Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas: Lawyers in the Movies

And a Merry Christmas to all our readers who celebrate the holiday! Wendy Leibowitz discusses Scrooge and the law:

I always assumed that Ebenezer Scrooge was a lawyer, of the London firm of Scrooge and Marley. Scrooge was cheap and wanted his associates to work on Christmas --- so of course he had to be a lawyer! But a careful reading of the text does not support this decisively. During a conversation at a law office about this question - on Christmas Day, appropriately enough - I learned that in England, the name of a law firm cannot bear the name of a deceased person, and the name of Scrooge's firm was Scrooge and Marley. As Marley was dead as a doornail - we learn this early on - perhaps Scrooge was just a generic miserly businessman. Well, Scrooge was Marley's "sole executor, his sole administrator, his sole assign, his sole residuary legatee, his sole friend, and sole mourner," which is enough law to include the film in this section. I think some of the miserly aspects of Scrooge's establishment are echoed in many law firms today, though they are better heated. I have been in elevators where people boasted about working on major holidays, to show how important they were, or to manifest their loyalty to the firm (or lack of time management). Almost any Dickens work contains fascinating insights on lawyers and the law.

Here’s a holiday gift:  her expansive list of lawyers in the movies, with annotations for each movie.  Ho Ho Ho!


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Interesting. I never got the law firm idea from the story. I have always thought that Scrooge and Marley was a financial (accounting or bookkeeping) firm . . . . I think that's part of the irony of the story. Most recently, I went to a version of the musical at our campus theater, and it was clear from that rendition that the firm dealt in financial services.

Posted by: Joan Heminway | Dec 27, 2012 8:26:23 AM

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