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Top Attorneys Weigh In On Hollywood’s ‘Jaded’ Perception of Lawyers

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. Paul Cannon, Shareholder of Simmons and Fletcher, P.C., is a personal injury and Christian-based law firm who focuses on helping injury victims put their lives back together after an incident. Cannon states that the Hollywood portrayal of the law profession does impact people’s perception of lawyers. “I often have to stop and explain to people what the legal system is really like. People see a tv show where an incident occurs, the trial starts the following week, and the jury renders a verdict in a few days. No case happens that fast.” Cannon says that in tv shows lawyers get cases resolved fairly quick. “The evidentiary discovery periods go on for months and months. It takes time to investigate, gather evidence, order records, and prepare a case for trial. Cases typically last a year or two. People see a lawyer on tv working on one case at a time until it’s over but no lawyer handles just one case at a time.”
  1. Mike Maloof, Jr., founder of The Maloof Law Firm, focuses on criminal defense practice with some personal injury. Maloof Jr. says that he doesn’t believe Hollywood has an impact on how people view lawyers, specifically his clients.  “Sometimes I deal with media hot topics that are not relevant to a person’s case but weigh heavily on an individual’s mind. For example, Black Lives Matters is a powerful movement for a lot of my clients, but on a DUI case where an officer is cordial and does his job correctly, the overzealous police brutality at the core of the movement has no bearing on the case itself.” Maloof Jr. states that although lawyers can sometimes be portrayed as handsome with lots of charm, he holds his practice to a higher standard. “ I am just a little less handsome and a little less polished, but I make up for it in compassion for what I do and a belief that truth and fairness are at the heart of my profession.  Authenticity and honesty resonate with people at a much higher level than image, status, and grandstanding.”
  1. Kim Rockwood, founder of Kim Rockwood Law, LLC, offers a wide range of legal services. Rockwood’s firm provides an enforceable plan for the deaths of family members and support for small business owners. Rockwood says that Hollywood contributes to some of the misperceptions of lawyers in the real world, for some people the only lawyers they’ve seen are on TV. “Sometimes I’ll get a client who says, “But I’m right! How come I don’t automatically win my case!” Then, I have to explain that the legal process is a lot more complicated than what you see in a one-hour television show.”
  1. Kiera L. Harvey, attorney, and founder of The Law Office of Kiera L. Harvey, whose office practices personal injury, employment law, and estate planning. Harvey states she thinks most of the people’s perception of lawyers is influenced by Hollywood, and that most days are not as action-packed. “A common misconception would be people believing that a court case will be resolved quickly. It is easy to understand why most people are influenced this way. Within 45 minutes of a legal television show, there has been a crime, an investigation, the big courtroom drama scene, and then a resolution. Whereas, in reality, legal matters could take years to resolve.”

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 Public Relations Agency in Miami


Kotton Grammer

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