Best TV/Movie Lawyers: 15 Legal Eagles We'd Hire

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  1. As William Shatner struts his way back onto screens in new episodes of ''Boston Legal,'' we belly up to the Bar Association with other onscreen attorneys we love, like Perry Mason, Atticus Finch, and Ally McBeal

    By Adam Markovitz
    Apr 08, 2008


    Played by Gregory Peck
    To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
    After four fruitless Oscar noms, Peck finally took home a statue for his role as a socially conscious lawyer in Depression-era Alabama.

    Played by Raymond Burr
    Perry Mason (1957-1966)
    The granddaddy of all TV lawyers, Mason was squeezing last-minute confessions out of crooks decades before the legal eagles on Law & Order passed their LSATs.

    Played by Joe Pesci
    My Cousin Vinny (1992)
    Pesci (pictured, right) is a comic dream — and every judge's worst nightmare — as an ambulance chaser from Brooklyn who arrives in a small Alabama town to defend his cousins against a misguided murder charge.

    Played by Tom Cruise
    A Few Good Men (1992)
    Cruise's tabloid antics have overshadowed his acting accomplishments of late, but the truth (if you can handle it!) is that his performance as a military lawyer in this blockbuster is nothing short of electrifying.

    Played by Calista Flockhart
    Ally McBeal (1997-2002)
    So what if she was a neurotic mess with a ticking biological clock and some dangerously high hemlines? Flockhart's waifish career gal was also a courtroom heavyweight who became a post-feminist icon.

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    Played by William Shatner
    Boston Legal (2004-)
    A founding partner of Crane, Poole & Schmidt, Shatner's larger-than-life lawyer is a genius in the art of self-promotion. Despite his outlandish behavior, Denny claims never to have lost a case, though we sometimes wonder if he hasn't simply lost his mind.

    Played by Spencer Tracy
    Inherit the Wind (1960)
    Courtroom dramas have evolved over the years, but they're rarely better than this retelling of the infamous Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925 (which decided if it was illegal to teach evolution in schools), in which Tracy plays a lightly fictionalized version of real-life lawyer Clarence Darrow.

    Played by Sam Waterston
    Law & Order (1994-)
    McCoy has been tackling cases for over a decade on the flagship of NBC's megafranchise. We love him for doing whatever it takes to put the bad guy behind bars — even if it means bending the law.

    Played by Jimmy Smits
    L.A. Law (1986-1992)
    As the firm's token pro-bono partner, Smits' headstrong attorney added some moral fiber — not to mention sex appeal — to the long-running show from producer Stephen Bochco (NYPD Blue).

    Played by John Payne
    Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
    Gailey might not be a household name, but anybody who defends Santa Claus in a court of law has an open invitation to holiday dinner at our house.

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    Played by George Clooney
    Intolerable Cruelty (2003)
    Catherine Zeta-Jones' fast-talking femme fatale wasn't the only one smitten with Clooney's scruple-free divorce lawyer in this Coen brothers comedy; we'd sign on the dotted line for him any day.

    Played by Denzel Washington
    Philadelphia (1993)
    In the first mainstream movie to openly address the issue of AIDS, Washington gave a powerful performance as the reluctant defender of an AIDS-infected attorney (Tom Hanks) who was unjustly fired after his coworkers learned about his illness.

    Played by Matthew McConaughey
    A Time to Kill (1996)
    McConaughey's bronzed bod gets all the attention now, but back in '95, he won raves fully-clothed as a young lawyer defending a father (Samuel L. Jackson) who murdered his daughter's killers in rural Mississippi.

    Played by Paul Newman
    The Verdict (1982)
    Rumor has it Robert Redford turned down the role of a hard-drinking lawyer in this courtroom drama. No offense, Bob, but we're pretty glad Paul got a shot at it; his bleary-eyed performance was a late-arrival peak in an already legendary career.

    Voiced by Phil Hartman
    The Simpsons (1991-)
    Springfield's scrappiest ambulance chaser was the Simpson clan's go-to guy for legal worries — even if he caused more than he solved. But really, what do you expect from the guy who once sued the creators of ''The Neverending Story'' for false advertising?

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  4. A Few Good Men is one of my favorite movies...for the court scenes alone!
  5. They forgot James Spader! :love:
  6. Looove Jack McCoy!!!