Lawyers on U.S. Television

In the Elgar Concise Encyclopedia of Law and Literature (Robert Spoo &Amp; Simon Stern, Eds., 2024) (Forthcoming)

7 Pages Posted: 8 Apr 2024

See all articles by Christine A. Corcos

Christine A. Corcos

Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge - Paul M. Hebert Law Center

Date Written: March 7, 2024

Abstract

Legal shows, whether dramas or comedies, have been extremely popular on US television since the medium first established itself. The American legal system is an adversarial one, and the opposition of the prosecutor and the defense attorney lends itself to a narrative in which the two lawyers are battling not just over the fate of a defendant but also an idea. Television lawyers practice in many different workplaces, from government buildings to large law firms to one person offices. Although many tv lawyers are white males, women and people of color are increasingly members of the tv bar. Early tv lawyer shows followed a traditional format in which each episode presented a self-contained story. Lawyer shows today might span several weeks or an entire season. Contemporary legal shows offer stories about lawyers and judges in their professional and personal lives, moving the focus from the courtroom to the home and back to the courtroom. Reality shows featuring judges are popular because they allow viewers inside what seems to be an actual, as opposed to a fictional, courtroom. While some commentators object to the lack of realism in both fictional and reality legal shows, these programs offer viewers both entertainment and some information about the American legal system.

Keywords: lawyers on television, lawyers in popular culture, judges on television, judges in popular culture

Suggested Citation

Corcos, Christine A., Lawyers on U.S. Television (March 7, 2024). In the Elgar Concise Encyclopedia of Law and Literature (Robert Spoo &Amp; Simon Stern, Eds., 2024) (Forthcoming), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4751701

Christine A. Corcos (Contact Author)

Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge - Paul M. Hebert Law Center ( email )

440 Law Center Building
Baton Rouge, LA 70803
United States

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