Defense Lawyers Depicted Negatively

Table Of Contents

Conservative Trope Examples

  • The Lincoln Lawyer (2011)
    Mickey Haller gives the bailiff $200 in a Christmas card for preferential treatment including moving one of his clients further up the list to save him time.
  • The Lincoln Lawyer (2011)
    Matthew represents known criminals including a biker gang and says his worst professional fear is having to defend an innocent person which is depicted as being very unlikely.
  • Mick Haller (Matthew McConaughey) is depicted as exploiting the legal system to get clients off the hook or getting them to agree to less favorable plea deals so he can make more money.
  • Matthew McConaughey engages in unethical schemes to get money throughout the movie including hiring a fake freelancer to film his wealthy, high profile client that he "pays off" to get a kickback.
  • Thank You for Smoking (2005)
    When Joey asks his Dad about his homework assignment, "why is the American government the best government?" Nick responds jokingly, "because of our endless appeals system."
    Staff Aside
    Conservatives favor restricting most all rights (except guns) including those who are accused or convicted of crimes whereas Democrats are defenders of freedom. They also are critical of defense lawyers. So a joke about endless appeals resonates with conservatives.
  • Satan is a criminal defense attorney in human form (Al Pacino) who owns a law firm that gets really bad guilty people off.
  • The Devils Advocate (1997) | Lawyers Celebrating Getting Bad People Off
    A defense lawyer Keanu Reeves gets a child molester who he knows is guilty off by aggressively questioning a 15-year-old girl on stand until she cries. He goes out and celebrates afterwards, and later on we learn he kills a 10-year-old girl.
  • Martin Vail (Richard Gere) wins his case by reason of insanity when his client Aaron (Edward Norton) fakes a split personality disorder and pretends to be timid and nice when instead he turns out to be a very bad person.
  • Martin Vail (Richard Gere) has a reputation of winning high profile criminal trials on technicalities.
  • Mitch (Tom Cruise) is hired at a prestigious Memphis law firm he quickly realizes is rife with corruption. The lawyers at the firm help their clients engage in money laundering, tax-avoidance, and a host of other shady practices any respectable defense lawyer wouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole.
  • Criminal defense lawyers are often disparaged and portrayed as standing in the way of bringing a suspect to justice instead of as a constitutionally guaranteed advocate for a person charged with a crime.
  • Billy Bob Thornton successfully gets a criminal off the hook who goes on to kill an entire family which leads him to quit the law firm he co-founded. He develops a drinking problem and practices law on his own which is the basis for the series.