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Hollywood loves lawyers. TV loves lawyers. And literature? Well, from Shakespeare to Dickens to Grisham, there is no shortage of fictional lawyers for us to admire, disdain or, above all, simply remember.
We wondered how the fictional lawyers of film, television and literature would stack up against each other. Of course, in some cases they are the same. The Perry Mason of Erle Stanley Gardner’s popular novels is lost in Raymond Burr’s television portrayal. John Mortimer’s Horace Rumpole will forever have the face of actor Leo McKern. But whatever the medium, it is the character we come to love or loathe—whether as a lawyer, a detective, a hero or a human being.
In our survey of this literature of lawyers, however, we feel obliged to recognize a great divide—ante-Atticus and post-Atticus.