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Defense attorney portrayals.....

SFG75

Well-Known Member
Is it me, or do most authors resort to cliche in presenting the defense attorney to the reader? In most books that I've read of the crime/murder genre, the description goes like this. Combed back hair; is universally reviled among fellow lawyers and especially by the police; is an arrogant jerk whom everyone hates; is usually implicated in the crime some how. Is it just me? Just curious.
 

Fantasy Moon

kickbox
The only defense attorneys that I can think of offhand are from A Time to Kill and The Advocate's Devil. Yet those were main characters...

Were you referring to books where the defense attorneys are main characters or just the side characters to meet during the legal battles of court?
 

SFG75

Well-Known Member
Fantasy-Good job pointing out alternative portrayals. I guess it really wouldn't matter if they were the main characters or played more of a secondary role.
 

Fantasy Moon

kickbox
In regards to your original post, I think it is understandable that many would hate the defense attorney. For example, if he (or she) were defending a murderer or rapist, it would be hard to understand why any decent person will wish to represent such an unsavory member of society.

The stereotypes of defense lawyers is an interesting concept to consider though. I wish I had more examples to fall back on to support it.
 

Thursday

New Member
My first thought about this thread was the Jodi Picoult books. The defence attorney is generally defending the main character/s, so is often more likeable than in other books.

They very often challenge the stereotype as well - I'm thinking of Jamie (?) in The Pact, and the woman in Plain Truth. Or if they start out as a stereotype they tend to develop and change over the course of the book.
 

SFG75

Well-Known Member
I posted this topic as I just completed a wonderful murder mystery, One False Move by Alex Kava. The description of the attorney just makes you loathe the guy as he is dishonest, tries to procure a false witness to get someoen who is obviously guilty off the hook, not to mention that he is arrogant. I'm sure many lawyers who specialize in defense would object to this kind of categorization and point out that everyone is entitled to representation as the battle hymn of the republic plays in the background.;) I was also inspired in creating this one from Robert B. Parker's book Melancholy Baby, which also featured a less than noble defense attorney. I'm on more of a humorous work right now, but will have to get back into the mudery/mystery genre again to see if the portrayals stay pretty much the same in regards to overall disgust.;)
 

bleary

New Member
if you want a lovable defence attorney/barrister try john mortimers rumpole books, thoroughly delightful
 

funes

New Member
Well, if you look at the portrayal of probably the world's best known fictional defense attorney, Perry Mason, I don't think you'd find that level of vitriol. I mean, the worst he is accused of is bending the rules here and there. Maybe it's because, in defending his client, he inevitably ended up convicting the guilty party. But then, it may also be because Mason comes from the days when lawyering was still a respected and glamorous profession. If lawyers in modern crime fiction are dirt bags, I have a feeling it may be because so many of them are dirt bags in real life.
 
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