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People Top 5
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- February 02, 1987
- Vol. 27
- No. 5
In the Case of the Bum Rap Song, Richard Golub Courts Justice for His Fellow Lawyers
A year of honing and hustling later, Golub has found justice. Billboard chose He Is My Lawyer, recorded last spring, as a probable dance hit, and it has sold a healthy 5,000 copies. The song has become a regular play at such Manhattan hot spots as the Palladium and the China Club, and Golub has performed it live in half a dozen other clubs. He has even made a video with his own group, Power of Attorney. The group includes actor friend Jerry Orbach and actress Marisa Berenson, who is Golub's soon-to-be-ex-wife. Marisa's daughter by her first marriage, Starlite, 9, is in the video, which was shot at the Surrogate's Court in Manhattan, with some of Starlite's school pals playing the jury.
Golub's rebuttal to Jackson Browne is about a woman charged with murdering her lover, although her transvestite husband actually did the deed. Golub sings the role of defense attorney ("Baby you only paid me 10 G/ Don't give me that lip about the fee/ I paid your bail, that was over a hundred grand in cash/ And you're going to be out of this joint in a flash").
Impressive as his success may be for a neophyte, Golub isn't the least surprised by it. "I always saw videos and said I could do that," he says. His only sign of insecurity came during his first live rendition, at the Cheetah Club. "At the end people started clapping," Golub recalls, "and I thought, 'Good Lord, what am I going to do for an encore—give legal advice?' " But applause doesn't bother him anymore. He's so into his act that he has thrown gloves and squirted champagne at his audience. Some people have been telling him that this sort of carrying on is bad for his image as an attorney, but he's never been the buttoned-down type. "I'm a performer—that's why I became a lawyer," Golub says. "People don't take me seriously until we get to the courtroom. I'm offbeat, not quotidian"—that means "everyday" in everyday talk—"and I like the glamorous aspects of the law."
The son of a Worcester, Mass. grocer, Golub was 4 when he decided to be a lawyer, after seeing a movie involving a trial attorney. The script faltered when, having earned his law degree from the University of North Carolina, he got more than 100 rejections from Washington, D.C. law firms. "I was angry at how closed firms were because I wasn't Ivy League," he says. In a fast change-of-game plan, he became a Manhattan stockbroker, then managed a folksinger, but in 1971 he went back to his first love, passed the New York bar and started his own firm. By 1977 Golub was established as an entertainment-law "hippie" with a big-name clientele, "always hanging out with the trash at Universal in L.A." He helped two guests recoup $1 million in compensation after a Mayfair Regent Hotel gem heist. He took on a company that was putting out an unauthorized Christie Brinkley poster, which the model claimed made her look "like a chipmunk," and got the poster withdrawn. His most clamorous public triumph was against Brooke and Teri Shields, who sued photographer Garry Gross for selling sexy pictures of Brooke that he had shot when she was 10. "I got Brooke to admit she liked looking sexy," he boasts. "They tried to show how asexual she was, but she kept saying she loved the idea of looking sexy." Recently, he claims, Teri gave him an angry elbow when she encountered him at a party.
Golub is now trying to settle a no-fault divorce from Berenson, whom he married in 1982. "We were apart half the time, never saw eye to eye on anything and fought constantly," he says. But they remain friends, and Starlite stays with him in New York when her mother is in Europe.
Golub is already busy on a second video, Dancing for Justice, and so far his two careers seem to be meshing harmoniously. His chief compromise has been that "I don't perform in clubs the day before going to trial," and he says clients, lawyers and even judges are begging for cameos in his productions. "Everybody," he says grandly, "wants to be Mr. Eclectic."
This should be sweet vindication, right? Not quite. Golub is still building his case against Jackson Browne. "He's a nobody," Golub sneers. "He comes on like a '60s hippie but he has middle-class Yuppie values. He lives in a nice house, hangs out with famous people, has a beautiful, blond, blue-eyed girlfriend in Daryl Hannah. The dreams he says lawyers have are parallel to his own." Wrapping up his summation, the rapping lawyer goes in for the kill: "I've proved you don't have to be an entertainer to record. Let's see Jackson Browne practice law."
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