If you’re an admitted law student—or a current law student or a recent graduate or a practicing attorney or—well, you may be interested in some law-related entertainment options this summer!
We all know that books and movies do not accurately portray lawyers and the practice of law. (Exception: some non-fiction books or documentary films.) That said, that can be what makes it entertaining to read about lawyers in a book or watch lawyers on a screen.
Following are some movies (the focus for today) that feature “lawyers” or “the law” that may be of interest to those who would like to take a vacation by way of the screen. There is little rhyme or reason to this list. I started with Chicago because I think the music is wonderful, and I got to see it performed in the West End with Lynda Carter as Matron “Mama” Morton. I am ending the list with Legally Blond, which I had the pleasure of seeing on Broadway. Don’t worry, there are no musicals in the middle.
*Chicago: This American musical is set in the jazz age, and it is definitely a satire. The lawyer to watch in this is Billy Flynn, whose Press Conference Rag is hilarious.
*I Am Not Your Negro: This documentary film made by Raoul Peck is based on James Baldwin’s notes for a book project about his three assassinated friends, Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr. The trailer for the movie raises questions of what freedom means, encouraging us to consider how the law has shaped and continues to shape our country.
*The Lincoln Lawyer: This movie is based on the first book in Michael Connelly’s series. The movie presents an interesting approach to the practice of law—out of the back of a Lincoln.
*To Kill a Mockingbird: I first read this book in an 8th grade English class, and the number of attorneys I know who have named their dogs after Scout is surprisingly high. Whether you’ve read Harper Lee’s famous book or not, this is a compelling story. Atticus Finch’s closing argument is freely available.
Just Mercy: You may have read Bryan Stevenson’s book. This movie tells Bryan Stevenson’s story as well, focusing particularly on the case of Walter McMillian. Though much of the filming was done in Montgomery, Alabama, some was done in East Point and Conyers, Georgia.
On the Basis of Sex: Ruth Bader Ginsberg is an icon for many, and this film presents the story of her struggle for equal rights. Like other law-related films, it has a compelling courtroom closing argument.
The Trial of the Chicago 7: If you weren’t alive for it (I wasn’t), you may not know that there were big protests at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago. Well, seven anti-Vietnam war organizers were accused of trying to incite a riot, and this movie tells that story.
*Legally Blonde: This movie tells the story of Elle Woods and her arc of personal growth as she approached and went through law school.
The Law Library includes in its resources some law-related entertainment that may be of interest. We have some of these movies available in our collection at the Law Library or at GSU Libraries—the * before a title indicates those titles!