The Depiction Of Lawyers in Media

We’ve all seen television dramas and movies that include lawyers and depictions of courtrooms and legal cases. You might not be surprised to learn that these depictions are not 100% accurate. However, the degree to which that these shows and movies stretch the truth could certainly leave you feeling shocked! Look no further than this Cracked article for the multitude of examples of lawyers actually doing a bad job of, you know, being a lawyer in cinema. Similarly, this article laments the bad rap lawyers tend to receive because of how they are portrayed in the media. Both the misconceptions about how the job of a lawyer is performed and how lawyers tend to act as professionals and as people contribute to a skewed perception of the entire field in the minds of many moviegoers. It Wasn’t Always Like This There have been movies about lawyers for a long time, as the notion of a story about a character that effectively has the power to give and take away someone’s freedom is quite attractive to a storyteller. Add to that the sometimes dramatic and interesting subject matter of legal cases, and an entire film genre is born. However, as Christopher Snead from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville argues in his paper The Downward Spiral: A Look at the Depiction of Layers in Movies, starting in the 1970s there was a tonal shift in how lawyers were represented in film. In the 50s and 60s, he argues, lawyers were depicted in a positive light as decent people and competent professionals, a trend that would die in the 70s and never get better. Why All The Misconceptions? These misconceptions are born from an unfortunate dichotomy: cinema and movies are supposed to be entertaining (constantly so, even), while the legal system is largely anything but. In the realm of cinema, anything that gets in the way of telling a good story is thought of as the enemy. Therefore, it is no surprise that many of these films are very loosely based on real situations and are then injected with interesting plot twists and interesting character traits that make sense in a fiction universe, but not in real life. Why Happens When You Depict Real Law? Ironically, there have been a few pieces of media in recent years that have achieved massive levels of success despite the fact that they depict entirely real legal cases. For example, Netflix’s documentary series Making a Murderer and the Serial podcast have both been wildly successful and, for the most part, faithfully depict how the legal system actually works because they are nonfiction. Why is this the case? Our hypothesis is that the medium these stories take place in (a series of podcasts or a documentary mini-series) are a better fit for the lengthy yarn that is woven every time a legal battle begins. Movies are naturally limited in their runtimes, and as such, their stories must be altered to fit into a bite-sized dimension. This is not so with other types of media. Maybe this means that we’ll see more faithful depictions of a lawyer’s life in the future…though probably not in movies. Related posts: Becoming Resilient is Key For Young Lawyers FAWL Launches ‘Board Certification Boot Camp’ for Women...

read more

Study Finds That Most Lawyers Are Introverts

According to a recent study, most lawyers have an introverted (as opposed to extroverted) personality type. These findings would appear to support the mindset that introverts do, in fact, make better lawyers than extroverts. Let’s dig into the results to find out more! Lawyers = Introverts According to the study from Eva Wisnik, president of the legal training and placement firm Wisnik Career Enterprises in New York City, roughly 60% of lawyers are introverts. She gave more than 6,000 attorneys the Myers-Briggs personality test during a period of time that started in 1990. While these findings might seem counterintuitive, Wisnik is not surprised by the findings. “It’s not something you’d intuitively think, particularly when you think of litigators,” she says. “But it makes sense. Many lawyers spend a lot of time by themselves—reading, writing, thinking—compared to other jobs, where the majority of the work is interacting. Introverts make good lawyers, especially for clients who want a thoughtful answer.” Of course, this doesn’t mean that introverted litigators freeze up in the courtroom or face any other detriments that might be imagined for a stereotypically shy group of people. “Being an introvert is really about how I approach problems and how I recharge,” Airina Rodrigues, an intellectual property lawyer, explains. “I’m not shy, but I find networking draining. I love meeting new people, but it requires extra energy.” Do introverts make the best lawyers? There are many aspects of the lawyer’s job that tend to favor introversion. As noted above, there is a lot of reading, writing, and thinking that is required of a lawyer—skills that introverts tend to thrive in. What’s more, areas where introverts are conventionally lacking are actually propped up by the legal profession. For example, while introverts might not be as social as extroverts, many find that presenting in a courtroom was rather easy because of the rules and regulations involved in the process. These are anchor points that can help guide introverted and shy lawyers. To learn more, check out this insightful article from The Legal Balance about the introverted lawyer!   No related...

read more