Over the years, many legal dramas have appeared on our TV screens, from Law and Order and Suits, to shows such as Better Call Saul. These shows continue to appeal to millions of Americans for one reason or another. Many became fascinated with the complexity of the legal system, the investigative skills that many of TV’s most prominent lawyers all seemed to possess, and the power and integrity that came with fighting for justice and working tirelessly to clear a client’s name. But what is the real allure behind bringing the courtroom to the big screen? Is law as glamorous as Hollywood would have us believe? Has the public’s perception of attorneys been impacted positively or negatively based on how the field is romanticized on screen?
We sat down with some of the leading attorneys in the country, to ask: do you think the Hollywood portrayal of lawyers influences how people think of the legal profession?
1. Brian Webb, managing attorney and founder at Brian Webb Legal, practices in multiple areas, including Business and Real Estate, Criminal Defense, and Bankruptcy. Webb stated, “lawyers are either depicted as either heroes or villains. In most cases, such designations are dramatic. Usually, it’s the regular and consistent grind that prevails and often without fanfare”.
2. Attorney Marc Wietzke, the co-founder of Flynn & Wietze, PC, focuses on employees and non-employees who have been injured by railroads. When this question was posed to Wietzke, he agreed that Hollywood had glamourized the practice of law. These days, a jury expects a lawyer to not simply state the facts of a case in court, but to also entertain the jurors with a unique and exciting presentation. Wietzke stated, “Newly minted lawyers are looking for the sizzle and are often disappointed when it turns out to be a fair number of boring journeys down unproductive roads in terms of research and documents.”
3. Jerome Matthews Jr., founder of Matthews Law Office, practices criminal defense in Jefferson Parish, and federal courts in Louisiana. Matthews substantiated that “Hollywood’s portrayal of lawyers influences people who don’t interact with lawyers, similar to how a show about football, or prison life could influence a person’s thoughts if they haven’t had the personal experience. Shows like Better Call Saul are very entertaining and have some very realistic aspects, but as a whole, they are usually unrealistic. But people love those shows and believe that’s how lawyers act, and that’s what lawyers do because that’s what they see. Being that Better Call Saul comes from Breaking Bad, most people understand that Saul is dramatic, and meant to be unrealistic. But shows like The Practice, and Boston Legal, and all the Law and Orders, influence the public’s perception.
4. Karen Grayson-Rodgers, head of Salvo Law Firm, focuses mainly on Family Law and is trained in mediation and collaborative divorce. She prides herself in achieving fewer devastating results focused on amicably settling disputes, whenever possible. Rodgers admitted that Hollywood’s depiction of lawyers on the big screen influences people’s perception of attorneys’ however, it does not reflect the reality within the industry.
While it’s clear that many of the country’s leading attorneys do believe that Hollywood has glamorized the field of law, making it seem more about showmanship in the courtroom than the hard work and tireless efforts that the legal field often requires, one thing remains true both in Hollywood and in reality; attorneys can always be relied upon to stand beside their clients through some of their darkest times. While the legal field may not be quite as exciting as what’s seen on the big screen, the field of law itself remains fascinating to many who aspire to work in this prestigious field and to those who appreciate the tireless work and dedication that these legal professionals are known for.