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January 27, 2020 Asked and Answered

Getting real: What happens when clients go on reality TV

By Stephanie Francis Ward

Imagine you are meeting a client for the first time, and they show up with a TV camera crew that wants to film your meeting.

This month, the Asked and Answered podcast series is trying something new—we’re exploring the unique curiosities of the law, starting with what it’s like when your client shows up with a camera crew and wants to tell their story on film.

In this new episode, ABA Journal Senior Writer Stephanie Francis Ward, host of Asked and Answered, speaks with two lawyers and a TV showrunner, who are all involved in the world of reality television.

Dustin Sullivan is a lawyer who represented Jenelle Evans of the MTV reality television show Teen Mom 2, who was often charged with things she didn’t do because her accusers wanted to be on TV.

Ward also talks to Jerry Buting, one of the attorneys who defended Steven Avery, whose conviction is the subject of the Netflix series Making a Murderer. He discusses what happened when he asked the show’s directors to cut footage.

And to give us a behind-the-scenes look at reality TV and the production crew’s perspective of working with lawyers, Ward spoke with Michael Beck, a showrunner and executive producer whose credits include Bravo’s shows The Real Housewives of New York City, The Real Housewives of Dallas and The Real Housewives of Atlanta, as well as Southern Charm, Don’t Be Tardy and Married to Medicine.

Listen to the Podcast

In This Podcast:

Stephanie Francis Ward
Dustin Sullivan is a North Carolina criminal defense attorney who previously worked with the Brunswick County district attorney’s office.

Michael Beck is a showrunner and executive producer and president of Bishop Peak Productions, a television, film and documentary production company.

Jerry Buting, a partner with Buting, Williams & Stilling in Wisconsin, had done criminal defense work for more than 35 years. His experience includes defending murder charges, and he’s the author of Illusion of Justice: Inside Making a Murderer and America’s Broken System.

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