Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Lots of interesting chatter in the comments section from the previous post.

Sitting home tonight and watching the Verdict.

Query: What's the best legal movie?

Certain lawyers with an affinity for blogging about federal court will tell you that it is A Few Good Men. But for our money, it's Paul Newman in The Verdict. Rocky for trial lawyers. Our favourite part is not the courtroom scenes, as good as they are, but the scene where the Archbishop offers Newman $210,000.00. Newman asks how he arrived at the sum and the archbishop says he thinks it's a fair offer. Then Newman says that he is struck by how well the offer is divisible by three and the Archbishop responds that was the idea of their insurance company. Newman turns the offer down.
The scene where Newman yells at the Judge and calls him a "bagman for the boys downtown" also makes us smile for some unknown reason.

Can't beat Miles O'Shea as the Judge either.

Enjoy your turkey and the holiday.



George Frobisher said...

A Few Good Men is a poor man's Breaker Morant, but we still watch it whenever it comes on TBS. best legal movie is Anatomy of a Murder.

Anonymous said...

Are you kidding me?


Rumpole said...

Yeah MCV has its place. But its more blatantly character driven than a true legal story.

There are some classic lines in both movies. In The Verdict when Newman turns down the 210K his law professor who sent him the case is incredulous Newman turned down the money and and Newman says "I can win the case". And Jack Warden says "you won. When they give you the money, you've won." Love it.

real fake former judge said...

In "Rochelle Rochelle, a young girl's strange erotic journey from Milan to Misnk" there is a great legal scene when Rochelle Rochelle is arrested in Milan (and a great jail shower scene too). Does that qualify?

Grit Eater said...

Vinny Gambini: So, Mr. Tipton, how could it take you 5 minutes to cook your grits when it takes the entire grit eating world 20 minutes?

Mr. Tipton: I don't know, I'm a fast cook I guess.


I am the REAL FORMER JUDGE and I hereby apply to the Honorable Uncle Milty to sign a cease and desist order against the Real Fake Former Judge. His movie reviews are a discredit to my cinema selection credibility....

old guy said...

The first meetings between Jimmy Stewart and Ben Gazarra in ANATOMY OF A MURDER are a clinic in how to develop a theory of defense.

However, it is hard to surpass the Fielding Mellish self cross-exam in BANANAS.

Chief Justice Milton Hirsch said...

The motion by the Real Former Judge is before the court. For the reasons stated herein, the motion is summarily denied.

1) The motion does not contain at least 11 latin terms. See, Hirsch Practice Order, eleventh amendment, page 113, para 2.

2) The motion does not cite to case law from the Hague. Id, para 5.

3) The Motion was not faxed and emailed to Ms. Moneypenny, my assistant. Hirsch Scheduling order, p65.

4) The motion contains cites not in FULL compliance with the International System of Legal Citation. See, Hirsch on Cites, 44th ed., pp 212-45.(2011).

5) The motion seeks this court to enjoin an action by another. There are 1148 unpublished opinions from the Canadian Royal Courts since 2010 that are on point and may be instructive to this court that were not referenced. See, Hirsch amended order on motions, fall amend. 2011, p. 198.

For the foregoing reasons, the motion is summarily denied.

Done and ordered in chambers on this the 23 day of November, 2011, year of our lord.

The Most Right And Honorable Chief Justice Milton Hirsch.

The Devil's Advocate said...

1987 - Cher, Dennis Quaid, Liam Neeson in Suspect
Cher is the dedicated and overworked Assistant Public Defender, Neeson is her truly innocent client who cannot speak, and Quaid the handsome juror who launches his own investigation and "cracks" the case

But the BEST of all time is MY COUSIN VINNY

Deese YOOUTS ?? What's a YOOT ??

Anonymous said...

The Devil's Advocate! Love me some Keanu!

Anonymous said...

great legal movie is true believer with james woods and robert downey.

best depiction of cops, asa's and law enforcement system as a whole is without a doubt, "the wire".

Master Chief said...

How about most overrated?

If I hear about To Kill A Mockingbird and Atticus Finch one more time I'll vomit.

And why does he let that brat call him by his first name?

Anonymous said...

Two movies: Anatomy of a Murder and And Justice For All, which have as their main characters those two great American archetypes--the country lawyer (Jimmy Stewart) and the city lawyer (Al Pacino). Both of these talented actors (and Jimmy Stewart was a bona fide war hero to top it off) would have made superb trial lawyers. The climactic "opening statement" scene in And Justice For All (extemporized by Pacino and shot in one take) to me is one of the great movie scenes of all time.

Rumpole said...

To Kill A Mockingbird is really in a class by itself. I could argue it is the greatest American Novel even written, and anyone who wants to start that discussion over the holiday weekend, lets go!

Again, it's not so much a legal movie as it is a social movie and the courtroom scenes are vehicles for the larger message of the author. Certainly there is a generation of lawyers who say Atticus Finch is their hero and probably an unfortunate generation of children of those lawyers named Atticus.

Just like you can say Rocky is the greatest boxing movie, The Verdict is Rocky in a courtroom.

