Super Lawyers
William C. Altreuter

Friday, August 06, 2010

A friend alerted me to the American Bar Association's list of the 25 Greatest Fictional Lawyers. They did a similar list of great movies about the law two years ago. The Great Legal Movies list is different from my own Great Lawyer Movies list-- the ABA's ontological scheme includes Twelve Angry Men, for example, which is not a Lawyer Movie at all.

This year's list impresses me as rather shaky. It crosses media for one thing-- lawyers from novels, movies, plays and television all mingle. It is too heavy on the criminal law side as well, something that I tried to avoid in my scheme. Finally, the works the ABA cites are mostly potboilers-- fun to read or to watch, but not really very good depictions of our glamor profession. Were I teaching a course in Fictional Lawyers I'd lead off with William Faulkner's Gavin Stevens-- The Town, maybe, or perhaps Knight's Gambit. I'd also be sure to include Shakespeare's Portia, a lawyer's lawyer who knows that the science of jurisprudence must be tempered with discretion in order to achieve justice.

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