Durham attorney Carena Lemons said that Oprah Winfrey’s departure from daily TV left a void, one she hopes to fill.
Lemons hosts a TV show, “It’s Your Life” that airs Thursdays at 5 p.m. on RTN 10 in Raleigh. “The show deals with legal issues people deal with in their everyday lives such as consumer debt, bankruptcy, divorce and personal injuries,” said Lemons. Her guests are typically professionals and attorneys who practice in those specific areas. “It’s my job to use the show to help viewers feel empowered and confident to reach out for help.”
Lemons said there is also a business aspect of the show when she has guests that address topics such as real estate, small businesses and entrepreneurship.
Lemons is a graduate of NCCU School of Law and has 13 years of experience in private practice managing a wide array of cases including bankruptcy, consumer debt litigation, entertainment, employment, driver’s restoration, criminal, traffic, small business, nonprofit, family and abuse, neglect and dependency law. She now limits her practice to the areas of bankruptcy, entertainment and employment law.
She said her experience handling a broad variety of cases and appearing in court gives her unique skills as a TV interviewer. “If a lawyer is a guest and they slip into jargon, because I’m a lawyer, I am able to help them clarify what they are saying so that it makes sense for our viewers,” said Lemons. “I feel that the time I have spent in court as a lawyer gives me the ability to ask my guests deeper questions.”
In person, Lemons is warm and engaging. She is charming and easy to talk with. “I enjoy interviewing people and all the aspects of hosting a TV show. I want my show to be a mixed bag, both serious and fun but above all it needs to be informative,” she said.
“It’s Your Life” is now into its first season and has added a live audience. “I love the live audience experience, which we didn’t have during the pilot. It makes our shows more interesting and interactive and engaging. It also gives the show a little lighter feel.”
Lemons is looking to take her show from cable TV to broadcast TV in the region or even national distribution or parlay her experience into a legal correspondent’s role on network TV. “Based on my experience as a lawyer, when I interview someone I can pick up on their body language or their facial expressions to I know if they are holding back when answering a question.”
One of the issues Lemons said she would like to deal with on her show is human sex trafficking, the kind of topic that Oprah would have done on her show. “I think there are a lot of misconceptions out there in the public. I want to educate people about what human sex trafficking is. I want to look at who those victims are, how immigration laws come into play and what tools and resources are available.”
“Oprah helped reshape our culture by tackling issues that had never been discussed on TV, she gave a voice to issues such as domestic violence. She was truthful and people could rely on her,” said Lemons. “I hope I can provide that voice.”