TV Lawyers Vs. Real Life Lawyers - Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal
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TV Lawyers Vs. Real Life Lawyers

TV Lawyers Vs. Real Life Lawyers

Guest Post by AXS Law


If you’re on winter break for the holidays, that probably means you’re binge watching Netflix at least once. And if you’re a fan of all of the popular “legal shows” like Suits, the Good Wife, Boston Legal and Law & Order, you’ve probably got an image of what lawyers are like in your head based off of what Hollywood portrays. The truth is, there’s a lot of differences between TV lawyers and real life lawyers, you might even find that real life lawyers are pretty personable. Below are some of the differences between fiction and reality.

The Wardrobe

Why does every lawyer on TV look so posh? Well… because it’s TV. While of course there are lawyers out there in the real world that dress nice, not every lawyer wears a designer suit all day every day.


The Pay

You always see every lawyer on TV driving a nice sports car, returning home to their gigantic mansion and eating at extravagant restaurants. In reality, unless you’re some big-shot lawyer, attorney legal services aren’t as expensive as you’d think. Finding reasonably priced attorneys are actually pretty common.

Not Everything a Lawyer Does Takes Place in Court sums this one up perfectly:

This is probably another one of those things that ruin peoples’ perceptions of lawyers. No, not every case ends up in a court, or even a tribunal (which isn’t quite as formal as court). The reason for this is quite simple: the legal system exists to resolve disputes. This means that if the opportunity to resolve a dispute exists outside of court, then the parties will be encouraged to seek out that process first before coming to actual court.

This isn’t one of those things you can just shrug off as one of TV’s quirks. This has some serious implications on how we view the legal system. People often seek lawyers out as a way to “have their day in court”, but lawyers understand the legal system differently, and this can lead to different expectations between a lawyer and their client. A client might get upset or frustrated that their lawyer hasn’t gone to court yet for them, while the lawyer is working diligently behind the scenes to resolve this dispute in the most effective way possible, and to resolve it in a way that is most favorable to their client.

So, if you’re watching any of these shows, try to find the scenes where the lawyer isn’t in court to see how they try to resolve their case. And if you’re ever in the position where you need to hire a lawyer, ask them about what they’ll be doing outside of court to resolve your legal matter!”


While the lawyers we see on TV might be entertaining to watch, lawyers have had a tainted reputation thanks to these action-packed shows. Finding real, relatable, honest lawyers aren’t too hard to find -like the ladies and gentleman at AXS Law.


About AXS Law

AXS Law is a full-service boutique law firm dedicated to providing practical and comprehensive solutions to complex matters. Although most of our lawyers gestated in the womb of Big Law, we formed AXS Law with a view to disrupting the traditional law model to better address the needs of the modern business law consumer.  We do this first and foremost by bringing our own expertise as entrepreneurs.  Our attorneys are encouraged to pursue entrepreneurship and this, in turn, gives us the perspective and “guts” to help our clients navigate, not avoid, risk. We are also sensitive to our clients’ concerns regarding the escalation of legal fees and therefore embrace alternative billing strategies including flat fees, contingency fees, and equity-based compensation. And, unlike most law firms, we have personality.  We are not tethered to our chairs and desks; we are out there continually forging new and strengthening existing relationships in the business and wider community.  You will enjoy working with us!

For more information about AXS Law visit:

Anthony Zangrillo

Anthony Zangrillo is a third year student at Fordham University School of Law and the Online Editor of the Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal. He will be joining the Capital Markets group at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP after graduation. While an undergraduate student at NYU, he founded the Motion Picture Club. ( You can find him on Twitter at @FordhamIPLJ.