Fictional Lawyers

In 1943, an aging attorney released his autobiography, complete with tales from his childhood, legal education, descriptions of cases he’d litigated, and even pictures of the key figures in his life.

The book became a bestseller. In fairness, the lawyer was not unknown to the American public. Many had read accounts of his courtroom adventures, where the intrepid counselor took on the cases of the downtrodden that no one else would touch, since 1919.

The autobiography was hailed by the New York Times and the Washington Post.

The only problem was the star attorney never really existed….

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* Under the leadership of emergency manager Kevyn Orr, Detroit is now the biggest U.S. city to declare bankruptcy in history. Unfortunately, not even the strict Jones Day dress code could save them. [Am Law Daily]

* As one of our columnists David Mowry told us weeks ago, New York wants to close the justice gap by looking to the state’s best untapped resources for pro bono work: in-house counsel. [New York Law Journal]

* It turns out the “new employer survey” to be used by U.S. News is really just the old employer survey that’s been used in the rankings since 1990. How incredibly anticlimactic. [Morse Code / U.S. News & World Report]

* Law schools are officially ready to scrape the bottom of the barrel when it comes to filling their classes. Some are now accepting first-time June LSAT scores for fall admission. [National Law Journal]

* Our managing editor, David Lat, comes to the defense of fictional representations of the law, but seeing as he’s writing a fictional legal novel, we think he’s kind of biased. [Room for Debate / New York Times]

* Mobsters really don’t like rats, and it looks like someone who was planning to testify against Whitey Bulger may have been whacked after having been dropped from the prosecution’s witness list. [CNN]

Tom is really excited because he made the list twice.

Regardless of anyone’s opinion about people who work in the legal industry, it’s hard to deny the fact that many of the greatest American movies revolve around attorneys. When I watched Bloomberg Law’s new video compiling the “The 10 Greatest Legal Movie Lines,” it was cool to see that several of the featured movies are among my favorite films of all time. It’s because there is something timeless and intrinsically cinematic about the work lawyers do, which allows for great stories, and great TV and movies.

But cutting the massive catalog of great legal-themed films down to only ten is tough. A lot of people have to get left out. Only two of the ten characters in Bloomberg’s video even made it into the Elite Eight of our fictional lawyers bracket from last year. And lawyers are not the only ones saying the “greatest” quotes in question.

So the selection might cause a little bit of controversy among ATL readers. Let’s see who made the cut…

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In a column entitled Start-Up of You, Thomas Friedman of the New York Times made the case for a new model of career development. According to Friedman, this job market is “not your parents’ job market,” in which you could expect to move up the corporate ladder at a single company and then retire. In this job market, things are no longer so stable. To be competitive in this new market, Friedman suggests that you treat your career as if it were your own business. This means that you should constantly experiment and adapt, search for growth opportunities, and be resilient.

This is great advice for lawyers (both Biglaw and small-firm lawyers). This advice, however, can be taken even further. As many solo practitioners will tell you (and as one in fact did), having a law degree means that you can do more than treat your career as if it were a business; you can actually have a career where you have your own business….

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Perhaps the winner of our Fictional Lawyer contest was never in doubt. Perhaps it was always obvious that the main character from the longest-running legal drama in the history of television was going to win this thing.

Perhaps, it was all about the eyebrows.

The most popular fictional lawyer in the past 30 years is Jack McCoy from Law & Order. Here’s the updated bracket.

Our CEO here are Breaking Media had a bracket that looked a lot like the final version. Mine? Not so much…

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Down goes Frazier, down goes Frazier!

And by “Frazier,” clearly I mean Lionel Hutz.

From my perspective, Lionel Hutz losing in the semifinal round was a huge upset. I don’t want to take anything away from Jack McCoy — whose face is probably next to the word “lawyer” in the dictionary for a generation of people — but I thought Lionel Hutz would walk away with this thing.

And in the other semifinal, there was another upset of sorts. Apparently Elle Woods is human after all.

You can see all the action on our updated bracket. And now, on to the Fictional Lawyer Madness final….

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I hope you all maxed and relaxed over the holiday weekend, because things are about to get serious. We have reached the final four stage in our Fictional Lawyers bracket. We started with 32 lawyer characters, but the top four shouldn’t really surprise anybody.

We’re giving you the rest of the week to vote on this one. We expect these match-ups to be close so it might be time to call on some friends to champion your favorites…

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I want the record to show that I tried. In our Fictional Lawyer Madness contest, I really tried to find a lot of female legal characters to put into the bracket. Of the 32 lawyers in the bracket, eight were female. One fourth is not a lot, but given the preponderance of male lawyer characters this was a good representation.

But here we are, just in the Elite Eight, and we’re down to only one woman. Hey, we all know that if ladies voted as a bloc (like African-Americans or NRA members), they’d be the most powerful force in American politics. And therefore we all know that women don’t vote as a bloc.

But are we really living in a world where Elle Woods is one of the few things women will rally around?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Fictional Lawyer Madness: Regional Finals Part Two”

And now our Fictional Lawyers Tournament gets serious. We are into the regional finals. The Elite Eight. People have handicapped the tournament. I’ve bet on the tournament (at least I would have if gambling were legal). And now we are here. Powerhouse v. Powerhouse.

As usual today we’ll vote on the left side, Thursday we’ll vote on the right. But because of the upcoming holiday weekend, you’ll want to make sure to vote early…

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At this stage in our Fictional Lawyer Madness bracket, the very, very young ATL summer intern has a perfect bracket so far, and mine is tanking. I picked based on who I thought you crazy readers would vote for. The fetus picked based on the lawyers he had actually heard of.

The lesson, as always, is that Millennials are really the worst generation ever and I can only hope to be dead before they take control of the government.

In case you missed it, here is part one of the sweet sixteen.

In any event, on to part two of the sweet sixteen.

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