Date of Award
Director of Thesis
Dr. Deborah Billings
Aria Dal Molin
This project analyzes the stereotypical image of lawyers in popular culture, focusing on either overly demonic or unrealistically heroic. Both stereotypes that are common portrayals of attorneys in popular culture are unrealistic and deny society a true comprehension of the profession. Popular culture has molded the image of lawyers to the characteristics that sell, rather than focusing on a realistic portrayal. Therefore, popular culture creates a falsely dramatized image of attorneys to generate revenue, putting the reputation and future of the profession as risk. These stereotypes are exemplified in this project through a close literary analysis of lawyer characters from literature. In analyzing two characters from the novel The Devil’s Advocate (2021) by Steve Cavanaugh, I present how the stereotypes manifest themselves in context. This analysis connects the issue to the present-day by further emphasizing the perpetuation of false stereotypes of lawyers. This project also analyzes Atticus Finch, one of the most well-known attorneys in popular culture that does not reflect the stereotypes of lawyers, to contrast and highlight the success of relatable attorney figures and demonstrate the vast potential for the introduction to a similar, yet nuanced, lawyer character.
In my effort to solve the issue of unrealistic images of attorneys in popular culture, this project pitches a novel about an attorney who is portrayed in realistic terms. The novel depicts a story based on real-life events to exemplify the average life of an attorney and challenges the typical stereotypes under which lawyer characters often fall. The novel is significant because it will introduce a new way of placing and portraying lawyers in popular culture and bring about a role-model character, like Atticus Finch, to whom aspiring lawyers can look up and to whom current legal professionals can relate. The project presents four chapters of the proposed novel with prospects of further writing and publication in the future.
Thrush, Anna, "A New Atticus is Afoot: The Portrayal of Lawyers in Popular Culture" (2023). Senior Theses. 606.
American Literature Commons, American Popular Culture Commons, Civil Law Commons, Fiction Commons, Film and Media Studies Commons, Law and Society Commons, Legal Biography Commons, Modern Literature Commons, Other English Language and Literature Commons, Other Legal Studies Commons, Other Sociology Commons