Real Courts vs Fictional Courts

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This essay will discuss the differences in the ‘real’ courtroom, versus the ‘fictional’ courtroom, which is the depiction most of us are exposed to. In order to accurately compare the differences between the two different courtrooms, a brief summary of each must be presented. Once each of these is portrayed, an attempt to compare and contrast the two styles and the differences that exist between them can be discussed. Lawyers: better in the abstract than in person? Maybe. Studies indicate that people think less of lawyers after consulting one than they did before. Why? Because real-life lawyers cannot measure up to the models portrayed in popular culture such as movies and television, says David R. Papke, the R. Bruce Townsend Professor of law and professor of liberal arts at IUPUI. Papke is nationally recognized as an expert on the portrayal of the legal profession in the visual media. The topic has been the focus of several of his recent projects. Less than half the population has consulted a lawyer, Papke notes, and a very small proportion has seen a live courtroom trial. Most people's perceptions of lawyers come more from popular fiction than from reality. (Voelkel, 1997). In the movies and on television lawyers often win in dramatic ways; they bring in surprise evidence near the end of the trial, or a spectator in the courtroom jumps up and confesses to the crime. These things do not happen in real courtrooms, and clients who expect them to are disappointed. The misconceptions about lawyers have become so widespread that practicing lawyers often question potential jurors about their perceptions. The American Bar Association (ABA) is taking an active interest in learning how the visual media affects attitudes about the profession. This is not to say that movies and television programs featuring fictional lawyers...
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