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Attorneys In The Media

Attorneys on the media

One of my favorite TV shows, Better Call Saul, is back on the air. Minor spoilers ahead.

In the first episode of the 5th season, the main character concocts a plan to get new clients: a coupon for 50% off all non-violent felonies. Another character (who is also an attorney) chastises him for the plan and says it encourages non-violent felonies and reflects poorly on him.

While the legal elements of the show certainly don’t play out exactly like they would in real life, the constant debates about morality feel very real. Throughout the show, characters are faced with the choice between deontology and teleology: a choice between a set of moral principles or believing that the ends justify the means. When your client is facing five years if they go to trial, but they want to go to trial despite having a five month plea bargain on the table, what do you do?

Lawyers in the media are often depicted as caricatures, which leads to the public misunderstanding how nuanced and complicated the law really is. Lawyers might be portrayed at best, as incompetent and at worst, as hungry vultures looking to make a quick buck off of the most vulnerable. We know that most attorneys don’t fall in either category; they’re good people looking to fight hard for their clients and create a better world. They put in countless hours volunteering, either in pro bono work or in completely different fields. They work tirelessly, take CLE courses, and keep on smiling.

How do we get that image of attorneys - the image of a hard-working, diligent, moral individual - into the mainstream? Certainly, it starts with behavior; the more attorneys who act in line with this moral archetype, the more it will enter the public consciousness. Outreach is important, too. Attorneys like the YouTuber LegalEagle break down the portrayal of law in TV shows and movies, exposing the number of falsehoods that go into most of these depictions.

What other ways can we find to elevate the legal professions? Blogging is a start. Most blogs (including this one) by attorneys are made for other attorneys. More blogs for casual observers who are interested in the law could be helpful; YouTube videos, Instagram, and other social media could be a huge boon, too. While you can’t expose details about specific cases, you can talk about some of the challenges you face, some of the moral quandaries that come up, and your successes - all without delving into details.

The Internet offers us a plethora of opportunities to expand the legal tradition - both in scope and in righteousness. The best way to improve public perception of the profession is to always work with integrity. When an emergency comes up and you can’t make an appearance, we’re here for you - our court appearance professionals are available on short notice and they’ll work diligently to make sure your client receives the best representation.