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Harvard Law students aren’t strangers to celebrity. They get grilled by Alan Dershowitz and mull over the Constitution with the likes of Laurence Tribe and Lani Guinier. In class, they find themselves seated between daughters of senators and sons of oil barons. But this semester, Harvard Law students are getting treated to something different: a firsthand case study in overnight fame. The subject is Nick Brown. Last year Brown was known to his classmates as just another affable first-year student who logged long hours in the library. Now his Harvard Law peers (and the rest of the country) are getting to know him as Nick, the quiet, bare-chested Survivor contestant who, on back-to-back episodes of the CBS smash hit, built a kitchen out of rocks and helped chase down a wild pig. “It’s become the buzz of the school,” says fellow second-year student Brian Lutz of Brown’s weekly TV appearances. “All eyes turn to Nick when he walks down the hall.” Brown’s contract with CBS forbids him from talking about his experience on the show. But, according to Lutz, Brown became fascinated with Survivor’s initial run last summer, in which 16 contestants were plunked down on a small island in the South China Sea and forced to compete against each other for the show’s million-dollar prize. Brown (along with 50,000 others) applied for the chance to appear as one of 16 swashbuckling souls on the equally exotic follow-up, Survivor: The Australian Outback. The tryout required Brown to make a covert trip out of Cambridge last September. “Nick’s done some modeling, so some of us figured he left to pursue some cool shoot or something,” says Lutz. “But we never really figured it was a tryout for Survivor.” Once selected for the show, Brown told only a small handful of his Harvard friends why he needed to leave school for the semester. Two of the confidants, second-years Cara Sedlak and Ayodele Carroo, sent Brown off with a book, 48 Laws of Power, and a Frisbee. “We thought the Frisbee might make him some friends,” says Sedlak. And it has: In one episode it was used as a dinner plate by the members of Kucha, Brown’s “tribe.” Now Brown’s back at school. Each week he watches the show with his closest Langdell Hall friends, an experience that Sedlak describes as surreal: “Nick’s very intense when he watches the show. He likes everybody in the room to be totally quiet.” Quiet — the way Brown himself has to be. “I think not being able to talk about what happened is killing him,” says Lutz. “I know he was dying to talk about the whole pig thing.” No surprise there. In the fourth episode, Brown helped fellow contestant Michael Skupin corner a wild pig. Brown’s jaw dropped when a wild-eyed Skupin butchered the creature with a small knife. (At press time, after Week 7 of the show, Brown hadn’t yet been “booted off the continent.”) Regardless of the show’s outcome, part of Brown’s future is already scripted. The Steilacoom, Washington, native was in ROTC as an undergraduate at Morehouse College and will likely enter the Army JAG Corps when he’s done at Harvard. He’ll spend this upcoming summer at Heller Ehrman White & McAuliffe’s Seattle office. (It won’t be the first time a big West Coast law firm has housed a Survivor contestant. The show’s first run featured Stacey Stillman, then an associate at Brobeck, now an associate at Wilson Sonsini. Predictably, perhaps, after the show ended and she didn’t win, she sued CBS. Dullards to the end, CBS counterclaimed.) Meanwhile, at Langdell Hall, Brown’s following grows. “Every Thursday night people are crammed into rooms to watch the show,” says Justin Herdman, the editor in chief of the Record, Harvard Law’s newspaper. “The mentality of the law student is dog-eat-dog. And let’s put it this way: A lot of people here are living vicariously through Nick.”

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