Legal Movies You Can Learn From

Learn real Trial Technique
There are actually many GOOD movies from Hollywood that you can actually learn a little about the legal process from, believe it or not.

My mother always told me that, as a kid, I watched entirely, “too much TV.” Now that I look back, she was absolutely correct. However, I believe that every so often, television and movies can actually do a fine job in illustrating certain real life situations and are pretty accurate in their depiction.

There have been several legal based films over the years that I feel do a great job in presenting legal issues in a realistic manner.

One movie right off the bat that is a great introduction into the legal field is the 1972 classic The Paper Chase. There was a spin off TV show by the same name, but I am referring to the movie. This film really does a great job in depicting the life a first year law student. It may appear a bit out of date, but the basic core structure of law school today is still in tact.

Students are often “reborn” when they begin law school. Everything they learned in college is out the window, so to speak as students are abruptly forced to adapt to a whole new way of learning. As always, there are those who flawlessly make the transition, but again, they are in the minority.

Another great legal drama is A Few Good Men. This Tom Cruise classic really shows how experience can sometimes be tossed aside in favor of tenacity and sheer dedication. A lot of good trial techniques were exposed in this film. I wouldn’t go so far as to say everything in the film is true to real life, but all in all, it’s a good depiction of trial procedure. For the record, I have yet to have a witness tell me I couldn’t handle the truth.

A Time to Kill is also a great movie in terms of watching a trial unfold. In this film, pure passion and emotion came into play more so than the actual law. Sometimes presenting the law isn’t enough. The attorney needs to “sell it” and speak from the heart. This movie did a great job in depicting how raw emotion comes into play while conducting a trial.

As discussed in one of my previous blogs, My Cousin Vinny is a great legal film that a person can pick up useful pointers from. In fact, my Evidence professor in law school said that comedy aside, this movie really does a fantastic job in demonstrating how the rules of evidence are played out during a trial.

The films A Civil Action and Erin Brockovich specifically focus on environmental law and were based on a true story. These movies show how the negligent actions of big companies can have a serious adverse affect on the average American citizen.

Certain aspects of the countless Law and Order television shows along with other legal dramas and “dramadies” such as The Practice and Boston Legal also serve up a decent quasi-legal lesson from time to time as well.

I often wonder what I would have become if I skipped watching re-runs of  Night Court.

Coming soon – DWI Lawyer & Speeding tickets blog entry…