While O’Connell has his wife (hot, successful model Rebecca Romijn) to rely on if studying torts doesn’t work out, he’s simply the most recent in a long line of former child stars who applied their youthful charisma (and post-puberty looks) towards careers as lawyers. Here are some others.
Law School: Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law ‘03
Firms Worked: Morrison Cohen LLP
How You Knew Him Best: He played “Paul Pfeiffer,” or simply “Pfeiffer,” on The Wonder Years.
What’s He’s Doing Now: Let’s clear something up. Josh Saviano did not grow up to become Marilyn Manson. Snopes put that rumor to rest years ago. So what is Saviano up to? Well, after graduating, he became an associate at Morrison & Cohen in New York, where he specializes in IP.
Lara Jill Miller
Undergrad: New York University
Law School: Fordham University School of Law ‘94
Firms Worked: Passed the Bar Exam in NY, NJ & PA, but no specific firms listed
How You Knew Her Best: She was “Samantha Kanisky,” the plucky tomboy who played opposite Nell Carter on Gimmie a Break!
What She’s Doing Now: While working briefly for a Manhattan law firm, being recognized by potential jurors during voir dire inspired Miller to return to acting, which she did in 1999. But you likely haven’t seen Miller’s face on the small screen. Instead it’s her voice that brings home the bucks these days. She’s worked for animated shows on Nickelodeon, Disney and PBS. She even keeps an official site.
Sheila James Kuehl
Undergrad: University of California at Los Angeles
Law School: Harvard Law ‘78
How You Knew Her Best: Here’s one for the old-timers out there. Sheila James worked on a lot of television shows in the ‘50s and ‘60s, including guest-starring roles on The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet, The Beverly Hillbillies, and McHale’s Navy. But she’s probably best known for her portrayal of “Zelda Gilroy” on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.
What She’s Doing Now: For starters, she’s no longer known by her stage name, Sheila James. Instead, she’s known as Sheila Kuehl. Kuehl served six years in the California State Assembly and eight years in the California State Senate. Kuehl, who was the first openly gay woman to serve in the California legislature, became a member of the state’s Integrated Waste Management Board. Previous to her career in politics, she was a law professor at Loyola Los Angeles, UCLA and USC Law Schools and co-founded and managing attorney of the California Women’s Law Center.
Undergrad: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Law School: Yale Law ‘06
Firms Worked: Sullivan & Cromwell
How You Knew Him Best: The first time you saw Charlie Korsmo, it was probably in 1990 as the dirty, crime-fighting kid opposite Warren Beatty in Dick Tracy. A year later, you should have seen him play Richard Dreyfuss’ son in the underappreciated Bill Murray movie What About Bob? If you saw the Jennifer Love Hewitt vehicle Can’t Hardly Wait (which, admit it, you have) then you got a glimpse of a more mature Korsmo as a nerdy high-school kid.
What He’s Doing Now: Would you believe that Korsmo is teaching at Brooklyn Law School? Well, he is. Korsmo was a visiting professor at Brooklyn Law for two years, according to the school’s website.
Law School: Harvard Law ‘04
Firms Worked: Jones Day
How You Knew Him Best: As “Weasel” on Saved By The Bell: The New Class. Of course no one could live up to the original recipe, so the show didn’t last all that long. Lidsky, whose character was supposed to fill the shoes of Dustin Diamond’s “Screech,” only has one other credit to his name. But luckily Lidsky didn’t have to try to imitate Diamond’s work for very long. (Interesting fact: Lidsky’s co-star on The New Class was Natalia Cigliuti, who Bitter Lawyer interviewed in July. She played a Brooklyn public defender in TNT’s Raising the Bar.)
What He’s Doing Now: While acting wasn’t Lidsky’s bag, his legal career is award worthy. He clerked for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor before she retired. Lidsky, who is the first blind clerk at The U.S. Supreme Court, also worked for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Legal career aside, here’s Lidsky hanging out in the Cubs’ dugout promoting Hope for Vision:
Addendum and Oversight: Jeff B. Cohen
An oversight as big as “bullet holes the size of matzo balls” is Jeff B. Cohen. He played “Chunk” in the classic movie Goonies. Now the UCLA Law grad is the “Cohen” of entertainment law firm Cohen & Gardner, LLP. LawShucks wrote a profile on him on 7.20.09—thanks for mentioning.]
Can’t get enough of child stars, lawyers or not? Check out journalist Joal Ryan’s blog. Ryan regularly covers child stars gone bad for E! and other outlets, and she helped with some key background information for this list.