Why TV Loves the Law, and Vice Versa

Television writers love law. They’ve given us Law and Order, Law and Order: SVU, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, the short running Law and Order: Trial By Jury (which ran for 12 episodes, despite having the exact same plot and as the long running Law and Order shows), The PracticeBoston Legal, and everyone’s favorite real-to-life, totally true depiction of life at a big law firm, The Deep End. Further back there are other great courtroom procedurals that I can’t recount but Wikipedia can.

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Sam Waterston

All you budding law students out there will quickly find that while TV writers love the law, nothing can really match how much law professors love TV. My first Civil Procedure practice question tested my understanding of personal jurisdiction through a lawsuit between Lost’s Jack Shephard and Charles Widmore.  Jennifer Arlen, Norma Z. Paige Professor of Law, who teaches the corporations course, constructed our entire final exam around questions like whether Batman, the CEO of Wayne Enterprises, violated SEC Rule 10b-5, and required us to analyze James Tiberius Kirk and his hostile takeover of the USS Enterprise despite his de facto dominance over board members Spock and McCoy.

I think professors like to include pop culture and television to make exams and hypotheticals at least somewhat fun. It’s also a good way to make sure students don’t nod off after pulling all-nighters during exams.

This semester, I’m just excited to see the fraudulent conveyance action brought against The Simpsons’ Lenny Leonard by his creditor Carl Carlson, or finally get to play out, at least on my Criminal Procedure final, Dr. House’s Section 1983 lawsuit against Detective Tritter.

1 thought on “Why TV Loves the Law, and Vice Versa

  1. So has law school helped you to enjoy these shows more or are they less entertaining because you can spot the things that aren’t accurate?

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