As a recovering lawyer (I don’t ever think I’ll be a “former” lawyer — it’s too hard to shake over 25 years of training and practice, after all, they do train lawyers to think differently), I love a good lawyer flick. Most times I’m yelling at the TV about “that’s not the way this works!” or going on about the latest Hollywood fictionalization of the law and lawyers (sorry, not sorry, but I hated Ally McBeal). In spite of my many strongly held thoughts and preferences, and regardless of any “legal” errors, I adore the movies below and think they are among the best lawyer movies made. There are many more, but I fought to keep my list short and to the point (a lawyer thing). xoxo, Lisa
What’s not to love about Paul Newman? Here, he’s a down and out alcoholic lawyer who takes on a medical malpractice case to redeem himself and his career. When his client is offered a substantial settlement he declines it (regardless of the fact that he would have made enough money to get himself back on his feet). He determines to take the case to trial as it’s the right thing to do for the family and the woman who’s now in a coma. A bit of David and Goliath – but I love an excellent morality play and think you will too.
I’m a sucker for most anything with Reese Witherspoon. This breezy comedy with a heart is perfect for a night in or lazy weekend afternoon. Reese (as Elle) is blonde, perky, brilliant and surprises everyone with her smarts and spunk as she gets into Harvard Law in an effort to win back her fiancee. Law School starts out being more than she bargained for; but in the end, she finds herself, helps new and surprising friends along the way, and overcomes the “Blonde” stereotype.
…and justice for all
For those of us who are a certain age, Al Pacino was the cat’s pajamas. In 1979 he starred in this movie as a lawyer who initially believes in the Justice System, but by the end, is as disillusioned as many of the rest. There are corrupt judges, attorneys and others galore, and Al — trying to keep it all at bay. Seen today, it may seem somewhat dated, but taken in context of the post-Watergate 70’s, I’ve always thought it fascinating. It made quite the impression on me in college in the early 80’s.
Richard Gere stars as high-flying defense attorney Martin Vail. He volunteers to represent teenager Aaron Stampler (played perfectly by Edward Norton) who’s been accused of killing the Chicago archbishop. There’s twists and turns here – and a superb ending! And Edward Norton’s performance is outstanding. Richard Gere is good, but let’s be honest, we don’t really need him to talk, do we? He could just stand there and I’d stare at him anyway.
From the John Grisham book. I think this is one of the best adaptations of Grisham’s work. Brad Renfo (who had no prior acting experience of any kind prior to this picture) stars with Susan Sarandon and Tommy Lee Jones as a street smart youngster who witnesses a mob killing. Both the FBI and the mafia want a piece of him and what he knows. Sarandon is his lawyer. Excellent performances and a gripping story and I’d hire Sarandon’s character anytime!!
What are your favorite lawyer movies? Have you seen any of the above? Let me know in a comment.