A Lawyer Walks Into A Bar...

"Good"

A Lawyer Walks Into A Bar... Review


If you don't have a lawyer in the family... you're probably not looking hard enough. With some one million lawyers in America, we live in easily the most litigious country in the world, and documentarian Eric Chaikin (whose competitive Scrabble documentary Word Wars is a guilty pleasure) tears the profession down before quietly building it back up again.

Chaikin begins by shredding some of lawyerdom's most notorious facets -- the growth of frivolous lawsuits, ambulance chasers, and absurd warnings on products urging you not to ingest them -- then abruptly turns his attention to a group of aspiring lawyers who are set to take the Bar Exam in a few weeks' time. Here we witness the grueling preparations required for the three-day exam (including sample questions), and the strong likelihood that our subjects will not pass anyway: In California, the Bar has an average pass rate of just 39 percent. What, no more new lawyers!?

Some of these characters are expected parts of the genre -- Tricia, a pretty wannabe actress-slash-attorney who is absolutely certain she's going to pass -- but some are quite unexpected, including Magda, who's been working her way through a fourth-tier law school for years but finds out she doesn't have enough recent coursework to sit for the test, and Don, who graduated law school in 1980 and has failed the Bar a whopping 41 times to date. Their drama is sometimes cloying and sometimes heartwarming, but by the time the big day (or rather, three days) arrives, you can really feel the nerves and anticipation that everyone's dealing with. For some of these characters, failing the Bar will mean an abrupt interruption to their career in law, and the odds are against them. For Don, well, it'll mean another try a few months down the line.

Chaikin intersperses these preparations with interviews with numerous big-name lawyers, from Vernon Jordan and Scott Turow to Alan Dershowitz and Robert Shapiro. All offer interesting perspective or insight on the career, but one still leaves the film with a foul taste in the mouth regarding the legal profession. All this trouble just so we can have more lawsuits? I oughtta sue!

Not for internal use.



A Lawyer Walks Into A Bar...

Facts and Figures

Run time: 92 mins

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

IMDB: 6.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Eric Chaikin

Producer: Eric Chaikin, Tasha Oldham

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