Great Lawyer Stories & Characters

Do you like to observe fictional characters practicing law in movies, television shows, novels and stage plays?

The ABA Journal has posted “the greatest” lists in all of these categories, as well as a list of “30 books every lawyer should read.” It is the nature of these lists to provoke discussion and disagreement–at the book that should, or the movie that shouldn’t, have been included. For those of us who like this sort of thing, it’s hard to resist going through the slide shows to see what titles the ABAJ’s committees have selected, to compare them to our own lists and to check out still unfamiliar gems.

Among the greatest law novels, you might expect to find here Bleak House and Billy Budd, but what about Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale? Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead? Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God?

You might have guessed that To Kill a Mockingbird was going to be on the greatest legal movies list, but where does Atticus Finch fall on the great lawyers in films and television? And would you include Jack McCoy? “Vinny” Gambini? Ally McBeal? Would your list of courtroom dramas on stage include The Merchant of Venice, Oedipus the King or A Man for All Seasons?

The ABAJ committee’s list of 30 books that every lawyer should read includes some predictable legal classics and judicial biographies. There are also titles recommended not for their law focus but for their insights about life, success or leadership–among them Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince; Stacy Schiff, Cleopatra; and Martin Seligman, Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being.

One book on this list is by a former BU Law professor. Can you guess which one?