Michele Grant and Leo Mulvihill, two Drexel graduates from the Earle Mack School of Law, recently appeared on a Sept. 19 episode of “The People’s Court,” in which they won their case.
Grant and Mulvihill represented B. Someday, a non-profit organization that operates the Barrymore Award-winning Walking Fish Theatre after B. Someday filed suit in the Philadelphia Municipal Court.
According to a press release, Grant and Mulvihill served on the board of directors of B. Someday, where they provided pro bono legal and entrepreneurial advice. When the organization began having problems with a landlord while looking into a property in hopes of expanding, the two attorneys helped represent the organization.
“For some reason or another the landlord required a deposit before we could even look at a lease,” Grant said. ”The board eventually decided we were not going to go through with signing the lease and we asked for our deposit back, but he didn’t return it.”.
Mulvihill and Grant advised the board of directors that they should try resolving the issue by making phone calls and writing letters.
“After those didn’t get us any responses, we authorized the directors to file suit with the Municipal Court here in Philadelphia.”
The two attorneys were invited shortly after filing suit to have their case appear on an episode of “The People’s Court.”
“We think our case was chosen because ‘The Peoples Court’ has producers who scan the municipal court dockets in various cities,” Grant said.
After reviewing the case and believing it to be strong enough, the pair advised the board to accept appearing for the televised session in court.
“I thought it was a good idea for two reasons,” Grant said, “We certainly would not have advised that we should file a lawsuit if we didn’t think we could win..”
Grant explained that she and Mulvihill gave the landlord a deposit but never even visited the property in question.
“There was no legal reason for him to keep our deposit,” Grant explained.
Judge Marilyn Milian agreed with the pair’s logic, siding with the Drexel alumni. Grant, speaking candidly about Judge Milian, said, “She’s sassy and she’s ‘take-no-prisoners’ in terms of observing decorum in the courtroom.”
“I knew she was going to be fair, and since we had a very good case, I knew she was definitely going to be fair with us,” she continued. “Additionally, we were really happy to bring attention to a theater that desperately needed it.”
It had been a while since either of the Drexel attorneys had seen The People’s Court, Grant said.
“I was sitting in my office when I got a text message from my co-counsel. He said ‘Oh we’re on TV,’” Grant said of the episode, although she was unable to catch it for herself.
Both attorneys attributed some of their success to their education at Drexel.
“I think the ability to have an internship was really great,” Mulvihill said. “I spent a co-op in a public defender’s office which is where I first really learned how to be comfortable talking in front of a judge, which obviously is something you need to be comfortable doing as an attorney.”
As for aspiring law students at Drexel, Mulvihill had some advice.
“Take time to get out there and meet people, attorneys and even judges” Mulvihill said. “You don’t just get a job blindly sending out resumes. Its about who’s hiring, and who knows you best.”
Mulvihill now has a neighborhood practice known as The Fishtown Lawyer, and Grant is currently a co-principal of the entertainment-based practice, Grant Myers LLC. in Philadelphia.