Watch two (2) of the following movies and write a 4-5 page paper analyzing, comparing, and contrasting the two films.
Your paper may be single-, 1.5, or double-spaced, should include page numbers, and a references/bibliography list at the end of your paper on a separate page (does not count toward total page-count); be certain to include citations to the movies you watched, any websites you looked to, and sources of law (i.e., state or model professional rules of conduct, case law, statutes, etc.), as well as to utilize appropriate legal citation format.
Identify and discuss at least 3-5 ethical issues in each movie. Be sure to note not only violations of lawyer (and/or non-lawyer) ethical duties (i.e., confidentiality, solicitation, evidence tampering, candor, competence, reasonable fees, etc.), but also examples of lawyers (and/or non-lawyers) upholding the ideals of legal ethics (i.e., diligence, zealous representation, etc.). For each duty noticed, mention in the body of your paper the appropriate rule of professional conduct, whether being practiced or violated, as well as cite separately in your references section. Illustrate “how” the rule applies to each factual instance.
You may look to either or both Virginia’s or the ABA’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct for support.
Also, write about the following:
- For each issue spotted, what did you think of the scenario? How would you have handled things differently? Or would you have?
- If you had previously seen a movie, did you look at it through a new lens or notice different aspects of it, due to what you have learned thus far in this class? If so, what?
- Was one movie better at depicting the ethical considerations surrounding lawyers and nonlawyers than the other? How so?
- What do you think about looking to movies for learning about legal ethics? Is this a valid exercise, relying on the entertainment industry for examples of the proper and improper practice of law? Or, are there better methods of examining illustrations of ethical dilemmas in the legal field?
- Erin Brokovich
- A Civil Action
- Runaway Jury
- My Cousin Vinny
- The Lincoln Lawyer
- Primal Fear
- Anatomy of a Murder
- Dark Waters
- Devil’s Advocate
- The Rainmaker
- The Client
- The Firm
- The Verdict
- The Dark Knight
- Legally Blonde
- Michael Clayton