The Best Lawyer Movies of the Century

March 27, 2013
Stuart Kovinsky

Everyone needs a little break from prepping for the LSAT. Might we suggest grabbing a bowl of popcorn and taking a quick break to watch one of your favorite lawyer movies?

I don’t know what it is about lawyer movies and TV shows that make them so entertaining. I mean, besides getting a chance to shout, “I object!” every once in a while, the lives of lawyers revolve around phone calls, mountains of paperwork, and a lake’s worth of highlighter ink. But boy, has Hollywood made a pretty penny out of it!

And the lines from these movies are canon: “You can’t handle the truth!” “Everything that guy just said is BS. Thank you.” We can’t get enough of these movies, and as soon as the next one comes out, the people will flock. So, as a salute to these movies that have made lawyering look as cool as being Indiana Jones, let’s take a look at some of the best lawyer movies of the century.

Erin Brockovich (2000)

Erin Brockovich is just one of those names you know. This movie follows a single mother who, through sheer tenacity and a take-no-prisoners attitude, brought down a billion-dollar company for polluting a city water supply without any sort of legal training or violent rampages. You may be surprised, but this is based off of a true story from back in 1993 that resulted in the biggest class action settlement in history. See, clerical fact checking and research do have a glamorous side.

CinemaaustraliaLegally Blonde (2001)

This movie shows us that a montage is all it takes to score a 179 on the LSAT. Elle Woods became a cult icon for the Y generation back in 2001 when she was tossed into a shark tank of prejudiced cynics, a.k.a. Harvard Law School, and triumphed over the tyranny of stereotypes and civic procedure through nothing more than a grounded moral center and an expertise of ammonium thioglycolate. But while Woods had the help of Hollywood magic to beat the LSAT, us mere mortals will have to stick to the old fashioned way: coffee and prep tests.

Law Abiding Citizen (2009)

Keeping Gerard Butler from bringing down the Philadelphia judicial system is just an occupational hazard you need to accept if you want to be a lawyer. Luckily, this movie shows you just how to deal with it. But beneath the explosions, twists, and noticeable lack of Spartan war cries is a hyperbolized moral lesson for all current and future lawyers: The choices you make, and the reasons you make them for, have consequences, and you will be held accountable.

The Lincoln Lawyer (2011)

Well, Matthew McConaughey is in a suit again; cue the collective swoon. While the chance of getting caught up in a sick web spun by a wealthy family of conscienceless monsters is about as high as getting mauled by a polar bear and a grizzly bear in the same day, this movie does a very good job of setting up a plot using little more than actual laws and legal investigation. And for that, it deserves a spot on the list.

Once you’ve had your fun with these movies, think about looking through our additional courses to decide if there’s anything you may be missing (now that you’ve seen how real ((fake)) lawyers work).


Stuart Kovinsky

Stuart Kovinsky I'm Stuart Kovinsky, an out-of-the-closet LSAT geek from Toronto. I've been teaching for Kaplan for over 20 years (not counting a 5 year break to practice as a commercial litigator at a big Toronto firm) and, working both as a teacher and an admissions consultant, have coached a lot of students to their top choice schools. I'm also an ultimate frisbee enthusiast - when not in the classroom or behind the keyboard you'll often find me on the field.

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