Danica McKellar and Scott Sveslosky at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards
Danica McKellar and Scott Sveslosky at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

The news has been awful, awful lately. I honestly dread even looking at the front page of The New York Times these days.

I think we can all agree that we could use a heavy dose of distraction. So here are some gossipy, curious and totally irrelevant news bits for your mindless entertainment:

1. Guess who’s kissing Winnie now? This is not quite as big as George Clooney marrying one-time Sullivan & Cromwell associate, Amal Alamuddin. But for fans of The Wonder Years it is earth-shattering in its own right.

The news is that Danica McKellar, who played Winnie on the long-running TV show, is engaged to Scott Sveslosky, a litigation partner at Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton. That tidbit comes The Los Angeles Times. (May we just add that Sveslosky, above, isn’t too shabby looking either, especially for a lawyer.)

And the connection between Big Law and The Wonder Years doesn’t end there. It turns out that Danica McKellar’s sister, Crystal McKellar, who was also on the show, graduated from Harvard Law School in 2003 and worked at Davis Polk & Wardwell and Morrison & Foerster.

Both McKellar sisters are rather brainy and more than Big Law worthy. Danica graduated summa cum laude from USC in math and has authored academic papers on the subject. So there.

2. Thank goodness, the associates could shower. Defense lawyer Daniel Gitner, who finally broke U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s winning streak in prosecuting insider trading cases, has some firm rules about personal grooming. He tells The New York Times’s DealBook: “It’s bad luck to get a haircut during trial.” Apparently, he imposes that rule on his staff at his firm Lankler, Siffert & Wohl.

Besides saving money on hairstylists, Gitner’s superstition seems to have worked its magic: he just got his client Rengan Rajaratnam off the hook for insider’s trading in a much-watched case. ( The New York Times)

3. And you thought engineers were boring! This lawsuit has it all: Money, revenge and sexy (female) engineers! The Recorder reports:

Former Yahoo software engineer Nan Shi claimed her boss pressured her to have sex and then retaliated with poor performance reviews, ultimately leading to Shi’s termination, when Shi broke off the relationship.

Maria Zhang, the executive accused in Shi’s suit, filed a cross-complaint for defamation Wednesday in Santa Clara County Superior Court. The two women never had sex, Zhang contends, arguing Shi was a poor employee in danger of being fired who made false sexual harassment accusations in an attempt to keep her job.

And, yes, Big Law is part of the picture: O’Melveny & Myers is representing Yahoo. Shi, meanwhile, is being represented by Matthew Fisher, a partner at a Sunnyvale firm.

4. Maybe coaching beauty contestants should qualify as pro bono. Personally, I’m not sure this is worthy of a feature, but The New York Times disagrees.

Recently, the Times magazine profiled Bill Alverson, a lawyer in Andalusia, Alabama, who has a side business coaching Miss America aspirants. The Times says he has coached at least six contestants who will be competing in the next Miss America contest.

Though he started off giving advice (from speech delivery to makeup) for free, he now charges $125 an hour. (Carolyn Elefant argues in Above the Law that Alverson’s side biz makes sense because his court-appointed criminal and guardian ad-litem work only pay about $70 an hour. “So Alverson’s $125/hour beauty pageant work, while low by big-city standards, represents a step up in pay from some of his legal matters.”)

One of his key pieces of advice to contestants is that they read USA Today. (He tells one client: “I’ve told you before: USA Today! Every morning! When you go to the bathroom, scroll through it!”) Apparently, not being terribly well-informed about world affairs is a major weakness with these exemplars of young American womanhood.

I guess we all do what we can to make the world a better place.

E-mail: vchen@alm.com Twitter: https://twitter.com/lawcareerist