Lawyers in Literature

4 April 2015
Positive & negative portrayals of lawyers’ ethical images in fiction & non-fiction, from servant of society to amoral anti-hero.

This research paper outlines and discusses the ethical images of lawyers, as they are portrayed in fiction and in non-fiction, including legal writings. For centuries in Western literature-in novels, short stories and plays, lawyers have been cast in a negative light, as corrupt, untrustworthy and shifty, which reflected popular perceptions of the workings of the law. American literature through the Depression continued and elaborated upon this theme. Then, for a relatively brief period in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, lawyers were seen in fiction in a more positive light, a period which corresponded with the growth of a widespread and more equitably shared prosperity in the United States and a rethinking by many lawyers of their role in society. In the 1980s and 1990s, a new moral image of the lawyer…
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