There are many different types of shows on television. You have your medical dramas, your cops shows, your comic book series, and a whole lot of other stuff in between. However, one of the most popular types of shows for years has been the legal drama, and over the course of the past couple of decades, there have been some pretty great lawyers on TV. For many of these years, it was mainly men who were the main focus of these shows; they were the top lawyers, fighting for justice and winning cases. But as television has continued to grow and evolve, especially in recent years, we’ve been gifted with some pretty incredible female attorneys as well, all of them special and unique in different ways. When they get handed a case, you know they’ll work their hardest to help their client, and they make us wish more lawyers in the real world were like them so that we could have them help us with any and all of our legal situations. These are 10 female TV lawyers we’d hire in a heartbeat.
Despite how you feel about whatever’s going on between Julianna Margulies and Archie Panjabi and the whole “fake scene” controversy from The Good Wife‘s Season 6 finale, there’s no denying the talent of Margulies’ alter ego, Alicia Florrick. Throughout six years on The Good Wife, we’ve seen Alicia prove herself time and time again to be a fierce and terrific lawyer and even go up against her old bosses to start up a firm of her own. Simply put, Alicia is determined, dedicated, intelligent, and hardworking: she’s everything you’d want your ideal lawyer to be.
Even though we don’t see Laurel in the courtroom too much on Arrow, it’s hard to argue with the results she’s gotten on the cases we have seen. Plus, it must be noted how quickly Laurel has risen through the ranks to Assistant District Attorney (even if she had to use a little bit of leverage to get there). She knows the law well and constantly pursues justice, and it’s her good heart that makes us want her on our side. Plus, you know, even if she can’t help you in the courtroom, she may be able to as Black Canary.
Unlike many of the other lawyers at Hamlin, Hamlin & McGil, Kim has proven on countless occasions she’s only interested in finding the truth and helping people, which is why she’s such good friends with Jimmy McGill (who is destined to become Saul Goodman). But without even looking at the connection Kim has with Jimmy, she’d be a great lawyer to have purely on her own merits, as she’s close to making partner, and would have the full use of HHM’s incredible resources to help with any type of case that she was working on.
Even though we all want a lawyer with a good heart who plays by the rules, sometimes, it’s necessary to have someone that’s a little ruthless and unorthodox in order to get the result you want. Look no further than Glenn Close’s Patty Hewes from Damages. Patty’s abusive upbringing created a fiery hatred for bullies inside of her, and she uses that anger and puts it into her work, doing whatever she has to to win a case and take down those who don’t deserve to walk away free. If you’re in a David/Goliath scenario with someone who seems to have all the power over you, Patty’s the lawyer you’d want to call.
Candice Bergen’s Shirley Schmidt, from the ABC legal drama Boston Legal, is not only a star litigator and top decision-maker (although those qualities are nice, too). No, what makes Shirley stand out so much is the fact the she is the one who sets the example of how to not only behave like but also be a great lawyer at her firm, Crane, Poole & Schmidt. She’s able to keep everything together and have the firm do well, despite the crazy behavior of her fellow co-founder, Denny Crane (played by William Shatner). She’s the firm’s rock.
It’s easy to watch The Cosby Show and find yourself wanting Clair Huxtable to be your lawyer. Even at home, Clair would constantly show her incredible intelligence and memory, spouting out facts and dates and quoting from books and documents she’s read, knowing exactly who wrote or said what she was referencing. Plus, as proven in any episode in which she gets into an argument with Cliff, her children, or anyone really, she’s a fantastic debater.
Similar to The Good Wife‘s Alicia, Suits‘ Jessica Pearson is a lawyer that anyone would be lucky to have. She is the managing partner of Pearson Specter Litt., but what’s even more impressive than Jessica’s title is how she got it. Although she may seem cold-hearted at first, it’s only because of her drive and determination to achieve success. She won’t let anyone get in the way of what she wants, and she brings that same mentality when helping her clients.
While Ally McBeal as a series may have been more interested in its main character’s love life than her practicing of law, that doesn’t mean that Ally wouldn’t be a solid choice as a lawyer. The fantasy sequences that Ally has on the series, in many ways, represent her unique way of looking at the world, which could come in handy, and while she may get distracted every once in a while, there’s no denying that she would passionately try to win your case.
Throughout The Practice, Helen Gamble always wanted to see those who did wrong were punished for their crimes. To her, the main goal of practicing law was to make sure those that were harmful to others got what they deserved. While Helen didn’t always go about her pursuits in the most ethical of ways (for example, after her friend Richard Bay was murdered on the orders of a drug lord he had helped to prosecute, Helen orchestrated the gunman’s death by giving false information to the police about his willingness to surrender), she’s definitely someone who is more often on the right side of the law than the wrong side. She’d do a good job as your lawyer, although you’d maybe have to look the other way about exactly how she does certain things.
Many would call Ellen Parsons clever, manipulative, and revengeful, but that doesn’t mean she’s not good at her job. While she often caused trouble on Damages, starting off as a law graduate working for Patty Hewes before helping to start her own firm, Ellen definitely got results. Like Helen, you may not want to know everything she’s doing to help you, but if you can trust her, she’s a great asset.
As a combination of Jane’s original, good-hearted intentions and Deb Donkins’ confident, outgoing personality (if that statement confuses you, you’ve got to watch the show), Drop Dead Diva‘s Jane Bingum is kind of the best of both worlds when it comes to being an attorney. She won’t stop fighting for her clients and won’t back down from anyone who tries to stand in her way, and she’s always looking to do good and to do it the right way. Jane’s not as ruthless as some of the other awesome female TV lawyers on this list, but honestly, we wouldn’t want her any other way.
Who are your favorite TV lawyers? Would you add anyone to our list?
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