Jewish Lawyers in American Popular Culture

21 Virginia Sports and Entertainment Law Journal 1 (2022)

Santa Clara Univ. Legal Studies Research Paper No. 4189143

48 Pages Posted: 19 Aug 2022

See all articles by Michael Asimow

Michael Asimow

SANTA CLARA LAW SCHOOL ; Santa Clara University - School of Law

Date Written: August 12, 2022

Abstract

Popular culture serves as a mirror that reflects the attitudes and beliefs of those who consume it. This article considers the way that Jewish lawyers are represented in American movies and television. These representations reflect a number of stereotypes, many of which are quite negative. Jewish lawyers tend to be smarter than other lawyers, but not in a good way. They are cunning, manipulative, greedy and unethical. They are also physically unattractive and personally unpleasant. These negative presentations reflect the long history of discrimination against Jewish lawyers lasting from the 1880s to the 1960s and of latent anti-Semitic attitudes toward Jewish lawyers held by the general public. A minority of Jewish lawyers in popular culture are about the same as other lawyers and a few are presented in a very positive manner. These positive representations may reflect the commitment of many American Jews to social justice and to the concept of tikkun olam (repair of the world).

Keywords: law and popular culture, law and humanities, television, movies, Jewish lawyers, stereotypes, Santa Clara LawSchool

JEL Classification: Z11

Suggested Citation

Asimow, Michael R., Jewish Lawyers in American Popular Culture (August 12, 2022). 21 Virginia Sports and Entertainment Law Journal 1 (2022), Santa Clara Univ. Legal Studies Research Paper No. 4189143, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4189143

Michael R. Asimow (Contact Author)

SANTA CLARA LAW SCHOOL ( email )

23850 Via Esplendor V62 Trinity Drive
Cupertino, CA California 95014
United States
650-575-4858 (Phone)

Santa Clara University - School of Law ( email )

500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95053
United States

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