Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
HE’LL TAKE TV GAME SHOWS FOR $500, ALEX Edward Schiffer took a massive pay cut when he quit big-firm life to become a staff attorney at the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. Now he’s found a novel way to supplement his income: facing off against other braniacs on television game shows. “It’s gratifying to find a way to use that knowledge” of trivia, Schiffer said after his appearance earlier this month on “Jeopardy.” He beat out two other contestants and won $17,400. Among his coups during the show were knowing the state bird of Texas — the mockingbird — and successfully responding “Team America: World Police” after a competitor flubbed by guessing “South Park.” (The question was looking for a movie with risque marionettes, not cartoons.) In 2004, Schiffer took home $125,000 from the syndicated version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” He says he likes those two game shows because they reward knowledge of “arcane matters.” And he could win a whole lot more on “Jeopardy.” Schiffer’s victory was part of the ongoing “Ultimate Tournament of Champions.” He now proceeds to the next round and eventually could be one of two people to face off against uber-champion Ken Jennings, who last year took home more than $2.5 million in an unprecedented 75-show run. The tournament winner gets $2 million. Schiffer secured a spot in the contest because he had appeared on the show in 1993 when he won about $65,000. At the time, he was a lecturer in the English department at UCLA. Aside from the money, which he used to buy rental property in Southern California, Schiffer credits his first run on “Jeopardy” with giving him the motivation to make the career change from teacher to attorney. “Arguably, it set things in motion,” he said. “It gave me a certain confidence and economic wherewithal.” He attended Yale Law School and then went to work at Heller Ehrman White & McAuliffe in San Francisco. But he didn’t really like firm life, so he took the Ninth Circuit job. Now he’s about 2 1/2 years into his five-year gig at the court and says he’s going to need money because he’s not sure what to do next. But Schiffer said he’s not counting on getting any further in the tournament. Besides, he said, it’s not necessarily even about the money. “I just wanted to go there and see if I could do it,” he said. “My limited goal was to win at least once.” Jeff Chorney CAN WE HAVE A DO-OVER? A key witness in a recent Redwood City hearing had testified by video from Virginia for about an hour when suddenly everyone realized he’d never been sworn in. Fred Cheesman, a senior researcher for the National Center for State Courts, was about to undergo cross-examination when the gaffe came to light. “I forgot,” said an embarrassed Supervising Juvenile Court Judge Marta Diaz, who was overseeing the hearing into whether to open up San Mateo County’s dependency proceedings. “He wasn’t here [in person].” Better late than never, Diaz asked Cheesman to stand up and take the oath. As he complied, his head disappeared from the screen altogether, and his right hand, held up palm out for the swearing, loomed large, taking up most of the video screen. Taking the situation in stride, Gerard Hilliard, managing attorney of the San Mateo County Bar Association’s private defender program, calmly began his questioning. “Now that you’re under oath,” he said. Mike McKee PARTY WITH A MISSION The gathering Thursday evening at the Globe Restaurant was the kind of gig that San Francisco’s criminal defense community likes — tasty finger food, free booze and Wavy Gravy quotes. Plus, it was all for a good cause: Project Avary, a program designed to help children whose parents are behind bars. The defense bar dominated the crowd of about 75 people, but there were also a couple of prosecutors, including San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, as well as at least one judge, First District Court of Appeal Justice J. Anthony Kline. Project Avary runs a mentoring program and hosts a summer camp as well as “adventure days” throughout the school year. It’s all designed to expose the at-risk kids to positive role models and give them opportunities to do things they might otherwise not be able to do. “It’s a kind of invisible population,” Executive Director Danny Rifkin told the crowd. “What do they need? The same thing all kids need.” The board of directors for the Marin-based group would like to see more involvement on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge. Of course that means financial support — the event raised about $15,000 — but it also means networking and sharing ideas, according to San Francisco attorney Arthur Wachtel, who hosted the event. Besides Rifkin (who quoted Gravy, a member of Project Avary’s advisory board), San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi and Harris addressed the group. Adachi pointed out that there aren’t any local public programs to help the children of the incarcerated and said he hoped Project Avary would provide needed leadership as he and Harris work to reform the juvenile justice system. Harris said the project was an example of the kind of “smart on crime” approach she hopes will be the hallmark of her tenure. “What better place to focus on prevention than to focus on youth?” Harris said. “I thank everyone who’s involved in this project because it will help me reduce my caseload.” — Jeff Chorney

This content has been archived. It is available through our partners, LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law.

To view this content, please continue to their sites.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Not a Bloomberg Law Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law are third party online distributors of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law customers are able to access and use ALM's content, including content from the National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, Legaltech News, The New York Law Journal, and Corporate Counsel, as well as other sources of legal information.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]

Reprints & Licensing
Mentioned in a Law.com story?

License our industry-leading legal content to extend your thought leadership and build your brand.


ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.