The Law Firm (now that everyone's watched it)

By Jason Wojciechowski on July 29, 2005 at 9:31 PM

Don't read this post if you've TIVO'd The Law Firm and haven't watched it yet, for spoilers abound.

So Roy Black's dismissal last night of Kelly looked totally justified. She looked completely lost in something as simple as an opening statement and, whether the judge was being difficult or not (she wasn't, she just wanted Kelly to do what she told her to do), as Black pointed out, you have to get the job done, and she didn't. It's to Michael's credit, by the way, that he didn't out-and-out stab her in the back when Black asked him how she'd done on the case; his response was just as "lukewarm" as Black stated it was, but that's in shart contrast to the assassination that was going on at the other side of the table.

I eagerly await Yin's sure-to-be-forthcoming post about the episode.

Speaking of the other side of the table, Jason's dismissal disturbed me in more ways than one. Sure, he has my name, and I always want to see people named Jason succeed, but more importantly, it really seems like he got fired for a mistake that everyone tried to make a big deal out of but was really just a slip, the type of mistake that everyone (even the "legendary Roy Black," I'd wager) makes at some point in their life.

Who should have been removed instead? The way the show was cut, it was hard to see the performances of anybody who wasn't eventually involved in the dressing-down ceremony at the end. That said, what did Anika do for her team? During every argument between Olivier and Regina, she just seemed to sit there, staring blankly, waiting for it to end. The personal disagreements probably affected their case, so didn't Black have the best case for firing one of those three? I think he wanted to make an example the first week by firing attorneys from the winning teams, to make perfectly clear his point that nobody is safe, even if your side wins.

Speaking of dressing-down, what was up with Black's lambasting of Chris (easily my favorite on the show so far), who, at least according to the way the episode was cut, probably did the best job of any of the twelve players? Black's claim was that if he wanted a researcher who would sit behind the scenes, he would have hired a researcher, but he wanted a great trial lawyer. My question: if he doesn't want them to quietly and competently go about researching their cases, then why doesn't he hire researchers to work under the lawyers? Brash and loud obviously don't always get the job done, as Olivier showed, so a little more respect for the behind-the-scenes worker, please?

By the way, the bios on the official web site give insight into why Olivier acts the way he does: perusing the US News and World Reports law school rankings for 2006, he went to, by far, the highest-rated school of any of the associates (George Washington), so maybe you can see some arrogance coming of that. Plus, he's easily the best dressed guy on camera (that includes Roy Black in his awful pinstriped power suit that he doesn't have the body type to pull off).

UPDATE: The reviews are pouring in, including Yin's and, (via Yin), Eric Goldman's. Goldman brought up the point that most disturbed me about the show, but that I forgot to mention above: the three-legged dog. The plaintiff's lawyers in the dog case decided to bring the dog to court, in a transparent attempt at garnering sympathy from the judge. The defense argued that this was ridiculous and the judge agreed, saying that if this were not a TV show, he would have declared a mistrial and sanctioned those lawyers. Roy Black, on the other hand, showing his true (despicable) stripes, lambasted the defense for not being ready for the dog, saying that things like bringing the dog in are what good lawyers do. As Goldman says, "Ethical qualm? Not in Roy Black's world! Like any good plaintiff's lawyer, he wants the team to push the ethical limits, and sympathy-inducing stunts appear to be both fair game and perhaps required."

In addition, of course, the argument that the defense wasn't ready for the dog, while it may be true, isn't really applicable because the defense did argue effectively against the dog and won that argument. The only reason the case was not dismissed was because this is a TV show. Black willfully ignored that detail, because it didn't fit his overall theme, and, at least to me (and Goldman), doesn't come off well for it.