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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. Coleman Jackson, founder of Coleman Jackson, P.C. is a law firm based in Dallas, Texas representing individuals, businesses, and agencies from around the world in taxation, litigation and immigration legal matters. When we asked the question of rather or not Jackson thought that the Hollywood portrayal of lawyers influences how people think of the legal profession, Jackson was a little on the fence. “I don’t really know.  Some people might think Hollywood reflects reality; but, I suspect that most people view most of what Hollywood portrays as fiction or entertainment or exaggerations that warrants a high dose of suspicion.”
  1. Cheryl Conner King, founder of King Title Group, and partner at Thomas & Brown, primarily focuses on real estate law, and is also an educator for REALTORS®, lenders and other attorneys. When we asked the question of rather or not King thought that the Hollywood portrayal of lawyers influences how people think of the legal profession, King stated “I truly enjoy many of these shows but they bear no semblance to reality.  They sometimes get the law wrong and often over-simplify the issues. While in law school, I considered trial law because I discovered I was comfortable speaking to groups and I was very good at it.  I was aware, though, that much of trial law is preparation.  It is not the high powered, high-intensity negotiations culminating in a dramatic courtroom finish. It also does not get wrapped up in 60 TV minutes. The shows also present ethics and rules as obstacles to be overcome.  The rules are there to be violated when the main character determines that the best result should be attained without regard to the means.”
  1. Ann Massey Badmus, founder & Principal Attorney of Badmus & Associates, whose firm focuses on helping clients, the majority of which are immigrants, meet the legal challenges they may experience in their personal and business life. When asked the same question pertaining to the public perception of lawyers being jaded by TV, Badmus sees the misrepresentation. “Most people have very little interaction with real lawyers so their perceptions are often formed from these types of shows.”
  1. Chelsea Green, CEO of Engage – Workspace for Lawyers, provides a workspace for attorneys. Engage integrates various elements of executive suites, co-working spaces, and law firms to create the ideal office environment for attorneys.  Green provides professional and secure office space, meeting space, virtual memberships, office amenities and equipment, and networking opportunities. Green thinks that the portrayal of lawyers in hollywood can definitely influence how the public views her profession. “I think the portrayal of lawyers in Hollywood can definitely influence the way the general public looks at the legal profession.  For fun, we recently wrote a blog post about the 5 Popular Attorney Stereotypes and whether they are true or untrue.  I think people in the legal profession have a better idea of how attorneys act in reality, which is part of why we believe officing with a community of lawyers is beneficial.  There is a different level of professionalism that most lawyers desire, and it’s nice to office next to other attorneys that have an appreciation for the legal industry.”

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.