March 6, 2014

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›› Nevada state senator balances partnership, family
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Moritz grad takes legal experience from Jerry Springer Show to Fisher & Phillips

Keeping Jerry Springer out of legal trouble was a full-time job for Carol Gelman, a 1990 graduate of The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.

While she worked in media law at NBC Universal, primarily with The Jerry Springer Show and The Steve Wilkos Show, it was her job to watch every episode of the two shows and resolve all potential legal issues.

“It’s like a legal exam question, and you have to spot the issues,” she said. “Let’s say the production team for one episode of The Jerry Springer Show wanted to have a boxing ring and put guests in it. Well you have union issues about who is going to set up the boxing ring; you have insurance issues; you have to get the guests to sign releases so if they get hurt, they don’t sue.”

Gelman recently accepted a new position as the client relations manager for the law firm Fisher & Phillips in their Chicago office, but she still fondly looks back at her time in television. The hours were long and sometimes unpredictable, but rarely was there a dull day.

“The first day I was the lawyer, I walked into the production office, and there were people running around, a stripper, and I had to deal with a pig that someone had in the basement of the NBC building,” she said. 

It was Gelman’s job to make sure the shows stayed out of legal trouble, and as far as she knows, the shows were never sued during her three-plus years there.

In addition to her responsibilities with the talk shows, Gelman also would provide legal counsel to news programs. She remembers being particularly busy fielding legal concerns in the immediate aftermath of Michael Jackson’s death.

The breadth of experience and issues she dealt with was rewarding, but when The Jerry Springer Show moved away from Chicago, Gelman decided she was going to remain behind with her husband and four children. Having developed an interest in marketing and advertising while at NBC, Gelman took a job as an executive marketing assistant at Merrill Lynch.

In her new position with Fisher & Phillips, she looks forward to the opportunity to combine her interests.

“I am excited about combining my legal background, my experiences from local politics and marketing to help lawyers, both established and junior, not only develop but determine how they want to grow as  lawyers and as well as who they want to represent,” she said.

Gelman still keeps in touch with her friends from Moritz. The Cleveland native visits  often and even went to the Ohio State football team’s game in the Big Ten Championship against Michigan State. Last summer, she and her oldest daughter returned to campus to participate in the Ross Heart Hospital TriFit Challenge, a triathlon benefiting Ohio State’s heart hospital (pictured in the photograph above).

“My kids think I’m nuts. Even though I went to Tufts for undergrad, I am such a Buckeye,” said Gelman, who has completed 13 marathons and three triathlons. “It’s just a great bunch of people who choose Ohio State. I don’t know what it is, but you really do get a decent group of people that have a diverse group of interests.”

SideBar is a monthly electronic newsletter for Moritz College of Law alumni. Questions regarding this publication should be directed to moritzlawnews@osu.edu.