FOCUS ON: Marc Simon
|MARC SIMON í01|
Associate, Dreier LLP
Producer / writer of After Innocence
The documentary film, based on Marcís experience
on the Innocence Project, won a special jury prize
at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival and will be
released in theaters in the fall and broadcast on
Showtime in 2006. Marc is a member of the Order
of the Coif and was on the Cardozo Arts and Entertainment
Law Journal in which he published
ďVertical Integration and Self-Dealing in the Television
Industry: Should Profit Participants Be Owed
a Fiduciary Duty?Ē
Most memorable (funny) experience while in law school:
My Contracts professor, Larry Cunningham, made fun of my hair in a fiveminute monologue.
Most significant experience in law school:
There are two. My involvement in the Innocence Project and when I walked out of a Criminal Law final in my first year convinced that I had failed. I actually got an A+, which set the tone in realizing that law school is its own animaló you just have to prepare.
New York! Iíve lived in Gramercy Park since law school, although I think itís time to upgrade from my studio.
Best thing about being a lawyer:
The doors that are opened. There are so many opportunities with a law degree. I never could have written or produced After Innocence without my degree, and I wouldnít have gotten the opportunity to be a special correspondent on A Current Affair.
What you wanted to be at age five:
A New York Yankee.
Common misconception of the wrongfully convicted:
There are really two. The general public believes that the wrongfully convicted have committed some crime, if not the one for which they were convicted, so they deserve to be in prison. In actuality, many have never committed a crime in their lives. And two, people assume that when the wrongfully convicted are exonerated they get a large monetary award. This is also not true. It is extremely difficult for them to get a monetary award, and the vast majority receive nothing.
Wake up. Squeeze in the gym. In the office by 9:30 a.m. and there until after 10 p.m. I have to fit in the law and the film. My to-do list is three columnsó personal (the smallest), firm, and film.
Gadget you canít survive without:
None! I donít have a Palm or BlackberryóI have no time to figure them out. But I just bought an iPod. Get back to me in a month and Iíll let you know if I figure it out.
Best film seen recently:
The documentary Murder Ball about wheelchair rugby. Itís our biggest competition at film festivals. My favorite movie of all time is Rocky, especially Rocky I and Rocky II. They are about perseverance and fighting for the underdog.
What you hope to accomplish in 10 years:
To be able to continue to combine law and filmmaking. My firm, Dreier LLP, has been very supportive of my moonlighting as a filmmaker.
Professor who made the greatest impact:
Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld of the Innocence Project. I couldnít have made the movie without their blessing and support.
I travel every week right now, but itís all for the film. April 26 is the Tribeca Film Festival here in New Yorkó After Innocence sold out in two hours.
Hopes for the movie:
I hope it will lead to reform in the criminal justice system, including the implementation of compensation statutes in states that donít have them. The film was shown to the Florida and Pennsylvania legislatures, neither of which has adopted bills to compensate victims of wrongful imprisonment. Itís being used to educate by affecting people emotionally.
Advice to law students:
What you put in is what youíll get out of it.
One regret: That I didnít take more corporate/finance classes. The business sense is invaluable.