The 5 Greatest Movie Attorneys of All Time

CC image Wikipedia.orgThey say the best attorneys are the ones who can take command of the courtroom, and the same principle applies to actors on the big screen. That’s why we thought it would be interesting to rank the top five movie attorneys of all time. Take a look at the list below, and if you think we left someone off the list, let us know in the comments section.

5. Fred Gailey – Gailey was presented with one of the strangest cases in history when he represented Kris Kringle in Miracle on 34th Street. In order to win his case, Gailey needs to convince the judge that his client is actually the real Santa Claus. Gailey’s case takes a favorable turn when he enters into evidence 21 sacks of letters addressed to Santa Claus and delivered to his client. After reviewing all the evidence, the judge has no choice but to dismiss the charges against Santa.

4. Vinny Gambini – Gambini delivers one of the best introductions in a criminal court when he says, “Everything that guy just said is bull—-.” Gambini is the least qualified attorney on this list, but his quick thinking and aggressive cross-examination style work to his advantage. Although his demeanor in the courtroom could use some work, Gambini successfully interprets a key piece of evidence to clear his family’s name.

3. Andrew Beckett/Joe Miller – Tom Hanks took home the Academy Award for his work as Andrew Beckett, an attorney seeking compensation after his old law firm fires him because they believe he has aids. Beckett initially sets out to represent himself at trial, until Miller, played by Denzel Washington, puts aside his fears of working with Beckett and takes on the case. Throughout a climactic trial, Miller and Beckett showcase their legal knowledge and eventually win damages in excess of $5 million.

2. Daniel Kaffe – Before he ever starred as Ethan Hunt in Mission Impossible, Tom Cruise portrayed Lt. Daniel Kaffe in A Few Good Men. Despite facing an uphill battle against his superiors, Kaffe fights to clear the names of two U.S. Marines accused of murdering a fellow Marine. After challenging the testimony of a high ranking official and being told he “can’t handle the truth,” Kaffe is able to bring the real story to the surface and keep his clients out of jail.

1. Atticus Finch – Finch undoubtedly deserves the top spot on the list for his defense of Tom Robinson in To Kill a Mockingbird. Although Finch loses the case, the Michigan Law Review argues, “No real-life lawyer has done more for the self-image or public perception of the legal profession.” Finch is the model of integrity for the legal profession even during a turbulent racial era in Alabama. In 1997, the Alabama State Bar erected a statue of Finch in Monroeville.

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Avery Appelman

Avery Appelman is a criminal defense lawyer and the founder of Appelman Law Firm. While his practice is primarily recognized for its work with DWI and related offenses, he has 16 years of experience working with clients on drug, assault, theft, traffic, criminal sexual conduct, and prostitution charges.

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