f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

March 21, 2006

is that a trick question, counselor?

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 4:52 pm

My Referer Page came through again for me, today, just when

I needed to be distracted from those darn real-world, evil lawyers.

Someone (a “Sucher”) in Germany did eine Google Suche with the

query /are all lawyers trustworthy/. Did the querist expect a yes

or no answer? Well, er oder sie found neither here at f/k/a,

but instead got an excellent quote by Sol M. Linowitz, from his book

The Betrayed Profession, on the profession needing to live up to its

rhetoric of providing justice for all.

movie film sm However, I don’t want to harp on Sol’s sermon. Instead, I want to

point you to an article that I found among the other Google results.

It’s a year old, but I haven’t seen it mentioned at other weblogs. It is

Court TV’s 15 Most Memorable Movie Lawyers” (Hollywood Heat, by

Daniel Green, May 12, 2005.) It’s a great list, with interesting analysis,

plus quotes from a few lawyers and law professors about their favorite

film lawyers.


Although the Dignity Police certainly won’t agree, I concur with the #1 result:




1. Vincent Gambini (Joe Pesci) in “My Cousin Vinny” (1992).

The author notes:

“Best of all, he keeps the jury (and the audience) entertained

and focused. Last year, the Seventh Circuit Bar Association

voted Vinny’s opening trial statement (‘Uh, everything that guy

just said is bullshit. Thank you.’) as the best in movie lawyer

history. In the end, we’re inclined to agree with screenwriter

David Mamet, who once said of My Cousin Vinny, ‘I think

that s the best movie ever made, don t you?’ “


[Ed. Note: And paralegal Mona Lisa Vito was very memorable, too! Did you say “two yutes”?]


Here are the other results (go check out the discussion), with a few quotes that I particularly appreciated:


MockingbirdPeck to kill a mockingbird


2. Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck) in “To Kill A Mockingbird” (1962)

. . . “Atticus Finch was a genteel Southern lawyer. It was very

difficult to raise his ire to the level that’s needed today,” argues

attorney Mike Papantonio, author o the “In Search of Atticus

Finch: A Motivational Book for Lawyers.” “I don’t know if Atticus

Finch is relevant anymore.” Still, of all the lawyers Court TV

interviewed for this article, Peck’s portrayal was the performance

most often mentioned.


“I saw that film as a young kid,” recalls Scott A. Hughes, a

personal injury lawyer in Bellevue, Washington, “but it still rever-



“Was that why you became a lawyer?”


“No,” Hughes admitted. “I became a lawyer to make money.”



3. Arthur Kirkland (Al Pacino) inAnd Justice For All (1979)

. . . “Eighteen years later, Pacino portrayed a very different, much
less honorable type of lawyer in “The Devil’s Advocate.” In that film,
he played Satan, a partner in a successful New York firm.”

4. Charles W. Kingsfield, Jr (John Houseman) inThe Paper Chase (1973)

“He delivers probably the most famous line ever written about law school:
‘You teach yourselves the law. But I train your mind. You come in here
with a skull full of mush and you leave thinking like a lawyer’.”

NewmanVerdictG the verdict

5. Frank Galvin (Paul Newman) in The Verdict (1982)

“The practice of law, the real practice, is 99% paperwork. If they
ever made a movie about a lawyer and it was real, it would be 1,000
hours long, boring and no one would watch.”

Steven Moss with Kahn Kleinman in Cleveland.

TracyMarchInherit 6 and 7. Tie: Henry Drummond (Spencer Tracy) and Matthew Harrison Brady (Frederic March) inInherit the Wind (1960)

8. Hans Rolfe (Maximilian Schell) in Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)
9. Lt. Daniel Kaffee (Tom Cruise) inA Few Good Men (1992)

WitherspoonAsWoods. 10. Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) in Legally Blonde (2001)

“Susan Hitzig, a Manhattan real-estate attorney, said she connected with
Woods ‘because I was considered a dumb blonde too. She showed you
can be a good lawyer and not have to change your whole life around’.”

11. Paul Biegler (James Stewart) inAnatomy Of A Murder (1959)

13. Amanda Bonner (Katharine Hepburn) inAdam’s Rib (1949) Adam'sRibCover adam’s rib

“Hollywood is rarely kind to its female attorneys. Most are either incom-
petent (Demi Moore in “A Few Good Men“) or have sex with their client
(Glenn Close in “Jagged Edge“). Amanda Bonner, though, is smart, tough
and successful. . . . Bonner was certainly a nice role model for young
women interested in becoming lawyers, especially because she emerges
from the case [as criminal defense counsel vs. her ADA husband] triumphant.

14. Fletcher Reede (Jim Carrey) inLiar Liar (1997)

15. George Simon (John Barrymore ) in Counsellor at Law (1933)

movie film sm Is your appetite whetted for more films about lawyers and the law? Seethe 700 titles (linked to summaries) at the Law in Popular Culture Collection of the Texas/Austin Tarlton Law Library.

wind-beaten marque
saying only
“Coming Soon”



summer day
a seat in the movies
away from others

the summer sun
under the exit door


…………. by John Stevenson
“wind-beaten marquee” – Some of the Silence (1999)
“matinee” – Quiet Enough (Red Moon Press, 2004)
“summer day” – Upstate Dim Sum (2004/II)


drive in movie…

opening our eyes

during the love scene

ed markowski


leaving the movies-
believing this world
is the real one




a screensaver glows
through a dark window



clouds seen

through clouds

seen through




jim kacian

“leaving the movies–” & “insomnia–” – World Haiku Assn.

“clouds seen” – The Haiku Anthology (3rd Ed.); Six Directions (1997)



the paper chase PaperChaseG


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