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Stacey Stillman is looking for a lawyer. The third-year associate of Palo Alto, Calif.-based Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati filed suit against CBS and the producer of its “Survivor” program last week claiming the network orchestrated her early elimination as a contestant from the show. Wilson Sonsini, who hired Stillman away from San Francisco’s Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison in August, is not providing legal assistance. And no other firm has stepped up to represent her. Stillman left a recording on her answering machine Thursday saying she was seeking representation. Wilson partner Donald Bradley said Stillman had sought the firm’s advice about filing the suit. “We told her: ‘Stacey, if you wish to pursue this lawsuit it’s a personal matter and you should pursue it outside the firm,’ ” Bradley said. He added that Stillman did not seek assistance from any Wilson attorney nor did she ask for a referral to another firm. Stillman was one of 16 people participating in the first “Survivor” show. Stranded on a remote island in the South China Sea, the castaways competed in games and every few days voted someone off the island. The last remaining contestant won $1 million. Stillman alleges in her suit that the show’s producer, Mark Burnett, told two of her fellow contestants, Dirk Been and Sean Kenniff, to vote against her. They had been intending to vote off 72-year-old Rudy Boesch, the suit says, but Burnett wanted to keep the only remaining senior contestant on the show. With Been and Kenniff casting votes against her, Stillman was booted off the island in the third episode. At the time the show aired she attributed the votes against her to “anti-lawyer sentiment.” The suit says Been told Stillman of Burnett’s interference and that Been sent Burnett a letter voicing “his disappointment that he was solicited and manipulated into voting [Stillman] out of the contest.” However, The New York Times reported on Feb. 6 that Been would neither confirm nor deny Stillman’s allegations and that Kenniff said his memory of events did not support Stillman’s account. CBS responded in a statement that it heard about Stillman’s allegations several months ago. “They had no merit then; they have no merit now that she has packaged them into a frivolous and groundless lawsuit,” CBS said. Several newspapers quoted CBS sources claiming that prior to filing suit, Stillman had first requested the network to place her on another CBS show and then demanded $5 million. Stillman did not return phone calls. Her suit seeks $75,000 in out-of-pocket costs and an unspecified amount as restitution for lost prize money and lost earning opportunities. Does she stand a chance of winning anything other than more media attention? Entertainment attorney Jay Cooper, a partner at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, said the contract between Stillman and CBS may be the key factor. “My guess is that it is sufficiently broad, giving the studio utmost control as to how it would handle the show,” he said.

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