SAN JOSE DEL CABO, BCS: This morning Blawgletter attended a presentation about what jurors nowadays expect to see in trials. The event featured not only the Trial of Socrates but also video clips from Perry Mason, Judge Judy, CSI, Boston Legal, and Shark. Wow.
We won’t try to review the whole thing; its awesomeness defies adumbration. But we do offer a chronology of how television has depicted trial lawyers over the years:
- The White Hat Era. Perry Mason digs out the truth. He looks svelte and sexy. He also always wins.
- White Shades to Gray. LA Law shows likable but fallible men — and women — who try cases and also do other stuff. Often with sexy results.
- Black Hat Time. The nitty-gritty world of high pay, endless hours, and ruthless determination to win comes to the fore. Also moral relativism. Lawyers battle against corporations but also serve them. Nobody comes out looking great. Even sex seems a tad grim.
To what extent do the depictions reflect reality?
Do you really think that we’d tell you if we knew?
Actually, we would. We just don’t.
But we do think that the connection between fiction and actual fact doesn’t matter. Twenty-first century jurors start out seeing you not as a truth-telling seeker of justice but as a money-making manipulator of the justice system. You must convince them otherwise.
How? Keep reading Blawgletter, all ye in whom the force remains strong.