Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Top ten worst movie lawyers

Here's a list of the top ten worst movie lawyers in history....

Top ten

Ten of the Lousiest Lawyers in the History of Hollywood

10. Vincent Gambini (played by Joe Pesci) in "My Cousin Vinny." Failed the
bar exam multiple times. Gave the shortest and most hilarious opening
statement in the history of law. So bad he was good.

9. Ken Bowden (Bill Murray) in "Wild Things." Had a sign on his office,
"As seen on TV." Wore a cervical collar whenever anyone was looking.
Another one who was so bad he was good. (But the only reason he won his
case was that the prosecution witnesses were in cahoots with the defendant
-- which we didn't learn until later in the movie in a truly memorable scene
in a motel room).

8. Willy Gingrich (Walter Matthau) in "The Fortune Cookie." The king of
so-bad-he-was-good. Like Murray's Ken Bowden, except he dressed better.
Matthau's Oscar-winning breakout role.

7. Mr. Gilmer (William Windom) in "To Kill a Mockingbird." Smirking,
leering, gum-cracking, cocksure prosecutor of the innocent Tom Robinson in
the Depression-era South. Any fool can win a case in front of a stacked

6. Teddy Barnes (Glenn Close) in "The Jagged Edge." A dumb lawyer hat
trick: 1) agrees to defend client only if she first convinces her that he's
innocent, 2) sleeps with client, and 3) finds out client really is guilty so
she has to kill him.

5. Nico Della Guardia (Tom Mardirosian) in "Presumed Innocent." Another
arrogant prosecutor whom the judge consistently addresses as "Mr. De-lay

4. Jay Porter (Jeffrey Tambor) in "...And Justice for All." The goofiest
lawyer among a movie filled with goofy lawyers. The last scene says it all:
he's walking up the courthouse steps and tips his toupee to Al Pacino coming

3. Warren Fresnell (Larry Bryggman) in "...And Justice for All."
Incompetent partner of Arthur Kirkland (Al Pacino) who blows off
preparations for a sentencing hearing for one of Kirkland's clients, with
tragic results.

2. Arthur Kirkland (Al Pacino) in "...And Justice for All." Supposedly
hotshot criminal defense lawyer doesn't like his unsavory client (slimey
judge accused of rape, played by John Forsythe), so he sells him out at
trial. As bad as Vincent Gambini's opening statement was (see #10 above),
at least he didn't announce to the jury that his client was guilty.

And my nomination for the lousiest lawyer in Hollywood history:

1. Ned Racine (William Hurt) in "Body Heat." An infamously incompetent
bottom feeder whose renowned lack of legal skill causes him to be selected
as the fall guy for a murder.

-Tom Becker
State Public Defender, State of Iowa


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