Tuesday, September 5, 2006

TV shows about lawyers

Boston Legal and Just Legal are both TV show about lawyers, but they show such different views of the legal system. In Boston Legal, everyone is rich and powerful. They get what they want regardless of what's legal, because as lawyers, they know how to win.

In Just Legal, the clients are often poor people from shady backgrounds. And the legal system is a huge bureacracy, so it is often hard to get things done right. The innocent may get convicted. The guilty may go free. The police and prosecutors may not thoroughly investigate. The defense lawyers may make deals with the prosecutors which are in the best interest of the defense lawyers but not in the best interest of the client.

These two shows represent the top and the bottom of the legal profession. They seem completely different, and yet some things are the same. In both, corruption exists in the legal system, and in both, there are people with strong ideals of justice.

You could say that it's like that in any sector of life, that there will be some good and some bad. That may be true, but I don't think it's all equally distributed. There are some places where most people are smart people trying to do the right thing, and other places where most people are lazy, dishonest scoundrels. Each institution or department or office or school or whatever has a certain culture, and people who don't fit that culture tend not to remain. The problem is how to find the pockets of people who share my values, or how to grow those pockets larger in whatever place I'm in.

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