So, let’s talk about legal work through the backdrop of a very silly legal dramedy. Specifically, how some of these shows can help relate to trial work.
As an attorney, my enjoyment of television shows that feature lawyers is a bit all over the map. I’m often asked by non-lawyers for opinions on those shows, which is why I’m choosing to write about legal movies and television on this blog. But, for the most part, the only consistency in the courtroom seems to be that procedures are different all over. Which is what makes it tough to have a legal show that feels true to everyone.
Then, you have the Law and Order situation. Widely considered an accurate legal show, despite every drama ringing to a conclusion within 60 minutes. So, when tonights episode of Franklin and Bash opened with the two main lawyers shooting pool in office, and led to an hour of generally not portraying legal procedured accurately, I didn’t mind in the least. As a lawyer I don’t necessarily need my legal shows to be accurate…just entertaining. Franklin and Bash certainly isn’t for everyone in that regard, but I’ve found myself drawn to the inane recently. Another example being Harry’s Law on NBC a few months back.
While I faded out on watching Harry’s Law a bit, the episodes that I did catch carry some of the same principles you’ll find in a show like Franklin & Bash. It sounds weird, but, when you peel back some of the craziness and lack of legal particularities on these shows, at the core, there is something about these shows that relate to principal legal work.
Specifically, connecting with a jury. One of the most important aspects of trial work is how you can relate to a jury. After my first jury trial I went back and spoke to the jurors about what worked and what didn’t work. Almost all of the jurors told me that even through the stumbles I had in the trial, because I was able to connect with the jury on a deeper level, they’re more inclined to follow through the down moments.
In tonights Franklin & Bash, one of the attorneys representing a client on a DUI, decided the best way to demonstrate to the jury that his client wasn’t drunk at the time he drove, but may have become drunk a half hour later as the alcohol entered his system, was to drink beer in court. For any prospective DUI clients I might have out there, let me be clear, I don’t believe I would take this tactic to defend you. The point remains, however, that the attorneys on the show did whatever they could to present their case to a jury in a manner that they felt the jury could connect with.
That’s important for every lawyer when going to trial, and something that I feel is represented better in over the top shows such as Franklin and Bash. Another thing that shows of this nature represent is the need for a lawyer to understand their client and their clients story. These shows do a good job of humanizing clients that you often don’t see in more pretentious legal dramas.
You don’t win cases without understanding your facts and understanding your clients. Franklin & Bash may be goofy as hell, but it gets these two concepts.