Law in Popular Culture

The Theater’s 12 Greatest Courtroom Dramas


Preet Bharara has been U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York since August 2009. He served as staff director of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts before becoming U.S. attorney. His favorite stage play is Glengarry Glen Ross.

Peggy Hill is a graduate of Fordham University School of Law and a Broadway and off-Broadway producer. Her stage credits include a recent Broadway revival of David Mamet’s Speed the Plow and Mamet’s new play, Race.

Daniel J. Kornstein is a founding partner of Kornstein Veisz Wexler & Pollard in New York City. A graduate of Yale Law School, he is a past president of the Law and Humanities Institute, and past chair of the Committee on Law and Literature of the New York County Lawyers Association. He has published seven nonfiction books and numerous articles about law.

Keith Lieberthal is the director of strategy for a leading primary research provider in New York City. He previously served as general counsel for Tommy Hilfiger USA and was an associate at Covington & Burling. He sits on the board of New York Stage & Film.

Jeffrey M. Marks is a Chicago trial attorney and an actor, singer, dancer, musician and theater technical director. As a judge for the Jeff Awards, recognizing excellence in Chicago theater, Marks sees some 150 productions each season. He also volunteers for Lawyers for the Creative Arts. His wife, Stevi, a theater director, cringes at the Southern accent he uses when re-enacting scenes from To Kill a Mockingbird.

Michael P. Maslanka practices employment law in Dallas. He also writes a column called the Literate Lawyer. His favorite stage play is The Merchant of Venice.

Dennis Rendleman is ethics counsel to the Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility in the ABA Center for Professional Responsibility. He has performed in more than 35 theatrical productions and appears in The Ghosts of the Library at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Ill. His favorite play is Macbeth[noir], a production of Macbeth that he adapted and directed in the style of film noir.

Michael Riedel is the theater columnist for the New York Post and co-host of the syndicated PBS series Theater Talk. He’s a frequent guest on Imus in the Morning and on BBC television and radio. He’s working on a book for Simon & Schuster about the transformation of Broadway from a dying business in the 1970s to the multibillion-dollar global empire it is today.

Thane Rosenbaum is a novelist, essayist and law professor at Fordham University, where he is director of the Forum on Law, Culture & Society. He also is the editor of Law Lit: From Atticus Finch to The Practice: A Collection of Great Writing About the Law. Rosenbaum’s favorite stage play is Macbeth.

Michelle Zierler’s legal career has included stints at Miramax Films, Canal+ (in Paris) and Playboy Entertainment. A graduate of New York University’s law school, she is the director of the Program in Law and Journalism at New York Law School and an avid patron of the arts. Her favorite legal-themed stage plays are Aaron Sorkin’s The Farnsworth Invention (which, she says, too few people saw) and the Public Theater production of The Merchant of Venice with Al Pacino.

Legal Road Trip: Madison

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