August 2009 Issue
TV has always loved lawyers. From Perry Mason to Leland McKenzie, Jack McCoy to Patty Hewes, lawyers have been among the most durable and popular characters on the small screen.
But what law shows do lawyers consider the best of all time?
We put that question to a jury of 12 experts—nine lawyers, two scholars and a TV critic—who write or teach about the nexus of law and pop culture. They were asked to pick their favorites among the scores of legal-minded shows that have come and gone over the years. We stayed away from those daytime judge shows and reality television, sticking to shows with actual scripts—though with some episodes of Law & Order it might be hard to tell the difference.
So the verdict is in, and here are the panel’s choices for the greatest legal shows in TV history.
Sam Waterston has portrayed the television lawyer Jack McCoy on Law & Order since 1994.
James Woods portrayed Sebastian Stark for Shark’s two seasons (2006-2008).
A dozen others legal TV shows our judges thought worthy of mention.
The law in pop culture experts who picked the top 25.
Can a top legal academic create a law school that is both innovative and elite?
Lawyers recommend these practice areas in recessionary times.
A proposal to modify mortgages in bankruptcy fails in Congress, but proponents say it’s the missing weapon in fighting foreclosures.