Kenny W said...

For those of you who have been flooding my blog with questions today, here is the approved dress code for visiting on T-day.

For visiting families- the standard sofla uniform of shorts and a t-shirt works. You can jazz it up with some Zegna white cotton shorts and a black or blue Cucinelli T-shirt, The whole ensemble can be thrown together for less than two bills, or a night a Joes.

For Visiting Friends, or gf/bf families: If you need to be a bit less casual I suggest a nice pair of chinos with perhaps the Cucinelli shirt and a blue blazer.

For the young gal visiting the parents of her significant other who asked yesterday, I like the ankle length skirt with perhaps a classic Anne Klein Blazer and the simple single strand of pearls always works for these occasions.

Remember- how you look is much more important than how you really are.

Angry Gurl said...

Hold your horses, fatsos. Dinner's coming. I will not be partaking in this gluttony. I will eat a sensible meal like a self-respecting person. But since you guys are probably dicking around on the internet (god forbid you grab a morning run), I might as well vent.

Rumpole - this blog needs to address the importance of proper manners on an elevator. Specifically the REGJB elevators.

Now, I haven't been on the elevator there in years. I always take the stairs, or sometimes the escalator if I am in trial and am wheeling my files.

But last week, the morning after my training kicked my butt with squats and lunges, my legs were jelly and I had to ride the elevator.

A few observations...

Absent injury, handicap, or extreme old age, no human being alive should take an elevator up or down one floor. I know we are a nation of disgusting fatbodies but no person should make hoards of people wait and hold up the flow of traffic to save themselves the trouble of walking fifteen stairs.

We have escalators. If you are out of shape and simply need to stand and be lifted to your destination, so be it. But remember that our escalators go from the 1st floor to the 6th. Why people need to take the elevator to any floor between 2-6 is beyond me. Even ASAs lugging carts take the escalators.

Speak up when your floor arrives. Nothing pisses me off more than someone saying, "excuse me" at a barely audible meek little whisper. Speak with some damn conviction. No wonder you are a pro se loser with a bench warrant and a fat ass. You have no confidence. Believe in yourself and speak up.

That is all for now. Just remember that when you sit down tonight and gorge yourself with ladels of artery-clogging gravy, you're celebrating massacre, disease, and forced baptism.

See ya...certainly, under no circumstances, would I want to be ya...

Unknown said...

Devil's Advocate begins at
73 West Flagler. The Bathroom scene is the old 2nd floor Bathrooms ( for 'colored' in the orginal plans).

Always felt Paul Newman's character was ethicly wrong not to tell his clients about the $210K settlement offer.

There is a late 50s or early 60s western about a black Cavalary Sgt raping a white women , w/ captain Pike playing the Defense.

Stand up your Fathers passing


Anonymous said...

What about “Body Heat?” The movie came out while I was in law school, and, let’s just say, I could never forget the rule against perpetuities.

Rumpole said...

DS all the times I've seen the verdict I never caught one big flaw until last night. The story was written by a courtroom hack like us and I guess he got caught in this problem and just flubbed through it. But rememeber that the sister was the person getting the money. At one point they throw in a line that the woman in a coma's husband took her kids and left. In the real world they are the next o kin and get the money.
And yes, not telling them about the offer was wrong. But it all relates to my favourite scene where Newman tells the Archbishop he came to take his money. Bite turns it down

Robert Kuntz said...

"Anatomy of a Murder" is very high on my list.

Jimmy Stewart is the epitome of the smart small town lawyer. Eve Arden is the wisecracking secretary. George C. Scott (in his movie debut?) is the oily prosecutor.

The Judge is played by Joseph Welch, who was an attorney for the Army in McCarthy hearings ("Have you no sense of decency sir?!). Duke Ellington did the score (and has a cameo). Otto Preminger directed.

And no one has ever been able to wear a pair of slacks as well as Lee Remick.

Happy Thanksgiving, Rumpole.

Anonymous said...

JAGGED EDGE is one of my favorites.
It's a strong female lead; the criminal lawyer now at a civil firm being dragged back to her old stomping grounds; a FANTASTIC crotchety old investigator that knows how to find what others can't and can see through the client's BS; and my favorite opening statement by a defense attorney of all time (short sweet and to the point).

Anonymous said...

Primal Fear with Richard Gere. Check and Mate!

D.S. said...

It Isnt a movie but the BBC series Rumpole of the Old Bailey was wonderfully sardonic.

Master Chief said...

Best Movie opening statement ever:

"Everything they just said is bullshit."

I have promised myself that at least once in my career I will use it.

Anonymous said...


I agree with your post and would add that a coffee fart is uncalled for also.

Fake Mario Puzo said...

Fake Alschuler: Rump, do you know how they're going to come at you?

Rumpole: Yes. David Marcus and the Civil Blog guy have asked to have a meeting so we can merge our blogs. Real Fake Blecher is arranging security. It will be done on his territory to make me feel safe.

Fake Alschuler: RFB? I always thought it would be fake blecher or Fake Shumie.

