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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. Steven Boss, the founder of Boss Law,  focuses on Estate Planning and Probate. Boss Law

empowers their clients with the knowledge for them to make the right choices now, and memorialize them in proper documents, so that a judge who doesn’t know them, does not make those choices for them later. When we asked Boss if he thought that the Hollywood portrayal of lawyers influences how people think of the legal profession, he stated: “We have consciously tried to create an experience more like that found in older Hollywood portrayals of the profession as a Personal Family Lawyer®,  that truly has the client’s personal interests at heart and is available and reachable by the client for a relationship that lasts a lifetime.”

  1. Alejandro Velasco, a partner at RHT Legal Consulting, specializes in representing multinational corporations doing business in Mexico, the majority of them based in the United States. Their areas of expertise involve all aspects of International Business, Mergers & Acquisitions, Divestitures, Antitrust, Contracts, Corporate, Foreign Investment, Foreign Trade & Customs, Criminal, Employment, Tax, Litigation, Intellectual Property, Immigration, Real Estate, EHS, Industrial Safety, Transactional and Life Sciences Laws. When asked about the portrayal attorneys receive in Hollywood, Valasco notices the jaded misrepresentation, as well as highlighting some films that actually do a good job in showing the positive traits of his profession. oftentimes people are influenced by the way lawyers are depicted. In Hollywood, lawyers are often portrayed as egotistical, money-driven, and immoral, which can cause people to distrust lawyers and even avoid them. However, certain people will always be that way –regardless of occupation.  In reality, lawyers provide a broad array of services to people and corporations. They are knowledgeable and useful for taking on endeavors that are unfamiliar to the person or business. Furthermore, Hollywood tends to focus on criminal attorneys and may ignore the business side of law, which consists mainly of reading up on current legal regulations and amendments, mastering their applicability to a case at hand, and advising professionals and corporations on how to proceed legally in their undertakings. I must admit, however, that Hollywood can also surprise us in being quite inspirational when appropriately portraying the core values deemed to prevail in our society and/or in our profession, as lawyers, which include A Few Good Men (1992), A Civil Action (1998), Erin Brockovich (2000). 
  2. Chinwe’ N. Foster, the founder of Foster Law Firm, LLC, provides the armor for people fighting for their livelihood, freedom, and future. Foster specializes in the areas of Family Law and Criminal Defense. Foster clearly notices the misrepresentation of his profession on the big screen, stating: Expectations for lawyers are carved from what people see on TV because most people don’t deal with lawyers that often.  Therefore the public’s perception of the practice of law and lawyers themselves is formulated by what and how Hollywood portrays lawyers.” 
  3. Cheryl S. Davis, the founder of The Law Offices of Cheryl S. Davis, P.C, focuses on Consumer Bankruptcy. With over 21 years of experience, Davis was named a “Super Lawyer” by SuperLawyers.com for 2019. When asked of her opinion of Hollywood’s portrayal of lawyers on TV, Davis states “I don’t think comedic attorneys like Saul Goodman are as much of an issue as lawyers that appear professional and well off but do not have a high moral or ethical standard.  I think that people who need attorneys the most are intimidated by what they perceive from TV.  Many of my clients have expressed how nervous they are to be with a lawyer.”

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.