As a first-year law student, much of my initial legal knowledge came from television. Since returning home after Michaelmas, when 24 Hours in Police Custody was ‘revision’, I’ve become more intrigued by looking at the accuracy of popular legal dramas. They have a large range of quality and accuracy, so if you’re seeking a legal drama to lose yourself in, these are the ones with, and without, the law student stamp of approval.

The Good Wife

While I don’t understand how a major firm practises commercial, divorce, criminal, and military law, I’m willing to suspend disbelief. Like in so many legal dramas, the cases are random and extreme, but they are enjoyable. Overlooked by the firm (which, ironically, has such a close relationship with law enforcement) is quite how much crime they commit in order to gather ‘evidence’ (I’m only a first year, but I’m pretty sure if you hospitalise someone, the judge tends to frown upon it). By being pinned on someone else, the majority of cases are dismissed, while most of the work is only done once the trial has already started. Still, the show is very entertaining and the last-minute nature of their submissions is certainly relatable (just don’t tell my supervisor).

“Annalise Keating terrifies me into picking up my textbooks”


The number of times I was asked ‘because of Suits?’ during freshers was astonishing. Honestly, I’ve only ever managed to get through two episodes before the insufferable characters put me off.  Being grouped with Harvey Specter was not the first impression I imagined for myself during my first few weeks of uni. It is true, however, that some law students do want to be the new Harvey; he is the superhero of the legal field. It’s just not for me.

Legally Blonde


I think we can all reach for Elle Woods when we need some academic motivation. Going from being blindly obsessed with sorority goings-on to getting the best internships and job offers in first year is deserving of every ‘Most Improved’ Award. Elle’s flawless fashion sense shows that law students have more personality than those dry old wigs might suggest. While not exactly accurate, this film captures the excitement I feel at becoming a lawyer. If someone asks if this Witherspoon flick inspired me in my degree choice, I actually tend to answer yes!


Mountain View

An ode to the on-screen angry woman

How to Get Away With Murder

While not the most relatable representation of the student experience, Annalise Keating terrifies me into picking up my textbooks. Her teaching method is certainly unconventional, reeking of unpaid internships and a complete breach of legal professional privilege. While the plot went off the rails Lost-style, the law is exciting and Viola Davis’s phenomenal performance as Annalise goes from strength to strength. Also, it’s a dead giveaway not to expect great legal accuracy when the first episode sees the law students killing their professor’s husband.


While not a ‘legal drama’, Matt Murdock’s lawyer-by-day, superhero-by-night routine shows that his real superpower is never getting tired: something that any Cambridge student longs for. The law is not the point in this show, though even if it were, being able to tell whether people are lying by hearing their heart rate does not stand up in court…

Erin Brokovich


A personal favourite of mine, this film is a harrowing depiction of where law can really make a difference (taking on corporate America), and Erin’s battle for respect in the legal field takes a more serious tone than Legally Blonde. Erin’s battle is a modern-day, feminist David versus Goliath. Julia Roberts is amazing in the titular role, creating a sympathetic yet strong depiction of Erin, and demonstrating that you do not have to be the ‘lawyer type’ to smash it. And, for once, the film doesn’t hide quite how much paperwork there really is.