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"And Justice For All"

Law and Lawyers and the World Around Them: What kind of change do you see reflected in the worlds depicted in
"Adam's Rib" and "Anatomy of a Murder" and the world portrayed in "And Justice for All"?
How does the world in which we find ourseles affect the way a lawyer tries to practice law?
James !erardinelli" in his reiew of "And Justice for All"" points out that "#nce" practicing law was considered a worthy"
honorable career$ %o longer$ &n a bloated legal system where technicalities count more than 'ustice" and where wealth and
fame can buy freedom" lawyers hae become the parasites who feed off the desiccated remains of human suffering$ (o be
sure" there are some who still enter the profession with the best of moties" but they are in the minority$ )aw is not about
idealism* it's about money and back+room deals$" !erardinelli says "And Justice for All"" with its "bleak" absurd look at
lawyers" and shaped by elements of satire and black comedy" "would be hilarious if it wasn't so true+to+life$"
#ne might wish for a more nuanced" and carefully argued statement as to the nature of the problem we face in the legal
profession" but !erardinelli's point" too easily dismissed as a gross e,aggeration" need not be dealt with by dismissal"
denial" or defensieness$ We need to reflect on this -uestion. What does it mean" to enter a profession" which is so easily
characteri/ed by the iews e,pressed by !erardinelli?
0en if !erardinelli oer paints his canas" isn't there a criti-ue of law and the legal system lurking in "And Justice for All"?
Anti-lawyer Films: 1ome academics" film reiewers" and law+trained iewers of films consider films like "And Justice for
All" and "2eil's Adocate"" films that portray the dark" shadow world of our profession" to be "anti+lawyer$" How are we to
read lawyer films in which law and lawyers are portrayed as accomplices in what James !erardinelli refers to as "deeply+
rooted hypocrisy and cynicism that defines American law"?
#ne problem" of course" with this notion of films as being "anti+lawyer" is that the films in which negatie elements of the
profession are portrayed also present lawyers" like Arthur 3irkland 4in "And Justice for All"5" who passionately care for their
clients" fight for them at eery turn" and are willing to risk their careers to maintain his own integrity in a world where law
destroys or deours eerything it touches$ &f today's lawyer films are "anti+lawyer"" how do we e,plain lawyers like Arthur
3irkland?
Conflict: What is the nature of the conflict represented in "And Justice for All"? What conflict in law do we find presented?
3irkland says of Judge 6leming. "(his Judge 6leming goes by the letter of the law$" (he problem is that his client" Jeff" is
innocent and by upholding the law the 'udge sanctions a cruel in'ustice$ 47ail 8acker also seems to endorse this iew that
following the law takes precedence oer any concern we might hae for 'ustice$5 &t's not all that hard to see the attraction
in such a iew. keep your eye on law and let 'ustice take care of itself$ Arthur 3irkland seems troubled in ways that 7ail
8acker 4and Warren" the lawyer who takes the probation hearing for Arthur when he ministers to his friend Jay5 are not$
(he pay+off from following conentional iews 4of lawyering" society" life5 is that you are more insulated from the world
around you$ Arthur 3irkland sees9knows9understands the world in a way that leads" at the end of the film" to an
unconentional" career+threatening stance" to recogni/e the truth in a world of lies and deception$
Opening cenes: (he opening scenes of a film are important:and thus" the abhorrence of dedicated film buffs at
arriing late and missing the opening moments of the film$ 4&n an earlier era" moie theaters were not emptied after each
showing so it was possible to see the beginning of the film you had missed by simply staying on for the beginning of the
ne,t showing$5
"(o 3ill a Mockingbird" opens with the the beautiful presentation of ob'ects and a child drawing:we later learn that these
ob'ects hae been found by Jem 6inch in the knothole of a tree" ob'ects placed there by the reclusie !oo Radley$ (he
ob'ects intrigue the children and are hidden away so that their father will not learn they hae them$ (hese ob'ects are !oo
Radley's link to these children he admires 4and watches oer5 from a secluded distance$
&n "And Justice for All" there is a oice+oer of young children reciting the 8ledge of Allegiance" making mistakes as young
children will do" but earnest" and passionate in their efforts to get it right$ As we listen to these children and their recitations
the camera walks us up the steps of an official building" the 'ail in which we are introduced to the lawyer" Arthur 3irkland$
!ail "ac#er. 7ail 8acker" the lawyer on the ethics committee" is according to one student" "the oice of reason$" & think of
her as the "oice of conention$"
Arthur 3irkland tells 7ail. ";ou're conning the public$ ;ou're skimming the surface$ ;ou're not going after the real power$"
&sn't there some pernicious mischief on the part of those who are eager to punish minor wrongdoers when serious
corruption goes unchallenged? 1houldn't one be concerned that our criminal 'ustice system seems more intent and
efficient in locking up drug offenders than in prosecuting comple," white+collar" corporate crime?
The Lawyer as $ero: 1ee" Frank McConnell, Storytelling and Mythmaking: Images From Film and Literature <= 4%ew
;ork. #,ford >niersity 8ress" <?@?5. AB(Che hero of melodrama" the detectie" the inestigator" the in-uisitie person
desperate to find out how a confusing and corrupt society operates" may become a more bitter figure$ He may become the
inestigator who has discoered that eeryone is guilty" the detectie who finds that the Dity itself is the criminal he
pursues" since the Dity has failed to lie up to the moral sanctions enisioned by its epic founders$ (he hero" in other
words" is now the satirist. his relationship to the community is that of prophetic scorn" disdain" een isionary paranoia$
And the Dity" the community" is now inimical to the surial of the indiidual" rather than a means of that surial$E
A#f course" depending upon how many of his audience share his concern with the decay of the epic foundations of the
city" the satirist will tend toward either the position of an officially recogni/ed public oice or that of a lone" cra/ed prophet
crying in the wilderness$E BId$C
And then" in still a new phase of the satirist9prophet" ABtChe hero is no longer public moral oice or cra/ed prophet" that is"
but lies between the riskier alternaties of Messiah or madman$E B<FC
When a 'udge is charged with rape" Arthur 3irkland is forced to defend him$ 3irkland has had problems with the 'udge in
the past" including one incident when the 'udge wrongly sentenced his client Jeff McDullaugh because of a technicality$
3irkland faces a moral and legal dilemma$ + Written by Melissa Portell <mportells!c"is#unomaha#edu$

Arthur 3irkland" an idealistic defense attorney in !altimore" cares about his clients and isits his aging grandfather" who
put him through law school" eery week$ (hings aren't going well for Arthur. two of his clients are increasingly desperate"
neither should be in prison" his partner is behaing bi/arrely" he's begun an affair with an attorney who's on the bar's
disciplinary committee" his faorite 'udge may hae a death wish" and then" the 'udge he dislikes most" a by+the+book
martinet" demands that Arthur defend him when he's accused of a brutal assault on a young woman$ &s there any way to
e,pose real corruption and find 'ustice for all? + Written by <%haileyhotmail#com$
An ethical !altimore defense lawyer disgusted with rampant legal corruption is asked to defend a 'udge he despises in a
rape trial$ !ut if he doesn't do it" the 'udge will hae him disbarred$ + Written by %gp&''&yahoo#com