What TV Gets Wrong About the Law

Subject: What TV Gets Wrong About the Law


I recently met with some clients and one of them, very proudly, announced that he watches Perry Mason every day.


This made me smile, but not for the reasons you would think. Law shows are very entertaining, but for the most part they are unrealistic.


I have compiled a list of things that TV gets wrong about lawyers and the law.


1.      Quick resolutions. On TV the audience sees the resolution to the case before any of the characters even need a haircut. In real life, I have been married and had a child before the resolution of one of my cases. Lawsuits take time, so have patience.


2.      Lawyers know everything about everything, including some tiny technical law from 150 years ago. This just isn’t true. It is called the practice of law for a reason. Lawyers only tend to know their practice area and that is it. I, for one, know nothing about family law. I do know business litigation, but I am always learning more. Lawyers tend to be smart but only in specific areas.


3.      A courtroom is full of drama. On TV the courtrooms are packed, and the cases are fascinating. In real life, I have seen the judge fall asleep from boredom. Lawsuits tend to be technical and slow.


4.      Witness Stand Confessions. You have to admire how Perry Mason was able to get someone to confess on the witness stand weekly. However, surprises in normal court cases are far and few between. This is because both sides have already done extensive discovery and have a great idea of what each party and witness will say and do.


5.      Lawyers are also detectives. On TV the lawyers are out in the world helping gather facts and find witnesses. In real life, unless it is a million-dollar case, lawyers rarely leave the office. We depend on our clients and the discovery process to get us all the information we need. Moreover, clients don’t tend to want to pay hundreds of dollars an hour for attorneys to go investigating.


Thank you for reading, my business is to protect your business!

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