A Cultural Shift, or How TV Views Attorneys

Law and Order,” which usually picks business executives, corporate attorneys, military contractors and monied interests for its conspiring criminals and murderers, threw the NBC show’s few remaining viewers a curve ball this last week in an episode, “By Perjury.” Originally broadcast in January, the episode tracks the murder of a plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit against an airline and plane manufacturer.

SPOILER ALERT: Turns out the real evil character is the class-action lawyer, who has killed three people — including that of a pro-business judge — in his obsessive pursuit of a big payout.

Over on CBS, there’s a brother and sister lawyer team competing on “The Amazing Race,” a diverting reality series that sends groups on global treasure hunts. Victor and Tammy Jih are both Stanford grads, earned their law degrees at Harvard, and are litigators in California, Tammy an associate at Quinn Emanuel and Victor a partner at O’Melveny and Myers — and a man who knows manufacturing!

His areas of practice include entertainment, copyright and trademark, First Amendment, unfair competition, contract and other commercial disputes in forums across the nation, including the Eastern District of Virginia, Louisiana State Court, and throughout California.  Major clients whom Victor has served in recent years include computer software companies and hardware manufacturers, major motion picture studios, national rental-car companies, and other large companies in the Internet, entertainment, and retail industries.

And, he represented a national package delivery firm “in more than fifty pending putative class action lawsuits in forty-two states seeking to reclassify as ’employees’ thousands of independent contractors engaged in package pick-up and delivery services.”

Amazing, indeed: TV portraying a battling class-action lawyer as a killer, and making a corporate attorney  who defends against class-actions a contestant to cheer for.

Signs of a broader cultural shift? Nah. We learned on “24” last night that the nation is being undermined by a shadowy defense contractor by the evocative name of Starkwood.


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