Feature

The Judge Rules: Amal – she’s famous for being a film star’s wife. Get over it

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Everyone is fascinated with Mrs Clooney precisely because she is Mrs Clooney

Lead

The media gods will forever bless Amal Clooney. The Doughty Street Chambers barrister has a highly valuable asset — she sells newspapers and magazines and sends website traffic figures stratospheric.

Undoubtedly as bright as a button, Clooney is also easy on the eye, which never hurts when it comes to tweaking the interest of fashion-conscious female readers and male readers generally.

But her intellectual and professional muscle — and even her base sex appeal — is nothing compared to one fact: she married a Hollywood heartthrob called George.

Many will gnash their teeth over that suggestion. They will argue — as some have done in the comments section following our story earlier this week on a news agency describing her as an “actor’s wife” — that barrister Clooney stands on her own independently of film star Clooney.

Fair enough. Amal Clooney qualified at the New York bar some 13 years ago and then did an impressive stateside professional tour, including stints at white shoe firm Sullivan & Cromwell, the office of the special prosecutor at the UN, as well as being a New York University-sponsored clerk to the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

On return to London, she was called to the English bar in 2010 and is now firmly ensconced as a junior at a marquee chambers, Doughty Street.

So Amal clearly had a career before she married George last year.

But the mainstream media paints a caricature picture of Amal. They — and hordes of readers — are primarily interested in barrister Clooney because her glitzy marriage to George lends a bucket-load of stardust to the esoteric legal profession. Likewise, actor Clooney has a massive fan base that has for years been obsessed with his personal life; intellectual Amal adds intrigue and spice to that obsession.

The story is straightforward: the sexy, bright, independent, successful lawyer with a stellar career hooks up with Hollywood’s dashing alpha-male in the quintessential modern marriage. It beats the hell out of another possible line: reasonably clever, moderately successful, well travelled and still quite young lawyer hooks up with middle aged actor.

To be fair, as far as we can tell, Amal and her ubiquitous head of chambers, Australia’s plumiest lawyer Geoffrey Robertson QC, seem far from troubled by that first narrative and all the attention it generates.

But there are plenty of clever lawyers out there — many with considerably more impressive human rights records than that of Amal Clooney. While serious-minded mainstream commentators express outrage that lawyer Clooney should occasionally appear to play second fiddle in the fame stakes to her husband, one can’t help but surmise that many in the legal profession are not surprised.

Amal Clooney is by no means stupid — her professional record so far clearly demonstrates that. But part of not being stupid entails recognising that marrying into big box office will result in the type of ostensibly trivialised — or fantasised — coverage we have seen.

It is likely that lawyer Clooney — whose mother, a celebrity booking agent, is no stranger to the quixotic nature of the media — is entirely aware of what is happening and happy with it.

More naïve commentators should follow suit.

Previously:

Twitter erupts in anger as Amal Clooney is described as an ‘actor’s wife’ by Associated Press [Legal Cheek]

32 Comments

Anonymous

Here we go again, keyboards at the ready everybody!

(12)(0)

Harry Scrots

I’ve already microwaved my popcorn. The banter is bound to be glorious.

(2)(0)

Lord Harley of Bollocks

Wonder how many comments are going to be deleted this time?

Amal Clooney is nothing more than a nonentity barrister who has found notoriety through being married to a celebrity. Lawyers interested in raising the profile of their cases have been since appointing her to be their spokesperson.

Far less interesting if you don’t hype it up, eh?

(15)(1)

A. Barrister

First time the judge has talked sense.

She is clearly a clever woman and a successful barrister. However, she has gone from “sucessful” to superstar singularly because of her husband.

(31)(2)

Lord Harley of Bollocks

Was she successful though, or just another barrister like all the other juniors practising in London? She doesn’t even seem to be the most qualified junior in her own chambers….?

(16)(0)

A. Barrister

Well, honestly, I think being a member of Doughty Street might on its own qualify as “successful” for someone pre-5 year call.

(7)(6)

Reality is calling

All the best to her: she married to a man who made a career out of treating women like trash. Also, by English standard, she is a stunner.

But hey, let’s get real – her CV is just average at the Bar. I am not comparing her to barristers at the commercial bar – that would be very unfair – just ones at Doughty, Matrix and Blackstones.

Since marrying the actor, she is being added to the cases (which are dependent on media attention/coverage) because she attracts gutter media.

(18)(0)

Anonymous

They’ve been leaving Doughty Street in droves…

(8)(0)

Anonymous

Completely agree.

Pre-nuptuals: Amal who?

Post-nuptuals: Amal Clooney? ah ok.

(7)(2)

Anonymous

anyone who disagrees with this needs to name five cases in which she has appeared BY HERSELF as an advocate in the last five years.

(15)(2)

Anonymous

Agreed.

(5)(0)

Lincoln's Out

I do not believe that anyone doubts her recently found stardom, nor the reason for her sudden projection into the media spotlight.

However, when reporting a case in a purely legal context, surely she deserves the appropriate descriptors as someone who has both experience and a passion for the important area of law in which she practices. (…And stop calling me Shirley.)

(5)(7)

Sam

What the fuck is this fucking awful article about LC? New low.

(5)(16)

Sam

Not Amused – where are ya? Doing work?

(3)(7)

Anonymous

Why, I’m here old boy. Was too busy commenting on other articles while investigating the Egyptian criminal code.

Tally ho!