Rumpole. No. It's the right move. Real Fake Blecher was always smarter. But I' goona wait. Wait until after the investiture and then make my move, Once the Investiture is over I will settle all blog business.

Anonymous said...

@11:39--I will eat a sensible meal like a self-respecting person.

What are you saying AG-- those of us who will be over eating tonight don't respect ourselves?

Angry Gurl said...

Rumpole will please confirm for his readers that I did not write the AG comment. When I prepare a comment I send Rumpole the same comment from a private email address to confirm it is from me. No, the email address does not reveal my identity. But since I know my comments are popular and well read, I was well prepared for the frauds and no talent pea brains who read this blog.

Angry Gurl said...

Although I will say the comments are a passable imitation of me, but a bit crude, and I do not take the stairs.

Rumpole said...

Yes I will confirm that our sweet AG does have a private email address from which I have been the recipient of some invective. And yes I will confirm that the first comment today from the purported AG at 11:39 was not followed by an email from her address. Make of that what you will. My turkey awaits.

Anonymous said...

Angry Gurl is one of the reasons I regularly read the blog.

I don't know if she is really a girl, and don't care.

As far as the fake AG goes, the elevator rant was right on.

Anonymous said...

The 6:01 thing on Judge Hirsch was well done, witty, and not disrespectful. Say what you want, but taht man is scary smart and a refreshing difference anywhere he goes.
He sure baets the likes of Judge Stacy Glick who disserves the reputation of her father, who was tough and conservative, but not a cop in judge's clothing. She is dumb, arrogant, vicious, and unfair.
I will take Judge Hirsch any day of the week over the likes of her.

Anonymous said...

Cain mutiny , witness for the prosecution, inherit the wind, knock on any door.

Anonymous said...

What about the classic law school movie "The Paper Chase"?

"Here is a dime Mr. Hart. Please call your mother and tell her you won't be making it through law school."

Anonymous said...

"Mrs. Doubtfire".

Anonymous said...

ANGRY GURL SAYS I am thankful for my thanksgiving feast of tofu, alfalfa,water and apple slices and hope all you couch potatoes enjoyed 3 football games when most lawyers never played even high school sports, as you know I have won awards as a triathlete. For those of you who find exercise abhorent the best legal movies of all time, in no particular order are: Twelve Angry Men, The Verdict, A Few Good Men, Primal Fear, Nuts, To Kill a Mockingbird, My Cousin Vinny, A Time to Kill, Runaway Jury,Legally Blonde, A Civil Action, The Firm, Philadelphia Lawyer, and Erin Brockovich. Honorable Mention: Animal House.

George Frobisher said...

I agree My Cousin Vinny has the best opening statement. For best closing, we have to look no further than Kevin Costner as Jim Garrison in 'JFk'.

"The truth is the most important value we have because if the truth does not endure, if the Government murders truth, ifyou cannot respect the hearts of these people...(shaking the letters)...then this is no longer the country in which we were born in and this is not the country I want to die in...And this was never more true than for John F. Kennedy whose murder was probably the most terrible moment in the history of our country. You the people, you the jury system, in sitting in judgment on Clay Shaw, represent the hope of humanity against Government power."

Many are too quick to criticize Stone for his misuse of the factual record, but as Roger Ebert points out in his essay on the film, "``JFK'' will stand indefinitely as a record of how we felt. How the American people suspect there was more to it than was ever revealed. How we suspect Oswald did not act entirely alone. That there was some kind of a conspiracy. "JFK'' is a brilliant reflection of our unease and paranoia, our restless dissatisfaction. On that level, it is completely factual."

Costner's summation is really Stone's summation.

Best non-fiction legal film about JFK: On Trial: Lee Harvey Oswald. This 80's era t.v. series filmed by a british company and shown in America on Showtime, depicts the consummate prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi (who at the time of filming was actually a practicing criminal defense lawyer) prosecuting Lee Oswald and Gerry Spence, who needs no introduction, for the defense. Two masters at the top of their game.

Best Legal Documentary film: Errol Morris's, "The Thin Blue Line". First runner up: "Murder on a Sunday Morning."

Anonymous said...

Old fart lawyer who applied for job zenobi got, best nose/ear hair clippers are at Brookstone.

Anonymous said...

Rumpole, is this what your Blog had devolved into? Nose hair?

Perhaps a contest for ugliest lawyer, or fattest ass [gender neutral, of course].

Rumpole said...

The blog goes where the readers take it.

Anonymous said...

And how about MADAM X with Lana Turner, John Forsyth, and Ricardo Momtalban. The lawyer who defended her at the trial was her son - unbeknownst to him.

Secret Judge said...

Best ass (females only) might not be such a bad idea. Screw all you politically correct scared to go to trial wimps. Merry Christmas to all.

Anonymous said...

best ass was a brazilian pd many years ago. Christine ????

Anonymous said...

Night Falls on Manhattan.
Interesting how the politics and self interest effects a big case. Very interesting morality play.

gb said...

TWELVE ANGRY MEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!