July 29, 2005
NB don't C "The Law Firm"
July 29, 2005 12:31 AM
Currently on display in the Television Hall of Shame is NBC's latest attempt to score pennies off the success of The Apprentice. The show is called "The Law Firm." In case you're too stupid to figure out, or were one of those people who had to look up "Apprentice" or maybe asked your smart friend to find out what it means, the title effectively sums up the entire premise of the show. It's about a fake law firm with fake people running around and working on fake cases.
The creativity that went into the development of the show rivals the combined talents of Shakespeare, Da Vinci, and my neighbor's dog. I don't know of any quasi-reality TV show that has a bunch of nitwits competing with each other for the sake of competition with type-cast characters to fit a three-year olds expectations.
And the acting sucks!
At least "The Restaurant" died the ignoble death it deserved. Everything that guy touches turns to lead.
Are the fake people fake lawyers too?
This is what happens when attorneys succomb to celebrity behavior.
I am an attorney, and I actually kind of appreciated what the producers where trying to do with this show.
According to the disclaimers at the end of the end of the show, the cases were real disputes, with real parties, being settled by the show as a form of binding arbitration. (a la the people's court). The arbitrators/judges appeared to be doing a fairly good job of being relatively realistic.
While the cases were chosen to sound flashy, they actually highlighted moderately interesting legal issues. One was an intentional infliction of emotional distress case, where the defendant was clearly an idiot-- but damages and intent to cause emotional distress were at issue. The other was an injury to dog case where the plaintiff was incredibly sympathetic (tiny three legged dog) but the defendant really didn't have much liability (the tiny dog was trespassing). This one came down to an admission/promise to pay damages issue. In other words, the cases were not trivial-- in a legal sense (unlike most people's court cases).
The problem with the show was that in one hour the show needed to introduce its premise, introduce 12 contestants, show the preparation for both cases, show the trials for both cases, and do a board room/firing ceremony. This meant that the editing couldn't do justice to explaining the complexity of the case-- however, it appeared that the actual trials probably did (though we didn't see enough to really know).
In the later rounds, once there are less contestants and will only be one case per hour, I think that this show could be facinating. If they could retool it a bit (which they won't) to include an impartial narrator explaining what the legal issues should be, then it will be easier for the viewer to understand what is going on and to judge how the contestants are doing at the tasks. At the moment, they rely largely on contestant side interviews to describe issues, and that doesn't work well because the contestants (i) haven't always though things through well and (ii) are biased towards their side of the case/position. With a little tweaking, this could be like a junkyard wars for lawyers. That would be a great show, and very informative for the public.
I am an attorney and this show is trash. The host is wooden as hell and is painful to watch. I know a number of non-lawyers who thought these cases were actually being tried before real judges and arbitrators. You have to watch the disclaimer which they flash on the screen for half a second during the closing credits to know for sure. Also, the contestants are clowns. That Asian woman who got knocked off last week might be one of the dumbest people ever on TV.
what happened to the show...it was on and then went off!