Nov 15, 2010

Lawyers and "The Social Network"

The Social Network has been rightfully acclaimed as one of the best films of 2010.  What I want to focus on is the film's positive portrayal of lawyers.  In a film whose subtitle might have been "College Kids Go Wild," the film's lawyers are refreshing models of reason.

The Social Network depicts the dramatic events leading to the creation and development of Facebook.  Depositions in two civil damages lawsuits against Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's creator, are the backdrop for the story. During the depositions scenes, lawyers question and defend Zuckerberg and interact with each other. 

Amazingly for a Hollywood movie, the lawyers behave professionally and competently.  Certainly the lawyers reflect their clients' emotions and beliefs in the merits of their claims. But the lawyers don't scream or try to humiliate anyone.  At least one of Zuckerberg's lawyers also displays sincere concern for his personal well-being. If other movies take their cues from the success of The Social Network, perhaps movies will stop depicting lawyers as greedy and unethical pond scum.