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Ten Movies that Deal with Legal Situations

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Staying in? Check out the list of 10 movies that handle the law whether it's from environmental, family, or criminal, all these movies are a must watch!

Philadelphia

“Explain it to me like I’m a 6 year old!”

Synopsis: Denzel Washington plays a hot-shot personal injury lawyer, Joe Miller, which decides to take a case from Oscar-winner Tom Hanks as Andrew Beckett, who thinks he was wrongfully terminated by his law firm. Miller is very hesitant with taking the case due to Andrew’s personal preferences. What is Miller afraid of?

How does it pertain to law? Joe Miller starts off the movie as a personal injury lawyer until Andrew Beckett comes into his office with a controversial case. Andrew wants to sue his law firm that he originally worked for because he thinks that the firm fired him for an irrational reason.

Kramer vs. Kramer

“There's a lot of things I didn't understand, a lot of things I'd do different if I could. Just like I think there's a lot of things you wish you could change, but we can’t.”

Synopsis: A family gets split apart when a workaholic father, Ted Kramer, lacks to give his wife, Joanna Kramer played by Oscar-nominee Meryl-Streep, and their son, Billy, lack of attention. His wife decides to abandon the family. Ted is stuck with caring for their child despite his busy schedule with work.

How does it pertain to law? Ted and Joanna fight for their son in a family court when Joanna decides to file for divorce.

A Time to Kill

“We are on different sides of the line... I ain't never seen you in my part of town. I bet you don't even know where I live. Our daughters, Jake; they ain't never gonna play together.”

Synopsis: The story takes place in Clanton, Mississippi, where it starts off with the rape and attempted murder of Carl Lee Hailey’s 10 year old daughter. The two white men get acquitted from the case, so Carl decides to take matters into his own hands when he enters the courthouse. Carl Lee is charged for a capital offense and Jake Brigance decides to defend him. Jake’s patience gets tested when the KKK starts intimidating Jake and anyone else involved. The movie stars Matthew McConaughey as Jake Brigance, Samuel L. Jackson as the desperate father, and Sandra Bullock.

How does it pertain to law? Carl is charged with the killing of the two rapists and injuring Deputy Looney. Jake chooses to defend Carl despite the KKK’s threatening presence.

Class Action

“Lawyers never lie, we just tell the truth judicially to gurantee utter confusion.”

Synopsis: A leftist lawyer, Jedediah Ward, who absolutely distrusts major corporations and the wealthy is taking on a case against a major auto manufacturer, the same company his daughter Maggie represents. Maggie’s relationship with her father has never been on good terms ever since she found out a deep secret about her father, so things get a little more complicated for Jed when he finds out that his daughter is representing a company that he is suing.

How does it pertain to law? Both Maggie and Jedediah are strong lawyers that will oppose each other in the lawsuit. Jed represents multiple victims in the class action suit that have been injured from what they claim, their defective station wagons. Can Jed gain his daughter’s respect after the suit?  

A Civil Action

“I don’t run away from bullies.”

Synopsis: Based off a true story, Jon Travolta stars as a personal injury lawyer, Jan Schlichtmann, who takes on a case in Woburn, Massachusetts over environmental pollution. There has been an alarming number of children deaths in Woburn, Massachusetts and Jan discovers that a manufacturing company nearby could possibly be contaminating the local water. Jan files for a lawsuit against two major corporations, Beatrice Foods and W.R. Grace and Company.

How does it pertain to law? The Boston lawyer takes an environmental lawsuit against two corporations after having complaints from a local town of Woburn. Are the two major corporations responsible for the water contamination?

Gideon’s Trumpet

Synopsis: Based off of true events, Gideon’s Trumpet, follows the events that happen in Gideon v. Wainright. From the incident that occurred to the final precedent that was set, viewers will be able to see events that changed Clarence Earl Gideon’s life.

How does it pertain to law? Gideon is charged with a capital offense for allegedly breaking and entering a Floridian store. When in court, Gideon is denied an attorney, making Gideon file for a lawsuit in the U.S. Supreme Court. What rights of Gideon’s were violated?

Erin Brockovich

“For the first time in my life, I got people respecting me. Please, don't ask me to give it up.”

Synopsis: Julia Roberts stars in the real life story of Erin Brockovich, a struggling single mother who asks her personal injury lawyer for a job, which he gives her the duty of a law clerk. Erin is given an environmental direct-action lawsuit against Pacific Gas and Electric.

How does it pertain to law? Erin does major researching that can possibly help the firm win a lawsuit against the corporation. When she finds out that the facts of the case don’t match up, she decides to do her own research and sacrifices her well-being.

Rainmaker

“How do you know when a lawyer is lying? His lips are moving.”

Synopsis: Matt Damon plays Rudy Baylor in a drama movie that handles multiple cases after being an ambulance-chaser.

How does it pertain to law? Rudy Baylor is a young law graduate that joins Bruiser Stone for ambulance-chasing tactics. Rudy faces multiple cases, all which makes him change the perception he has of law.

Double Jeopardy

“Murder isn’t always a crime.”

Synopsis: A mother named Elizabeth Parsons gets convicted and charged for allegedly murdering her husband while on a boat. Elizabeth and her husband Nick were drinking and spending night in a yacht when suddenly Elizabeth wakes up with blood on her hands and a missing husband. While she is serving time in jail, she asks her friend Angela Green to watch her 4 year old son, but one day on the phone with Angela, Elizabeth hears her son say “Daddy!” and gives her suspicions that her husband is still alive.

How does it pertain to law? Once Elizabeth is suspicious that her husband may still be alive, she decides to take revenge by using the legal term, “Double Jeopardy.”

12 Angry Men

“We don't owe him a thing. He got a fair trial, didn't he? What do you think that trial cost? He's lucky he got it.”

Synopsis: A teen is charged for allegedly murdering his father.

How does it pertain to law? The movie revolves around and solely takes place in the jury room of 12 jurors that debate the evidence from the alleged murder. 

Joseph M. Ghabour
Auto, Bus, Pedestrian, Motorcycle accident, medical malpractice and worker's compensation attorney.
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