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Think back for a moment. Can you recollect your first encounter with the term “lawyer”? For many of us, it was more than likely in a television series or film. Maybe you can vaguely picture your parents watching shows like Matlock, or possibly you remember reading or watching To Kill a Mockingbird in school, cheering on Atticus Finch. But honestly, what is the attraction of films depicting law? Could it be the desire to have justice served? The hope that we can depend on the legal system to repair the fallible, and create integrity amongst a society that we deserve? Whatever it may be, Hollywood has long used the cinematic courtroom as a method to make social and political statements or manipulate public perception, and oftentimes lawyers are portrayed in an unrealistic light.

Is the public perception of lawyers truly jaded by the big screen? For this segment, Werewolf Media has reached out to some of the nation’s most decorated, and respected attorneys and law firms on their opinions about the portrayal of lawyers in Hollywood. 

  1. Karen Lee Pollak, managing attorney of Pollak, PLLC, represents Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, aliens of extraordinary ability, investors and families seeking visas to lawfully live and work in the USA. When asked about the misrepresentation of her profession in Hollywood, Pollak says that the big screen does not accurately portray lawyers, more so related to their struggles. “I do not believe they portray the extreme stress and burn out Lawyers often experience in meeting deadlines and dealing with constantly changing regulations and laws.”
  2. Griffith Thomas II, founder of Thomas Law Firm, PLLC, specializes in legal issues that entrepreneurs, small business owners and their families’ tend to deal with. Thomas says that he does believe that Hollywood has an effect on people’s perception of lawyers, and that it might not always be negative. Most of the general public has very little interaction with lawyers, leaving them to form opinions based on what they see on screens. “I think it can both be positive and negative though. I’ve had a compliment from a client saying I remind him of Matthew McConaughey in A Time to Kill. However, many people ask me how true Better Call Saul could be, as well as many other movies and shows.”
  3. Angel Reyes, III, founder of Angel Reyes & Associates, specializes in representing people who’ve been injured in motor vehicle crashes. Having represented over 30,000 people, Reyes believes Hollywood’s portrayal of lawyers has a significant impact on how people view the law practice, he states that the media influences how people think lawyers spend their time. “Hollywood writers are masterful in creating well written and engaging stories, hence they sometimes use over the top stereotypes to keep the on screen lawyers interesting. In reality, most of what lawyers do is in the office behind a computer screen but that would make for bad television.” 
  4. Tim Mendolia, partner at M&P Law Offices, offers legal counsel in general law, from businesses to juveniles, Mendolia represents all walks of life in their time of need. Mendolia states that Hollywood’s portrayal of the law practice isn’t much different than any other professional practice. “There are good lawyers and bad lawyers just like there are good doctors and bad doctors, etc., and to that end, there are good lawyers portrayed by Hollywood and bad.  Personally, I do not particularly keep up with Hollywood or any of their actions, but based off of what I have seen, the public’s perception of lawyers should be no different than their opinion on other professions, Hollywood portrays each profession in one way or another.”

Although 2020 does appear to be something out of a movie, this is the real world – not a fictitious film set.  Despite the often wrong portrayal of lawyers in Hollywood, as a society, we have confided in the council and opinions of trusted attorneys since the dawn of this country. Lawmen in almost every area of practice have always played a key role in making sense of unsettling times, and this won’t be changing in the foreseeable future. 

Werewolf Media is a Miami based Public Relations Agency 

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Kotton Grammer

Kotton Grammer is the founder of several Agencies that specializes in Public Relations and Digital Marketing. Headquartered in Miami, FL.