Local business owner and attorney Jeff Hughes thought it might be a good move to appear on the ABC reality television show known as “Shark Tank.” Little did he know he would end up chum to the bloodthirsty judges.

Hughes is the founder of Legal Grind, a quirky Santa Monica business that merges a coffee shop with a legal firm. At the 15-year-old enterprise, Hughes doles out cheap legal advice in a coffee shop setting while other employees help prepare legal paperwork.

Producers for the program asked Hughes to appear, so he went on and asked for $200,000 to expand the business. He made his pitch to a panel of judges who are venture capitalists.

The judges didn’t bite.

“You’ve got to wake up and smell the money,” said one judge. “There isn’t any.”

Does Hughes regret appearing on the program?

“I have misgivings, but at the same time it’s national exposure for the concept of unbundled legal services,” he said. “Did I take some licks? Yes, but that was part of the bargain. This is entertainment, my friend.”

Surveying New Scene

Be careful what you ask for …

Local record industry executive Philip Quartararo offered his services to the administration of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and now finds himself with a part-time assignment in an area about as far removed from the music world as possible: He’ll be a member of the state Board for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors.

Quartararo, 54, had served as president of Warner Bros. Records and was executive vice president for EMI Music North America before co-founding Filament Entertainment, an independent label. As a record industry executive, Quartararo often went to Sacramento seeking increased protection against music piracy. He met several times with Schwarzenegger and at one point said he would be willing to serve in the governor’s administration.

Quartararo said Schwarzenegger responded that there were many state boards and commissions with slots for citizens and would keep his name in mind for future openings.

Late last year, the governor’s staff contacted Quartararo to take him up on his offer.

“I told them to put me in the best position where I could be of help,” he said. “Then I told them to put me on the board or commission that nobody else wants.”

Quartararo has yet to be sworn in on the 13-member board, which oversees licensing, examinations and regulations governing professional conduct of engineers.

“I am by no means an expert, nor do I pretend to be,” he said. “But I’m happy to be a willing citizen and chip in.”

Staff reporters Richard Clough and Howard Fine contributed to this column. Page 3 is compiled by Editor Charles Crumpley. He can be reached at ccrumpley@labusinessjournal.com.

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