California Bar Journal
CBJ - June 2009 #04.
Amazing $1 million win for brainy siblings
California Bar Journal June 2009 Amazing $1 million win for brainy siblingsBy Diane CurtisStaff WriterWhen it comes to relating "What I Did on My Vacation" tales at the law firm water cooler, Quinn Emanuel attorney Tammy Jih and O'Melveny and Myers partner Victor Jih win hands down.
The brainy brother-sister duo, who both graduated from Stanford as undergrads and Harvard Law School, spent 4 1/2 weeks on planes, trains, electric bicycles and other modes of transportation racking up 40,000 miles in nine countries as one of the intrepid teams on CBS' reality travel and challenge show, "The Amazing Race." In the end, they beat all comers and walked away with $1 million.
They tried gymnastics in Bucharest, pulled a locked coffin downhill in Romania, stacked wood in Russia, hauled camel feed in India, drove a snowplow and ran in an underwear-only winter race in Siberia, sang karaoke outside Bangkok, ate grasshoppers, larvae, scorpions and starfish in Beijing and prepped a pig for a luau in Maui. They bested the other finalists and won the big prize with a come-from-behind accounting by Victor of everything they had done during the race.
"It was the experience of a lifetime," says Tammy, 27, who took her 36-year-old brother's dedication to watching the show to the next step: applying to be on it. "I thought, 'Gosh, I'm sure I'll be a lawyer for a long time. When am I going to be able to have an adventure like The Amazing Race?'" They weren't selected for the 13th edition of the show but were called for the 14th, which started in October. From then until last month, when the season finale aired, they couldn't tell anyone what happened.
"I went into it because it's taking a risk and doing something that's off the beaten path," says Victor, a general litigator in Los Angeles who focuses on entertainment and intellectual property law. Lawyers, and partners especially, he adds, can sometimes be too insulated from the rest of the world. The show, he said, emphasized the importance of "engaging with the outside world" and not losing touch with how people think and react differently.
The Jihs give some credit to their legal training for strengths displayed on the show, such as anticipating problems, strategizing, ability to deal...