(11)(1)

Anonymous

Finally, a piece written with some proper perspective on the matter. More importantly, written without the interference or product(ion) placing by Clooney (Alamuddin) PR.

It’s about time the veil of puffery surrounding Amal Clooney was pulled aside; certainly in the context of her career, and earned credentials, to date.

The Hollywood-styled blitz of overstating her significance in her field is as great a negative as the frequent failures of media, in general, to acknowledge the important work being done by many (women in particular), under their own steam and without the benefit of Amal Clooney’s high profile connections or, now, surname.

I agree Amal Clooney was/is fully aware of the bump she’s been given and seems keen to continue her career as now presented in this way. Taking up a standard to defend her against such tweets is naive as she appears more than comfortable with the set-up and her enhanced platform. The troubling aspect is that, increasingly, the cases to which she becomes attached are overshadowed by her, and the media myths as so encouraged.

Credit where credit’s due, but best kept in perspective.

(3)(0)

A. Barrister

Totally agree.

(2)(0)

Cocksplash

Who in the name of the massive flaming cumshot, shooting out of George Clooney’s throbbing shaft, still cares?!

Get the fuck outta here LC.

(21)(1)

Latte1

“Amal Alamuddin use’s George Clooney’s name to get her client’s off on charge’s against them or get them lighter sentence’s that is why since they married there is so much publicity about all of her case’s. Mohamed Fahmy is a convicted terrorist and when Amal put’s his case in the press, there is a high likelihood that Mohamed Fahmy might never go to prison, but he is a convicted terrorist who deserve’s to go to prison. Is President Nasheed another known and convicted terrorist that truly need’s to be in prison? Latte1”

(3)(1)

Latte1

The last thing Hollywood, America, and the world need’s is Amal Alamuddin hosting a televised court room show. Considering the fact that Amal Alamuddin use’s George Clooney’s name to get her client’s off on charge’s against them or get them lighter sentence’s, which is why since they married there is so much publicity about all of her case’s.
Mohamed Fahmy is a convicted terrorist and when Amal put his case in the press, the entire world felt sorry for him; but Mohamed Fahmy a.k.a. Al Jazeera, is now a convicted terrorist that deserve’s to go to prison.
Yet again Amal defend’s the guilty and former President Nasheed. Amal Alamuddin, is on the side of guilty terrorist & or criminal’s.
George Clooney is aware that Amal side’s with terrorist’s, but when is George Clooney going to divorce Amal because of her ability to manipulate the truth? When is George Clooney going to get away from Amal Alamuddin’s lies and how Amal hurt’s other’s and get’s away with illegal activities? When is George Clooney going to stop allowing Amal Alamuddin to use his-George Clooney’s name to get terrorist’s off on charges against them? Latte1″

(2)(4)

Anonymous

I don’t think you understand how the law works, mate.

(3)(0)

Anonymous

Learn how to use apostrophes!!!

(2)(0)

Anonymous

‘The Judge Rules’, but written by Jonathan Ames. So ‘Judge John Hack’ was just the editor’s pen name all along?

(1)(0)

a shadowy figure

you people are depressingly eager to trivialise the (significant) accomplishments of this ethnic minority woman.

face it: she’s far more accomplished and intelligent than you will ever be.

you’re not a real judge, but a mediocre legal journalist.

(2)(12)

Anonymous

Wowowowowow HE’S NOT A REAL JUDGE?!?

Next you’ll be telling me Rumpole was a TV character….

(8)(0)

No!!

Noooooo! He is not a real judge????!

I thought he was a Chancery Division Judge and that this blog was for high quality legal opinions!

Also, funny that you are the only person throwing in the “ethnic card” in the discussion, where everyone else sees her as a barrister (pretending to be a big deal when she is not) – could it be, that YOU are the one who has issues with ethnicity?

(11)(0)

Pugnacious Pygmy

Hi Tunde, how’s things in the Instagram world?

(1)(0)

Nosey

I am here because I followed a link provided on a George Clooney fan site. Just so you know where my allegiance lies. I would like to ask a question of Mrs C’s associates. Are you proud of her representation of your profession or not? All input would be gratefully received.

(4)(1)

Solicitor

Yes! Ignore the miserable bitter mutters above. She’s made the law glamorous – what’s not to like? (In reality it’s about as glamorous as a Bookies in Fazakerly on a wet Monday, but the illusion helps us keep our dignity). Also, I knew who she was pre-George, so she wasn’t a totally nonentity as some seem to be suggesting, and I don’t do crime/human rights/whatever

(3)(7)

Anonymous

get off her knob, knob.

(3)(1)

Nosey

Thank you so much Solicitor . All on the George fan site had never ever heard of her. The fan site has become utterly depleted, many of us were very much involved in H R, yet had no idea about who Amal was. I support George re: Sudan and the satalite. The over grandiose wedding shocked me. I keep imagining that if I were a Barrister I would find it embarrassing to have Amal as your public face re: 6000$ per outfit for court! but as you say this “illusion helps us keep our dignity” and “she’s made the law glamorous”. That explains so much to me. Thank you for your input, I know this is just one view, but you work within her world so valid and telling non the less.
I welcome any other views if you have the time. I sincerely want to like her, I just do not see much to like at present.

(3)(2)

Anonymous

Above all, she is an embarrassment to herself! If I were her, I would have gradually upgraded my wardrobe… pre-Clooney (i.e. Pre-unlimited credit card) she wore Dorthy Perkins-type of suits and carried plastic bags you get for 30-40 pounds from cheap shops.

(7)(0)

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