Answer: This television producer reinvented herself in 2003 as a Columbia Law student.
Question: Who is Camille Calman?
The quick-thinking skills that made Camille Calman a champion on “Jeopardy!” will undoubtedly serve her well as a lawyer. In 1994, she won two games and $30,000 and took the final game by knowing that the Brooklyn Glass Works had become Corning Glass.
Raised outside of Philadelphia, Ms. Calman got her start in show business by spending every available moment while an undergraduate at Yale as a stage manager. She was “filled with romantic notions,” she says, “about the nobility of the arts and the unimportance of money.” After college, she worked on Broadway, off-Broadway, and in regional theaters, until 1989 when she made the move to television.
Ms. Calman was a segment producer for “The Charles Grodin Show,” CNBC, and Court TV. After a decade, however, television was starting to feel superficial.
“You take a story you could spend the rest of your life telling and reduce it to three minutes,” she says. “There are a lot of intelligent people watching television, but it’s hard to do really intelligent TV and have good enough ratings.”
Ms. Calman had never seriously considered pursuing law until she took stock of her job options: “I like to read, write, argue, and think about things to their logical conclusion,” she says. In addition, her grandfather had been a federal bankruptcy judge in Mississippi. The fact that she had done well on the LSAT sealed the deal, plus the fact that she had lived in New York and had many friends here. Her choice to leave television for law surprised many of those friends, but they were supportive.
Despite the busy life of a 1L, Ms. Calman tries to fit some of her former activities into her new study routines. She saw as many films as possible during the fall New York Film Festival and hopes to volunteer as an SAT tutor in a Manhattan public magnet school.
What kind of law will Ms. Calman practice?
“The natural move would be copyright or intellectual property,” she says, “but I don’t know if I will.” Still, while in television, she worked on rights and clearances – “the bane of the TV producer’s existence” – and found that it was surprisingly interesting.