Real Life Ally McBeal Shows Wrong Briefs,
St. Paul, Minnesota – it seems television’s Ally McBeal no
longer has a monopoly on miniskirts in the courtroom. Nia
McBride, a 28-year-old lawyer with just two years of
courtroom experience behind her, has shocked jurors and
judges alike recently with her provocative – most would say
inappropriate – outfits.
“I can’t understand why any self-respecting lawyer would
dare to enter a court of law looking like that,” says court
reporter Angela Gerald, 43. “I’ve seen cocktail waitresses
with more on. I don’t know how she has any clients left.”
Yet the clients seem to be queuing up. “Sure, she should
probably cover up a bit,” says one male client who wished to
remain anonymous. “But she’s way smart and she wins her
cases. I think the short skirts might even help with some
of the jurors.”
Indeed, her track record has so far been strong, obtaining
favorable verdicts in eight of her nine cases this year to
date. But there is little doubt in Gerald’s mind that this
is despite, not because of, those miniskirts.
“[McBride] … has been warned by two different judges,” she
says. “If she carries on like this, she’ll be found in
contempt of court.”
This would indeed be a case of life imitating art. On a
recent episode of Ally McBeal, the eponymous lawyer was
actually thrown in jail for refusing to comply with a
judge’s request that she wear a longer skirt. McBride
herself, however, seems unrepentant.
“I enjoy wearing miniskirts in the summer,” she says. “I
always have. I’m aware that my clothing could get me into
trouble with certain judges, but I believe I can argue a
good case for being allowed to continue wearing what I wear.
My choice of clothing has nothing to do with my abilities as
a lawyer, nor with my professionalism.”
She resents comparisons with certain TV lawyers, however.
“I’m nothing like Ally McBeal,” she insists. “She acts like
a silly teenager, and you never see her doing any actual
McBride is referring to the long hours and weekends of
investigative research that characterizes her profession yet
is curiously absent from the glamorized version depicted on
television. “Ally McBeal wouldn’t have the first idea what
to do with a real court case,” she says.
Yet comparisons are inevitable – and not just because of the
short skirts. “I should change my name,” laments McBride.
“People keep calling me Nia McBeal.”
It is unlikely that Nia McBride’s penchant for miniskirts
will be tolerated for long. Most of those who spend time
with her in a courtroom are offended by what they perceive
as a lack of respect for the legal system.
“I’m seriously considering making a formal complaint,” says
Gerald. “Last week when she leaned over the table to talk
to her client, I nearly lost my lunch. Some things are
definitely not meant to be seen in a courtroom.”
Wide-eyed 13-year-old robbery witness Jason Kirtley puts it
more succinctly: “I saw her butt!”
Nia McBride's inappropriate skirts have caused offence
With the possible exception of teenaged boys, few would
contend that this kind of apparel is acceptable court-wear.
Yet support may come from an unexpected quarter. 52-year-
old Justice Roberta Tavano says she has no problem with
McBride’s clothing. “In every other aspect of her behavior,
she is a consummate professional,” she says. “I enjoy
having her in my courtroom. I’m inclined to grant her a
little slack regarding the length of her skirts.” And if
McBride leans over a little too far? “I guess a few of us
have seen her underwear,” says Tavano with a smile. “If
someone complains, of course I’ll have to take it seriously,
but until that happens, I don’t think it’s that big of an
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