William and Mary Law School

W&M Law Student Appears on "Millionaire"

  • Playing for a Million
    Playing for a Million
    2L Derek McMahan put his knowledge to the test as a March 4 contestant on the popular game show "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire."
    Photo courtesy of Disney - ABC

Who wants to be a millionaire? Derek McMahan does.

McMahan, a student at William & Mary Law School, put his knowledge to the test on the popular game show “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire,” and walked away with $10, 250 in winnings. The episode aired on March 4.

Hosted by Meredith Vieira, “Millionaire” can be seen locally on WVBT (Cox Channel 43), weekdays at 9:00 a.m.

McMahan is the son of zoologists William and Candace McMahan of Westport, Ky. A 2007 graduate of North Oldham High School, he earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Kentucky, and is a member of the William & Mary Law School Class of 2014.

As a law student, McMahan is on the Moot Court Team and a staff member on the William & Mary Business Law Review. Thanks to a background studying abroad in South Korea and teaching English in China, he is also active with the Asian Law Students Association.

Last summer, McMahan interned at a general practice firm in La Grange, Ky., working on research, litigation, and appellate advocacy. This summer he will work as a summer associate for a firm in Lexington, Ky.

McMahan’s interests are in corporate and transactional business law. He hopes to either practice transactional work in Kentucky or go abroad, perhaps back to South Korea.

McMahan lists himself in a “Millionaire” biography as a farm boy from Kentucky who grew up with exotic animals and heated his parents’ house with a wood stove. He joked that he wanted to win enough money on the show to force his parents to get central heating.

After his audition for “Millionaire,” McMahan got the call to participate right in the middle of his secured transactions class at William & Mary.

“When I called them back, they told me that I was to appear early the next week,” he said. “I replied, ‘I’m really busy--I’m a law student--and  I don’t know if I can make it.’ But of course I was going to be there!”

So, despite needing to take time off during classes, was playing the game an enjoyable experience?

“It was definitely worth it,” he said. “It’s not an opportunity you get every day.”

And that’s his final answer.