Robert A. Clifford, Founder and Senior Partner at Clifford Law Offices, wrote an article titled, “Fiction vs. Reality” for Chicago Lawyer Magazine’s February/March 2021 edition.
In this article, Bob explains how law differs on television than in real courtrooms. The following example Bob shares is from the television show, “Boston Legal”:
“Somehow in one hour the firm could solve numerous legal battles, and it always included Denny and Alan Shore smoking their cigars on the firm’s outside deck with a shot of whiskey to celebrate another win.” This example is perfect in highlighting how television’s portrayal of a legal battle is unrealistic. Typically, depending on the case, the time could take months to years before the case is resolved.
There is much to examine through the portrayal of attorneys, judges and the legal system with what would be allowed under the Rules of Professional Conduct as well as professionalism and expectations in and out of the courtroom.
Bob references his most recent Continuing Legal Education (CLE) program, “Legal Ethics and Professionalism of Your Favorite TV Shows, Yada, Yada,” hosted by Clifford Law Offices, where they looked at hypotheticals taken from various television shows. Some of the hypotheticals discussed included competency, zealous representation of a client, attorneys’ fees, knowledge of technology, preparing and examining witnesses. These hypotheticals were examined from the point of view of legal professionals, not script writers.
Click here to read Bob’s full article.