CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Friday, August 21, 2009

Asimow on Law and Lawyers on Television

Asimow Michael Asimow (University of California, Los Angeles - School of Law) has posted Lawyers in Your Living Room! Law on Television (LAWYERS IN YOUR LIVING ROOM! LAW ON TELEVISION, Michael Asimow, ed., ABA Press, 2009) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

From Perry Mason and The Defenders in the 1960’s to L. A. Law in the 80’s, The Practice and Ally McBeal in the 90’s, to Boston Legal, Shark, and Law & Order today, the television industry has generated an endless stream of dramatic series involving law and lawyers. As a result, most members of the public receive most of their information (and misinformation) about what lawyers and judges do and how legal institutions function from absorbing pop culture representations on television. This book features 36 chapters about legal television, both domestic and foreign, written by 40 different authors. In addition, it contains celebrity introductions by Sam Waterston and James Woods, two of the premiere actors portraying lawyers in contemporary television.

The book covers the Judge Judy phenomenon (including her foreign counterparts) as well as shows that are not primarily about lawyers but feature important lawyer characters (such as The Simpsons or The West Wing). It also contains chapters about the production of dramatic legal shows, including writing and technical advising, and about legal ethics on television. The book concentrates on the personal and professional character of the lawyers -- which runs the gamut from fearless champions of the innocent to the sort of unethical or personally dysfunctional lawyers that the public loves to hate.

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