I love movies but my favorite legal movie
is a television series.
As I watch Suits, I find myself wishing
that law was as sassy, glamorous, and
exciting as portrayed on the show. The
men are all pristine and polished in their
perfectly tailored suits and the women all
wear the highest stilettos. The dialogue is
clever, bright and full of wit. The lawyers
are able to settle cases with a shake of the
hand and a nod of their heads, and seem
to spend more time lunching and grabbing
drinks than sitting behind a computer
adhering to deadlines and drafting
discovery and pleadings.
As attorneys we spend so much of
our days caught up in the seriousness
demanded by our duties as counsel. It’s nice
to get a break from the daily rigors of law
and get immersed in the glitz and glamour.
JESSICA ANVAR / FOUNDER, SHAINFELD &
ANVAR; LOS ANGELES; CONSUMER LAW
Most lawyers can empathize with some
aspect of the “Everyone needs you, no one
loves you” feeling that George Clooney
(aka “The Fixer”) brilliantly captures as the
flawed protagonist in this film. And the
movie’s chief lesson for lawyers is deep and
enduring: Always maintain your moral and
ethical core even if it means compromising
the strength of your legal position.
AMJAD M. KHAN / PARTNER, BROWN,
NERI & SMITH; LOS ANGELES; BUSINESS
A Civil Action.
A Civil Action tells the true-life, cautionary
tale of how one law firm implodes over
its investment in a single case. Jan
Schlichtmann (John Travolta) is a personal
injury attorney who reluctantly takes a case
representing families whose leukemia-stricken children died from polluted water.
After Schlichtmann identifies the corporate
giants who were responsible for the toxic
dumping, the real fight begins.
In a David versus Goliath matchup,
Schlichtmann sacrifices everything—
including his firm and his home—to fund
the lawsuit. Halfway through the trial, he
has to settle for $8 million—enough to cover
costs, a reduced fee, and a modest amount
for the families. The families, however, are
still unsatisfied because they did not get
what they wanted most: a real cleanup and
a meaningful apology. After the settlement,
key evidence surfaces. Still financially
devastated, Schlichtmann turns to the EPA,
which ultimately forces both corporations to
fund a multimillion-dollar cleanup.
Schlichtmann’s never-give-up attitude
and willingness to make personal sacrifices
to benefit his clients was, for me, far more
inspiring than the legal comedies and feel-good movies I usually watch.
ERIN R. MINDORO / ASSOCIATE, BERGER
KAHN, A LAW CORPORATION; IRVINE;
EMPLOYMENT & LABOR, INSURANCE
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LEGAL MOVIE AND WHY?
AS TOLD TO ERIK LUNDEGAARD