My Top 6 Legal Movies

Attorney Mike Bottaro reviews some of his favorite lawyer movies.

Watching movies is a favorite pastime in our house.  And seeing that my wife and I are both lawyers, we enjoy lawyer flicks…. There’s been a lot of them….. Here are six that we enjoyed:

The Verdict

Paul Newman as a down and out medical malpractice lawyer who is hired to pursue a tragic case.  Newman takes on a well-paid downtown defense lawyer who pulls out all the tricks after Newman refuses to settle.  This one depicts all the ups and downs: the client’s family becomes angry with Newman for not settling, Newman’s expert witness disappears, and yes, finally Newman prevails at trial with the jury coming back with a question that makes it all worthwhile – “Are we limited in the amount of damages we can award?”

My Cousin Vinny

Who doesn’t love this one?  And Marisa Tomei is not too shabby.

Lincoln Lawyer

I really enjoyed the first half of the movie.  Matthew McConaughey enjoys being a lawyer and does not take himself too seriously while maintaining a sense of righteousness against overzealous prosecutors.... and Marisa Tomei is not too shabby.

A Civil Action

I read this book while an undergraduate Boston College student.  It features a real life account of a Boston personal injury lawyer (real life: Jan Schlichtman, in the movie, John Travolta) who takes on big corporate companies over chemical dumping that causes leukemia.  Like The Verdict, a story of David v. Goliath….. I later met Schlichtman in real life.... Inspiring stuff.

A Few Good Men 1992

And Justice for All 1979 al pacino

The Paper Chase (1973) 1L Harvard

I recall watching these three films at various times while I was in law school and since.  The Paper Chase is a must watch for anyone considering law school.  To this day, I admire the passion and determination of the characters played by Tom Cruise and Al Pacino.

Admittedly, my list trends towards more recent movies.  There’s a lot of great older lawyer movies – what do you like?

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Portsmouth Citizen October 10, 2012 at 03:50 PM
The classic, Inherit the Wind, with Spenser Tracy and Frederic March. It is based on the Scopes Monkey Trial where a Tennessee biology teacher was charged with violating a state law against teaching evolution. The 1999 television remake with Jack Lemmon and George C. Scott is very good too.
Mike Bottaro October 10, 2012 at 10:26 PM
These are great choices. I recall reading The Rainmaker and many of the other Grisham books. I also liked A Time To Kill....
Mike Bottaro October 10, 2012 at 10:27 PM
Lol, Kim. Or maybe I did it intentionally to see if anyone was reading :)
Mike Bottaro October 10, 2012 at 10:31 PM
Neal and Portsmouth Citizen.... I am going to find a copy of Inherit The Wind. Thanks for the recommendations....
TAMORI October 11, 2012 at 06:44 PM
Did anyone say A TIME TO KILL???


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