If you are a fan of the hit CBS show The Good Wife, you are probably an even bigger fan of the show’s main character, lawyer Alicia Florrick (as I am). While Alicia is portrayed as an amazing and highly entertaining lawyer on TV, there are some very good reasons why it wouldn’t be wise to retain someone like her as your lawyer in real life, besides the fact that she is fictional.
- She is an expert in everything. Alicia seems to be able to seamlessly represent her clients in all areas of law, whether it be criminal, estate, corporate, etc. She is also somehow very well versed in military court. This might seem like a signal of quality or excellence, but it would be difficult for a lawyer to become so skilled, in so many areas, in so few years of practice. In reality, a lawyer is legally obligated to recognize when a client’s matter goes beyond the scope of his or her knowledge. If this were to happen, the lawyer would likely assist the client in finding competent counsel with experience in the matter at hand.
- She has terrible courtroom etiquette. This point is true of most lawyers on TV. We often see Alicia in court, yelling, interrupting and scoffing at opposing counsel. She even argues with the judges! In real life, this type of behavior by a lawyer would be very poorly received. If you ever observe a regular day in Court, you would probably quickly grow bored at the polite and reserved tones used by counsel as compared to a court scene on TV. Failing to act respectfully and courteously, especially in Court, can result in a lawyer having to personally pay costs for such behavior, or even a finding that the lawyer is in contempt of Court. Lawyers who have a reputation for being rude or unnecessarily combative can have a difficult time attracting and keeping clients – this doesn’t seem to be a problem for Alicia.
- She has questionable ethics. In a recent episode, Alicia was informed that her client would be dropping off a car full of drugs at the airport. She agrees to be on standby while this happened, just in case her client was arrested. You can probably guess that, in real life, a lawyer would be very unlikely to agree with such a thing. Lawyers are (obviously) prohibited from assisting their clients in committing crimes. We certainly can’t provide information to clients that will likely be used to commit a crime or evade prosecution for a crime. Again, the reputation of an unethical lawyer is just as damaging to the client as it is to the lawyer. In real life, if Alicia was caught, she would face sanction by the Law Society and possible disbarment.
Despite Alicia Florrick’s flaws as a TV lawyer, I’ll still continue to be a fan of The Good Wife. The high drama is just too irresistible an escape from the reality of most lawyers’ daily lives – or at least mine!