So you want to get into law. Well, let’s see what kind of lawyer you’ll be..
Fictional lawyers might keep us entertained, but how true to life is what’s shown on screen?
Made in America
For UK viewers, it's worth knowing our legal system is a very, very different beast to the American one we see so often on our screens.
Compared with what you’ve seen of the US equivalent on TV, your first encounter with our country's justice system could seem very strange – and everything will take much longer than you might expect.
For example, our cousins across the pond don't have barristers and, because our system is ancient – with all kinds of curious traditions and precedents – there's quite a lot more 'looking stuff up from hundreds of years ago' than the movies show.
Working all the hours
Fictional lawyers never seem to do any work unless it's incredibly late at night and they're either hunched over a screen in a dimly lit room, arguing in a dimly lit room, or hunching over a screen, while arguing, in a dimly lit room.
It's like they can only have good ideas or remember any laws after midnight, like legal Gremlins.
Although real-life lawyers are probably not as dramatically lit as the ones working late on TV, it's certainly true that some people in the legal profession need to put in the hours – particularly in corporate or criminal law – to get the job done. They probably like coffee just as much as their on-screen counterparts, too.
You want the truth? You can't handle the truth! (Just kidding.) The big climax of legal dramas is often the trial, where passionate folk stand up and make stirring speeches to the jury that swing the fate of someone's life.
There's usually a lot of shouting for order, cries of “objection” and, in the UK, some excellent wigs – but in reality that doesn't happen every day.
Legal dramas only show part of the picture. Courtrooms can be really dramatic, but lots of the time they're just quiet, serious places where the law is applied. It's not always high octane, but every case that comes to court matters to someone.
Giving something back
Even if you love Daredevil, you’ll know that lawyers don't run around Hell's Kitchen at night athletically beating people up when the justice system fails.
However, the Marvel show does highlight the smaller cases, the disenfranchised people and the lawyers trying to help them.
While the lawyers you’ll meet probably won’t do much in the way of battling ninjas – what many will have in common with Matt Murdoch is their pro bono work, where they help clients for free.
It's not all shiny business suits or high profile cases: law also offers the chance to help some of the most vulnerable people in our society.
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