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Real Lawyer vs. Movie Lawyer | Lawyer Reacts to A Few Good Men, 12 Angry Men, & Erin Brockovich

Real Lawyer vs. Movie Lawyer | Lawyer Reacts to A Few Good Men, 12 Angry Men, & Erin Brockovich

I get asked a lot about whether being a practicing attorney is like being a lawyer on TV. Like most people, I love watching legal movies and courtroom dramas. It’s one of the reasons I decided to become a lawyer. But sometimes they make me want to pull my hair out because they are ridiculous.

Today I’m taking a break from teaching law students how to kick ass in law school. This one is just for fun.

In this video I tackle some of the most famous courtroom scenes in Hollywood history including A Few Good Men, 12 Angry Men, The Dark Knight, and Erin Brockovich. Great dramas, but BAD lawyering. They are preposterous, but I still love watching them.

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I hope this will be the first video in a series of “Lawyer Reacts” videos. There are a lot of portrayals of lawyers in the media including movies and TV — and a lot of cringeworthy lawyering.

Got a movie or TV show you’d like me to critique? Let me know in the comments!

Special thanks to Dr. Mike for the idea for this video ( Check out his channel for his medical review of doctors in the media.

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38 Comments - Leave a Comment
  • Nicole Joyner -

    So I have a general inquiry about law vs obligation to the client. You say that a lawyer can't knowingly lie or knowingly let the client lie but you are also not allowed to tell the court outright he's guilty? You have said if the attorney has an issue with the client he can choose to not be their lawyer anymore but if they all have rights to an attorney doesn't this have potential to just happen all over again? There is a specific episode of SVU let me look it up………Law & Order: SVU episode titled Confidential and description perfectly sums up my confusion / question:

    An attorney confesses that she had knowledge that her client committed a 22-year-old murder that another man was serving time for, but could not come forward because of attorney-client privilege.

  • Sara Thomas -

    Why doesn't hair grow in that one place on your face? I have scars that do something like that. It's not a shot against you. Ypu're a beautiful man. I'm just curious.

  • Chad Hero -

    Here's the deal, since the Marines were low ranked and the "code red" is something that is somewhat common, there is reasonable expectation that they thought they were obeying a legal order (we know that they were ordered to do it). At that point, they would be acquitted because everything that happened was a result of them following an order in which they believed was legal. Also, all military cases have an automatic appeal, so they would CERTAINLY win that

  • Guy Desaulniers -

    Objection: when Jack Nicholson's character was asked if he ordered the code red his only options would be to tell the truth, plead the fifth, or commit purgery. Plus he was a high ranking hothead.

  • Fertv -

    Your opening clip from The Dark Knight was filmed in an actual courtroom: Circuit Court of Cook County – Daley Center, Chicago.

  • linguistically oversight 86 -

    3:10 it doesn't qualify as a speculation if a commanding officer receives acknowledgement of the order given it is not Jack Nicholson speculating that his order was received clearly it was him knowing that his order was received clearly because it had to have been acknowledged by the person who received the order military doctrine the way the chain of command works the way giving an order works this is why the court system for military courts is quite a bit different from civilian Court

  • linguistically oversight 86 -

    Yeah but that first ones a Jag Court and the military court system is quite a bit different from the civilian court system and if I'm not mistaken last-minute rebuttal witnesses while they are allowed they usually have to jump through more hoops than they would in a civilian Court

  • wagrhodes13 -

    I have been wondering, why doesn't a case like Wells-Fargo, which systematically defrauded hundreds of clients, draw up RICO charges? I realize that using the RICO Act against legal enterprises is not the original intent, but as far as I know there was evidence of systemic encouragement of and incentives for illegal activities such as fraud and identity theft.

  • David Dunn -

    Objection in terms of civil suit yes but in a military trial referring to orders and chains of command And if were to say well maybe,  possibly..I don't know…. you have a very shitty commander and army

  • Derek Wall -

    $20,000,000 divided by 400 people works out to $50,000 for each person. so in the case of california vs PG&E where the settlement reached $333,000,000 and divide that up by 400 that works out to $832,000 per person. now i am not sure how each plaintiff is paid in a class action suit because i don't know if the money is divided up equally.

  • DeltaFoxtrotWhiskey3 -

    At 2:56 People make the assumption that someone understood what they said every day. If Col. Jessep had given an instruction to a subordinate, and that subordinate did not ask questions or have a confused expression and was later found by Col Jessep to have actually carried out said instructions, then it's not a stretch for Jessep to be asked if the Marine had understood the orders. Is it?

  • Nevermind -

    I searched for law movie and this is what I found. I'm approaching my third year in law school and when I do watch law movies, I often pause it and explain to my wife how it would actually play out. Mostly objections for speculation, unresponsive and badgering the witness, also introduction of evidence. I'm glad to see I'm not the only one to do this. Keep up the good videos, I enjoyed it.

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