Legally blonde – we know her, we love her, but how accurate is she? Legally blonde is actually one of the movies I loved and influenced on me becoming a lawyer. Elle Woods was an icon and made the legal field look exhilarating, rewarding, and just overall fun. The movie is riddled with iconic one liners, I mean who doesn’t love to use legal jargon in everyday life. But…. I expected not only law school, but my legal career to be a picturesque copy of Legally Blonde. It indeed was not.
Don’t get me wrong, being in the legal field is exhilarating and rewarding, but it’s also hard work and dedication to yourself, the field, and your clients. The two scenes in the movie that stood out to me most was Elle Woods first day of law school, where she shows up to class and is just sitting there looking around while everyone else has laptops and Elle is there with a little pink heart notebook and fuzzy pen, ready to take on the world. This was me on the first day of law school, eager and ready to take on the world just like Elle, but with no idea what to expect. This was a very accurate portrayal of what law school was like – the Socratic Method. The Socratic Method was form of argumentative dialogue between individuals, based on asking and answering questions and is what all law professors used in their classes. Had I paid more attention to this scene from legally blonde, I would have known what to expect, instead I was captivated by Elle Woods first day.
To me this movie is pretty factually accurate, I actually had some of the same books Elle uses in the movie and learned the same things from most of her classes. It was great portrayal of the world of law school, until the end. The final part of the movie where Elle is in Court, is where the movie becomes fiction. This is not an accurate portrayal of Court rooms or proceedings and I feel that this is where the movie gives false hopes and depictions to upcoming lawyers and court-goers.
The ending Court Scene – is this what you can expect going to Court? Is this similar to Family Law proceedings? Yes and No. When we go to Court together, there is a Judge only. We generally only have a few minutes to make your case so argument must be tight and pre-planned as the general Request for Order is usually only 20 minutes. The Judge will have many cases to get through during our time slot, so things move quickly while in there. The similar hearings to the one in legally blonde in Family Court are Evidentiary hearings. These are set based on half day increments and give the parties a chance to take testimony from witnesses, provided evidence, and cross examination of the other parties’ witnesses, etc. However, unlike Legally Blonde these questions are usually preplanned and designed to offer a piece of evidence to the Court. There is specific formatting the questions need to be in and the Courts in Family Law are much less lax than the Judge in Legally Blonde. A Client would never fire lawyer mid-trial as well as the interruptions in the Courtroom by her friends. As much as I love this movie, this Court scene is just riddled with inconsistencies and inaccuracies.
Overall, this is an iconic movie in the legal field, but this is not what to expect when entering your family law proceedings.