Legal Films that Provide Lessons for Law Students
Southern California & Silicon Valley resident Shaian Mohammadi is planning to launch a nonprofit to help immigrant communities and women who historically have been underserved, after being inspired by his work in the community. In addition to this work, Shaian Mohammadi currently works as a Paralegal with a immigration law firm in Southern California that provides domestic violence resources, and was also a part of the community law clinic at his alma mater the California Western School of Law (CWSL).
A recent article on the California Western School of Law website discusses the depiction of legal proceedings in cinema. The author highlights Matthew McConaughey’s opening statement in A Time to Kill (1996) as a powerful example of how lawyers have the potential to captivate the jury and judge. As lead attorney, McConaughey prepares the court to hear the details of a grisly crime perpetrated on a child, and delivers a speech cited as one of the most powerful openings in courtroom film history.
Dark Waters (2019) follows a case involving a farmer and an attorney suing DuPont using a toxic tort lawsuit. While the film skimps on courtroom action, it allows law students to see accurate portrayal of the discovery process.
Finally, the classic 12 Angry Men (1957) provides insight for law students into jury deliberations. Reasonable doubt combined with the biases of the 12 jurors make for a compelling teaching lesson on judicial proceedings from the juror’s perspective.