Today I'm analyzing My Cousin Vinny, Liar Liar, The Insider, and Devil's Advocate -- some of the greatest legal movies ever (or at least some of the funniest). You asked me to review those movies and so here they are!
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This is part of a continuing series of "Lawyer Reacts" videos. Got a legal movie or TV show you'd like me to critique? Let me know in the comments!
I get asked a lot about whether being a practicing attorney is like being a lawyer on TV. Like most people, I love watching legal movies and courtroom dramas. It's one of the reasons I decided to become a lawyer. But sometimes they make me want to pull my hair out because they are ridiculous.
Today I'm taking a break from teaching law students how to kick ass in law school to take on lawyers in the movies. While all legal movies take dramatic license to make things more interesting (nobody wants to see hundreds of hours of brief writing), many of them have a grain of truth.
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The "My Cousin Vinny" expert witness section is very interesting anymore. At least in federal courts (and this was an Alabama state criminal matter, as I recall), admissibility of expert testimony (specifically opinions and conclusions) requires not just qualification of the witness as an expert in the relevant field, but also qualification of the testimony itself. This would normally require a Daubert hearing outside of the presence of the jury prior to the admission of such testimony because it is a question of admissibility - not weight or sufficiency of the expert testimony (not to mention Vinny failed to provide sufficient notice to the state of the witness, her qualifications and her conclusions -- though the prosecutor seems to let that slide for the sake of good entertainment. Oddly, as I recall in the movie, the prosecutor presents his expert as a "surprise" witness, too, which would never be permitted, at least under federal rules of evidence). If the boys were convicted, the court's failure to engage in a Daubert hearing outside the presence of the jury would likely be good fodder for an appeal (though I can't remember if the movie was made before or after Daubert came down).
Great insights! Have you ever reviewed “ From the Hip” from 1987 starring Judd Nelson and John Hurt? I think it’s one of the most underrated comedic movies during its time. It also has some truly terrifying scenes which are difficult to pull off in a comedy. Really great courtroom antics and back room deals in the plot as well. I think it be a good review.
Waaaaait a minute. If the "1955 Bel Air Chevrolet, with a 327 cubic-inch engine and a four-barrel carburetor" doesn't exist, why is Jim Trotter asking about it? Is he really making that up off the cuff? Or did he read from the evidence? If my hunch is correct, he could have used the witness testimony that the car doesn't exist to discredit the evidence (now that he can't discredit the witness)
I object! There are frequent cases of women becoming pregnant with a baby that is not her husband's, deceiving that husband into thinking it is his, and when he finds out the deception he is still required to pay child support for the child and there are no repercussions for the deceiving mother.
You should make more just "my favorite examples" videos. Sure seeing you correct fiction that gets it completel wrong is fun but I think we can all learn more if it's you picking the stuff we should pay attention to.
in the case of my cousin vinny, where if a client had that attorney that was stuttering or asked the kind of questions that hurt the client and they wound up losing their case could you file an appeal on the grounds of legal incompetence?
You say "there are laws that you can't get rid of every minority on a jury". While it's not impossible that some local state laws may indeed say exactly that, as weirdly specific laws are certainly a thing, I think you mean there is *precedent* saying that, including a landmark SCOTUS decision, based on laws or bits of the constitution that are rather less specific.
You should check our Fracture. It’s a movie with Anthony Hopkins. He’s some kind of genius and he kills his wife. it’s about him representing himself in court. There’s food twists and turns in it. It would be cool to see you pick that one apart! Lol
I understand that you do these videos for fun but I would like to hear your understanding of all the parts of the “u. S. Constitution” and “bill of rights“ in American civil law. There are major problems with the use of them in law these days.
There are clips of you covering Liar Liar in here, and it seems the clips were pulled from the full two parter you released in November a few months later. Will there at some point be a full episode on My Cousin Vinny?
I'd love to see you go all in on Devil's Advocate.
The West Wing, specifically season 1, episode 11 - (yes, a politics show, not a law show) Josh responds to a subpoena and is deposed (it does not go well).
Bull - a whole show built around jury consultation.
The Jagged Edge
For your own enjoyment (probably not well known enough to warrant examination):
Guilty Conscience https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Auzt01D6F30
by Richard Levinson & William Link (they created Columbo). Anthony Hopkins as Arthure, an attorney planning to murder his wife, so he takes on the roles of prosecutor, defense, & judge to work out all the kinks in the plan.
Devil's Advocate is one of my favorite movies. Although most of the action focuses on Kevin's third case with Milton's firm (the murder case) I'd love to hear your opinion on the Moyez case, the "warm up" health code case where Kevin's client was arrested for killing a goat and acquitted in what looked like a bench trial under a religious butchering law.
Im a first year law student at a pretty tough school, going into finals. Ive made outlines, studied supplements, and I did pretty well on my mid terms. Any other tips youd be willing to hand out for free?
I’ve always wondered, when you brought up client lawyer confidentiality. Is it valid what they do in the movies when a lawyer charges $1 to Someone and that person suddenly becomes their client and thus the lawyer client confidently is in effect?
Excellent Segment. There was a series from 1990s TV series about a Law Firm which handle one murder case. This series is called Murder One. Would you do a segment of Murder One First Season? Thank You.
I had Jury Duty for the first time about 8 months ago and through the selection process I wasn't even called up in the room to sit on the benches because there were too many people. One of the lawyers were asking the wrong people questions since they got their seating chart mixed up and one of them even tried to ask me a question thinking I was called up but I was not.
Is this common? To me I would have been nervous if he was my lawyer since he was kind of stumbling over himself. But, I do not have any experience in court rooms.
I think they let lawyers get in the well in movies and tv shows because it allows them to get both the lawyer and the witness in the frame without having to use an extremely wide shot. It also allows for more dynamic camera placements, and movements, instead of what would probably be a fairly static shot. None of this detracts from your point that it's illegal, but I don't think it's going to change, either.
For towns, each building is described, along with what and who can you can talk to, who to buy skills from, and what quests are available. For the outlying areas, the dungeons are listed.
Dungeon maps are not given -- they would be too extensive to fit easily into a web page and the automapping in the game is excellent. Also, every dungeon should be explored completely to get all of the loot, but only puzzles and hidden locations are described. I also skip most of the fighting because it isnt something that you can easily describe, nor does it matter in most places, except that you have to survive it. I do list the creatures that you will encounter in a dungeon or grid location to give you an idea of how difficult the location is.
Stores are listed with a "buy" and "sell". The "buy" value is multiplied by the items value to determine the price you have to pay for it. The "sell" value is divided by the items value to determine the price you can sell it to the store for. Higher is always worse, and a "buy" or "sell" of 1 means that you are buying/selling an item at cost.
Every location has a "reset" timer. This starts when you first enter the area, and after it "goes off", the entire grid square resets: monsters reappear and random treasure is replaced. Nonrandom treasure (including most stat-gaining liquids) is not replaced. All dungeons have a reset of 2 years (24 months), unless otherwise noted. Overland areas have reset times listed with their descriptions.
Artifacts are unique items that can be found. They come in two flavors: Minor artifacts are always benificial and have a value of 20000gp. Major artifacts always have a drawback, but their benificial powers are much stronger. They have a value of 30000gp. There are 15 minor and 15 major artifacts -- some of these artifacts are placed at specific locations; others are randomly generated.
Table of Contents.