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In Limine

A Super Man

A peek inside the world of celebrity lawyering.

Photograph by Diana Levine

An observer could not be faulted for thinking that celebrity lawyering is in a class by itself; there’s the glamour, the media attention, the possibility that those who take up the cases of high-gloss clients are in it mainly for glory. Especially in this era of social media posts that spread like wildfire, it can be harder than ever to sort out truth from fiction, good intentions from bad, what is actually going on in a courtroom from what people think is happening.

In such high-profile cases during the past year alone, at least three BC Law alumni have been involved. Thanks to the fact that they are part of the Law School community, their trials afford us a much more nuanced consideration of celebrity lawyering. Though not devoid of media excesses, raucous fandom, and all the rest of it, the cases reveal the toughness, competence, and commitment to strong advocacy of the lawyers involved—Mathew Rosengart ’87, who freed Britney Spears from a repressive conservatorship; Lance Wade ’02, who put up a strong defense of Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes; and Andrew Campbell ’15, member of the legal team whose client, Johnny Depp, prevailed over Amber Heard in a six-week defamation trial.

These observations are borne out in Rosengart’s story, as told here by reporter Elizabeth Gehrman. Yes, the magazine has had some fun with the article’s title, “The Man of Steel”—inspired by fans’ comparison of him to Superman—and the Greenberg Traurig heavyweight does not dispute the bump up on his own celebrity meter, but there’s so much more to him than the hype. A figure no less honorable than former Supreme Court Justice David Souter confirms that. “He is sure enough of his powers, and of his own value, that he doesn’t have to score off others,” Souter said.

It made sense, therefore, to focus in the piece not so much on the legal machinations of Rosengart’s swift extraction of Britney Spears from her father’s guardianship—or on his other celebrity clients like Oscar-winning director Kenneth Lonergan, Steven Spielberg, and Eddie Vedder—as on the human being behind that marquee smile. As Rosengart opens up about a bullying event in his childhood, the impact of his father’s early death, his feelings about clients and cases, even about his competitiveness, an authentic portrait of a lawyer who earned his legal chops at BC Law emerges. As Rosengart said in delivering the Dean’s Distinguished Lecture on campus last February, “Success certainly doesn’t mean fame and it doesn’t mean money. It means helping people.”

Vicki Sanders, Editor