Here, too, Clinton could have a problem, since, having been cited for contempt, he faces possible disbarment, which could imperil his earning potential when he leaves office. (It's hard to be a law firm's high-priced rainmaker, like Clinton pal Vernon Jordan, without, well, being a lawyer.) Few, however, doubt Clinton's moneymaking potential after he leaves office. One scenario has him relying on the tender mercies of Hollywood friends; though after the seaminess of impeachment, it's unclear whether, say, DreamWorks SKG would want to add a "C" to its moniker. Moneymaking aside, Donatelli says he expects an amicable arrangement eventually will be hammered out between the Clintons and their lawyers.
"I would expect they'll continue to carry the bill after he leaves office, they'll get jobs, their lawyers will see what the salaries and signing bonuses are and set about negotiating the final fee," he says. "The firms would try to capture as much as possible, they'd plead poverty, and they'd all arrive at some understanding. At some point, you run beyond what the client is capable of paying, so you settle for a certain amount on the dollar."
Phil Caruso/ New Line Cinema
Robert De Niro, one of the cool commander's most generous fans, contemplates evasive action in 1997's top "dog" flick.
Which leads to a novel interpretation of Hillary's flirtations with a New York Senate bid. Donatelli, although he doesn't believe it to be a motivating factor, points out that if Hillary does run, she might get a better deal on her legal bills. "The fact that she would run for public office would probably lower her ability to pay," he says, "and I don't think, under those circumstances, they'd file a lien against her."