It’s always fun to see lawyers portrayed on television. Some, like Law & Order’s Jack McCoy or Matlock’s Ben Matlock illustrate the most virtuous aspects of the justice system. Others, like Arrested Development’s Barry Zuckercorn or Lionel Hutz from The Simpsons essentially wrap up decades of lawyer jokes into one succinct character. To help separate the wheat from the chaff, legal tabloid blog Above the Law has developed a bracket of their readers’ favorite fictional lawyers. And here’s round two.
In the past year, we’ve written a bunch about television lawyers, through our list of Seinfeld lawsuits, list of lawsuits in The Simpsons, our list of good, bad, & criminal lawyers, the most unlikely courtroom dramas, and the most hilarious and unlikely courtroom comedies. These have included about half of the candidates on the ABL bracket, so I’m going to take a crack at predicting their winners in all four categories.
Long-Running Lawyers Region
Jack McCoy v. Alan Shore
Jack McCoy, of Law & Order fame, is the clear winner here. He’s got the triple whammy: his show was on TV forever, people loved it, and he was awesome in it. The character, played by Sam Waterston, also has the superlative of appearing in the most consecutive television episodes of any fictional character, 333. He’s truly the example for great modern TV attorneys.
That’s not to say that he has no competition. In fact, the 2/7 seeds are both formidable opponents. Clair Huxtable could have been the dark horse challenger, since the powerful wife of Bill Cosby was a partner at her law firm, a great mother, and was shown skillfully representing her daughter against dishonest car repairs. But Huxtable has the misfortune of being matched up in the first round against the great Alan Shore of Boston Legal, played by James Spader. He’ll take that round and likely go on to lose to Jack McCoy in the quarter finals.
Comical Performances Region
Lionel Hutz v. Jackie Chiles
This region is a bit more tricky. Number one seed Lionel Hutz from The Simpsons could take it, since his level of ineptitude is simply unparalleled in TV history, and he was voiced by the hilarious Phil Hartman. And despite his lack of solid legal knowledge, Hutz was able to scrape by with a few wins. He even famously represented Homer against an all-you-can-eat buffet by calling it “the most blatant case of false advertising since The Neverending Story.” Check out our list of Simpsons lawsuits litigated by Lionel Hutz.
But I think we’ll see a surprising upset in this category, courtesy of Seinfeld’s Jackie Chiles, the number 3 seed. Though Seinfeld wasn’t on the air as long as The Simpsons, it still logged nine full seasons; Chiles probably appeared as many times as Hutz, and is just as remembered. Actor Phil Morris also reprised the role last fall for Funny Or Die. For these reasons, I think he’s likely to overtake Lionel Hutz in the quarter finals to face Jack McCoy in the semis.
Elle Woods v. Barry Zuckercorn
This is a tough call, but I think number two seed Elle Woods from Legally Blonde is the heavyweight here. Though not nearly as prolific as number one seed Ben Matlock, Woods was in two very successful, and recent, films and even turned in to a pretty fantastic lawyer thanks to her ability to improvise. Her fans are likely to be much more vocal than Matlock’s.
That’s not to say that she is without competition. In fact, dual entry Barry Zuckercorn and Bob Loblaw of cult hit Arrested Development could surge ahead from the six seed. Arrested Development is an incredibly popular show that’s soon to be a movie, and its fans could come out strong in their favor. Though at the end of the day, I don’t think the combo is a match for Elle Woods, who should soar through to the semi finals.
Vinny Gambini v. Patty Hewes
To me, this is the most difficult region to predict. Though some of the contenders are incredibly memorable, none have reached the cultural recognition of McCoy, Hutz/Chiles, or Woods. That said, Vinny Gambini of My Cousin Vinny deserves his number one seed just by virtue of wearing a purple valour suit to court. Joe Pesci was hilarious in the role, and will probably win the region.
But my two favorites of the whole list face off in the same region in the first round: Damages’ Patty Hewes (seed two), and Saul Goodman from Breaking Bad (seed seven). Both actors, Glenn Close and Bob Odenkirk, do an outstanding job portraying these attorneys with, well, questionable ethics. In fact, they were both included in our prestigious list of most criminal lawyers. But at the end of the day, neither will prove strong enough to conquer Vinny. Unless, of course, they call in a few favors.
So to sum up, here’s what I think we’ll see in the semi finals (winner in bold):
- Jack McCoy v. Jackie Chiles.
- Elle Woods v. Vinny Gambini
And in the end, I think we’ll see a final victory for longtime Law & Order attorney Jack McCoy.
Okay enough about me. Who do you think will win?