business. But I guess they didn't want to show lawyers rainmaking or billing a lot of hours.

Some of these lawyers were LAME. I couldn't believe how bad they were. I know law students who were better prepared and faster on their feet in court than this bunch. These folks looked like they were arguing cases in Moot Court for the very first time. Where did they get some of these attorneys? They had to have been rounded up off the street!

And Roy Black? All I will say is: this guy is no Donald Trump. Donald Trump's boardrooms can be something to behold at times, and quite frankly, Trump needs to get back to having exciting boardrooms again on The Apprentice. And Black fired two members of winning teams, so what point is there to winning a case if you're going to be fired!? Roy Black's boardrooms are just a boring waste of time. Black's lame "the verdict is in... you're out" tagline was just plain hokey. I know he's trying to come up with something different from the famous Trump line "you're fired!" Here's a suggestion for a tag line: "I quit!" Because that's what most lawyers would have said about working for this dump on TV.

As I say, if I were at a real law firm that was like this one I'd quit. The cases are a laugh, and the slightest mistake can get you reamed out and fired, so it's a miserable place to work. And by lawyer standards the money isn't even that good: only $250,000 if you're the last one standing? And your colleagues there not only are backstabbers; clearly, they're also goofballs, so being at the firm does nothing for your general reputation in the profession or with clients. To top it all off, this firm is clearly, in plain view of the TV cameras, representing clients on both sides of the litigation (hee hee). If this was an actual law firm the State Bar would throw the book at all of them! This place is a HOLE.

And that in a nutshell is the problem with the show. This is the worst law firm on the planet and the TV executives didn't even notice. Case closed.

Mind you, there are lots of law firms out there that are as crappy as this one is, in real life. And these trials, lame as they are, mirror what you actually see in court: not very glamorous witnesses or cases. The show's realistic in this sense: you see the idiots these lawyers have to deal with and the garbage they put up with on a regular basis from witnesses, judges and colleagues. No wonder rates of clinical depression are so high in the legal field. No wonder so many attorneys turn to alcohol, or quit in desperation to go into TV news like so many of the anchors and reporters at Court TV.

Nice try, David E. Kelley. Noticed you quit the legal field for TV, too.

UPDATE: Noticed this show is also running now at 8PM on CTV on Thursdays.

Ain't It Cool News actually likes this show, thought it was better than The Apprentice (can't agree there), but the review also links to the range of opinion from the NY Times, Variety, Hollywood Reporter et. al., whose general lack of enthusiasm pretty much mirrors my own reaction to the show. Also noticed a lot of the viewers writing their own reactions to the Ain't It Cool review and they all thought the show sucked, and their reaction pretty much was similar to my own and many of them are, like me, voicing their total disgust with reality TV. About the only thing missing were my "sleaze firm" comments, but their opinions mirrored mine to the letter.

The people commenting on the show were comparing the cases to what you'd get on Judge Judy. Actually, not much of a stretch when you think of it. Those cases we saw on The Law Firm were all Small Claims matters for under $5000 so yes, they're exactly the types of cases Judge Judy would hear. So when you think of it, these cases REALLY weren't that great after all.

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