As an attorney for the past 18 years, I have lived a fairly stressful, deadline-driven life. But I do enjoy what I do for a living. I also enjoy watching television and movies as they provide an escape from the day-to-day worries. These shows allow me time to decompress and do not require me to talk. So, what better way to combine several of my favorite things than by watching legal shows that have very little to do with the real world. I watch and dream of what it would be like to? or how much fun it would be to?.
Here is a list of my top ten legal television shows and legal movies in no particular order.
1. L.A. Law – this showed me what it’s like to live on Rodeo Drive, have a small caseload which usually involved an actor/actress/athlete or supermodel, and all while driving really fancy cars and working very few hours. What a life and probably the furthest from the reality of being an attorney.
2. The Practice – maybe the closest to real life lawyering, except they never lost a case no matter what kind it was. Some of their tactics were borderline as they dealt with ethics, but this series had lawyers and story lines that always kept my interest.
3. Boston Legal – by far my favorite of all. This is the way I wish I could practice law. Say whatever I want in the most creative and persuasive way possible, deal with cases and clients that are all “over the top”, have a partner that has “mad cow” but likes to fish and experience life in a firm with a daily amount of silliness and zaniness. I am still looking for an office where at the end of every day I can sit on the balcony and have a drink and smoke a cigar.
4. A Time to Kill – my favorite John Grisham book made into a movie. Another story of a lawyer and the people helping him trying to do the right thing for their client while hoping society will learn a little bit from their actions. I, of course, was rooting for the small town defense attorney as he battled the highly polished state attorney. The closing argument by Matthew McConaughey is superb and makes me wish I could be as eloquent in my closing.
5. Matlock – he was my hero because at the end of every show the bad guy confessed whether he planned on doing it or not. Matlock was the best at getting his client off while finding out who really did it. He did all this with a southern drawl and never lost a case either. Besides we all loved Sheriff Andy Taylor from Mayberry.
6. The Paper Chase – this show was kind of like Jaws for people on their way to law school. You really wanted to do it, but you did not know if you would be eaten when you tried it. Even with the fear of the teacher/shark, I went anyway.
7. Eli Stone – a young lawyer with a brain aneurysm begins to have visions. The visions give him direction for his unusual cases and aid him in making the world a better place. His actions normally take place while singer George Michaels performed full blown Broadway versions of his songs that only Eli could see.
8. My Cousin Vinny – the funniest of the bunch and entertaining from start to finish. Any movie where Herman Munster is the judge, the defense attorney wears a leather coat and Col. Sanders attire and the defendants are two “yutes” must be great.
9. A Few Good Men – Wonderful movie and suggests to all lawyers that if you put the time into your case and have confidence in what you are doing even if you are afraid, you will be successful. You will triumph over evil. You will win! The movie also gives us one of the best lines ever uttered on film, it comes from Jack Nicholson in the final courtroom scene, “You want the truth. You want the truth. You can’t handle the truth!”
10. Primal Fear – incredible story and the one of the most unbelievable endings I have ever seen. A thriller that matches any other I have seen. The movie shows us a lawyer that takes on an extremely difficult case and in the end is successful ? or is he.
I hope you can watch and enjoy the movies and televisions shows I mentioned above and escape from the real world for a little while. But remember – it’s the fantasy world of movies and television; don’t expect your attorney to act like these attorneys!
About the Author: Paul Hux is a Petersburg car accident attorney with the personal injury law firm of Allen & Allen. With a strong work ethic, he is dedicated to meeting the needs of every client.