Lawyers are usually behind-the-scenes types.
They like to hear themselves talk, of course, but more often than not that talking is done behind closed doors or in a half-empty courtroom. There is little fame in the law firm game.
But some lawyers represent celebrities, and it seems like once they start they just can’t stop themselves.
Some enjoy the perks of representing big-name clients quietly. For others having a big toe in the limelight is not enough, and they force themselves centre stage more times than it would seem possible. And it’s almost certainly more times than some would care to see them.
The list includes an attorney that represent half of Hollywood’s A-list and one whose relationship with a single client turned into the most depressing of D-List disasters.
Celebrity clients: Phil Spector and the Menendez Brothers
Leslie Abramson is known for her unruly hair and her outspoken client advocacy.
She is most famous for representing Eric and Lyle Mendendez, who shot their parents in their Beverly Hills home in 1989. Abramson worked to gain sympathy for the young men during the trial, highlighting their father's alleged mental and sexual abuse. Eric and Lyle were convicted of murder anyway, and it was revealed during the penalty phase that Abramson asked a witness to alter his notes. She plead the Fifth when questioned by the judge and was removed from the case.
Celebrity clients: The family of Nicole Brown Simpson, Paula Jones, Amber Frey (girlfriend of Scott Peterson)
Gloria Allred has not met a media frenzy she doesn't like - even her website boasts that she is 'the most famous woman attorney practicing law in the nation today.' Instead of representing the celebrities, she often represents the not-famous parties to controversy, such as Rob Lowe's nanny that accused him of sexual harassment. And sometimes she represents people (e.g. Britney Spears's bodyguard) when it isn't exactly clear why they need representation at all.
Allred is always available to offer her opinion, recently suing the so-called 'Octomom' stating that the semi-famous babies need an appointed guardian to protect their interests.
Celebrity clients: Michael Moore, George Steinbrenner, Carly Simon
David Boies is a legendary litigator whose career took off when he defended IBM against antitrust allegations He also represented Al Gore in Bush v. Gore and has teamed up with Ted Olson, his opponent in that case, to fight California's Proposition 8.
But his cases are not always so cerebral. Boies handled talks with Major League Baseball on behalf of Steinbrenner and the Yankees over an Adidas deal. He also represented filmmaker Michael Moore during his promotion of the film Sicko; Boies sent a letter to the government suggesting the Bush administration's criticism of the film may have prompted a federal investigation into Moore's trip to Cuba.
He also recently sued Starbucks on behalf of singer Carly Simon.
Celebrity clients: O.J. Simpson, Mike Tyson, socialite Claus van Bulow and Patricia Hearst
Alan Dershowitz -- or 'Dersh' as some of his students call him -- is a longtime Harvard professor and is best known to those under 35 for his participation in the O.J. Simpson trial. But Dershowitz first became a household name when he lead the appeal of the conviction of Claus von Bulow, who was accused of attempting to kill his wife, Sunny. (Sunny survived in a coma for more than 20 years after she was found unconscious in 1980.) Von Bulow's conviction was overturned and the saga was made into a movie, Reversal of Fortune.
Celebrity clients: Al Pacino, Robert Redford Tom Brokaw, Sean Connery, Richard Gere
Martin Garbus's client list reads like a Who's Who of authors, actors and playwrights. It also includes Miramax and Bloomberg, L.P. and Nelson Mandela.
The legendary First Amendment advocate made a name for himself when he defended Lenny Bruce against obscenity charges. He later continued the theme in representing Don Imus.
Garbus's decades-long career is full of celebrity and athlete highlights. He once went after a cigarette maker on behalf of Robert Redford (pdf) and represented Barry Bonds' ex-girlfriend when the FBI allegedly tried to discourage her from speaking to Senator George Mitchell.
Celebrity clients: Michael Jackson, Winona Ryder, Chris Brown and Scott Peterson
Mark Geragos might be the most 'famous' of the celebrity attorneys, at least if measured by how often we see him in the news.
Geragos was hired then fired by Michael Jackson to defend him against molestation charges, but Geragos still testified on behalf of Jackson at trial. He also defended Winona Ryder in the case where she was convicted of shoplifting from Saks.
A media storm erupted earlier this year when pictures of battered pop star Rihanna were released; the culprit was Chris Brown, who immediately hired Geragos. Geragos made news by telling CNN that Brown had learned his lesson. Geragos recently weighed in on a case he probably wishes he was involved in -- David Letterman should not have contacted the police and instead handled the alleged extortion privately, Geragos said.
Celebrity clients: Bruce Springsteen (pictured), Madonna, Mariah Carey, Jennifer Lopez
'In the entertainment business, there's one sure sign that you made it: Allen Grubman is your lawyer,' City File said.
In what would seem like a conflict of interest for anyone else -- and is fact fairly controversial -- Grubman has represented both A-list artists and the major labels at the same time. New York Magazine has called him the music industry's 'sole superpower attorney.'
Of course, Grubman may best be known outside of the industry for being the father of publicist Lizzie Grubman, who did a short stint in jail after running over several people outside a Hamptons nightclub in 2001.
Celebrity clients: Marc Dreier, Joe Halderman, Murder Inc founder Irv Gotti
Gerald Shargel's face was all over television last month as he began the public defence of his client, Joe Halderman, against charges of trying to extort money from David Letterman. Last year he represented lawyer-turned-felon Marc Dreier, who was convicted of stealing millions from hedge funds and his clients.
In 2005, Jay Z, Richard Simmons and Ashanti stopped by to see trial of his client, Irv Gotti, who Shargel was defending on money laundering charges.
Celebrity client: Anna Nicole Smith
Howard K. Stern made a career and a life out of representing Anna Nicole Smith. Stern took on Smith's suit against her deceased multi-millionaire husband's estate, though he appeared to be more companion than attorney when the case made it to the Supreme Court.
Stern participated in Smith's reality show and then became a ubiquitous face on the news when he said he fathered her baby, which turned out to be untrue.
Things went severely downhill for Stern after Smith's death. Stern was arrested in May for providing Smith with controlled substances and a judge is currently deciding whether he and two doctors will face trial.
Celebrity clients: Willie Nelson and Matthew McConaughey
If you get in trouble in Austin, Joe Turner is the man to call.
When Willie Nelson was charged with possession of marijuana, Turner was successful in getting the case tossed because of an illegal search. 'Mad Dog' Turner told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (pdf) that when he asked Nelson where the joint was, Nelson pointed to his car's ashtray and said, 'Right where that one is.'
He also defended Matthew McConaughey after the infamous naked bongo playing incident (pictured is his mugshot); the charges against the actor were dropped.
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