Top 10 Summer Books and Movies for Legal Professionals

Taking vacation time away from law school studies or legal career responsibilities is good for you. However, some law students and legal professionals find themselves missing the action. Fortunately, there is no shortage of law-related entertainment to keep you occupied you while you’re away from your desk.

We’ve compiled a list of the top ten books and movies we think those in the legal field will enjoy.

  1. A Time to Kill, by John Grisham

    This 1989 novel is the well-known author’s first published work. A Time to Kill is a suspense thriller that became a film in 1996. Samuel L. Jackson stars as the defendant in a racially-charged murder trial, represented by small-town solo attorney Jake Brigance (played by Matthew McConaughey). This story keeps you on the edge of your seat until you’ve turned the last page (or until the credits roll).

  2. The Paper Chase, by John Jay Osborn, Jr.

    This 1971 novel was written by a Harvard Law School graduate. The story focuses on a first-year law student seeking approval of his Contracts instructor, only to find out he’s dating the professor’s daughter. The 1973 movie starred Timothy Bottoms, John Houseman and Lindsay Wagner.

  3. My Cousin Vinny

    This 1992 light-hearted comedy stars Joe Pesci, Ralph Macchio and Marisa Tomei. It tells the tale of a personal injury attorney who has never won a case, defending his cousin who has been charged with murder.

  4. Amistad

    This 1997 film, directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Morgan Freeman, Anthony Hopkins and Matthew McConaughey portrays the historic events of the 1839 slave ship of the same name. As former president John Quincy Adams, Hopkins argued the case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

  5. Philadelphia

    This 1993 film stars Denzel Washington and Tom Hanks. Washington is the only attorney that is willing to take Hanks’ case. He was fired shortly after a colleague reveals he is HIV-positive. Was it wrongful discrimination?

  6. Kramer vs. Kramer, by Avery Corman

    This 1977 drama about a divorcing couple made its way to the big screen in 1979. Starring Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep, this film shows the unfortunate toll family litigation can take on everyone involved in a case.

  7. Innocent, by Scott Turow

    The sequel to Turow’s 1987 hit “Presumed Innocent” hit the big screen in 2011. Both the book and the movie provide a gripping tale of a well-known judge accused of murdering his wife.

  8. Erin Brokovich

    This 2000 movie stars Julia Roberts in the title role and is based on true events. The film portrays the then-paralegal’s discovery of an energy company’s illegal dumping of toxic chemicals, which led to a major class-action lawsuit.

  9. A Few Good Men

    This 1992 box office thriller starring Jack Nicholson, Tom Cruise, Demi Moore and Kevin Bacon became an instant hit. Cruise is the reluctant litigator in a case involving the death of a young marine at Guantanamo Bay. The movie offers plenty of drama – in and out of the courtroom.

  10. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

    No list of law-related books or movies would be complete without this classic. Small-town attorney Atticus Finch faces an uphill battle defending his client – a disabled black man falsely charged with raping a white woman in racially-charged Alabama in the 1930s.

If you’re ready to explore new legal career opportunities when you return from vacation, or for help meeting your firm’s hiring needs, contact Special Counsel.

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