Reality Tv – Are Fictional Lawyers On The Small Screen Close To The Real Thing?

Respondents to a Legallybetter survey in the UK believe that some fictional TV lawyers are like the real thing but the bad news is that one of these fictional TV lawyers is the incompetent Lionel Hutz from the Simpsons!
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Northwich - Cheshire - England

July 12, 2010 - PRLog -- Almost a quarter of adults think that solicitors are “incompetent and expensive” (like lawyer Lionel Hutz in the Simpsons) but over a third go for “ruthless and efficient” (like Patty Hewes in Damages).

Only 12% think that Stephen Fry’s Kingdom character (amiable, conscientious) is close to a real-life solicitor and only 4% agree that solicitors can be “young and enthusiastic” (like Ally McBeal).    

TV Character                                  Characteristics                       %
Kingdom (Stephen Fry)              Amiable, conscientious   12.0
Patty Hewes (Glenn Close in Damages) Ruthless, efficient   34.0
Rumpole (Leo McKern)                                  Experienced, reliable   14.0
Ally McBeal (Calista Flockhart)             Young, enthusiastic   4.0
Lionel Hutz (lawyer in The Simpsons)      Incompetent, expensive   23.0
None of the Above                                                                13.0

% - rounded
Base: 120 adults
Question 1: Which of the characteristics of these fictional TV lawyers do you think is closest
to a typical real-life lawyer? If you do not know the TV character please base your answer on the characteristics we have listed.

But it is not all bad news - while lawyers and solicitors in general can have a pretty bad reputation, the above contrasts with Legallybetter’s other surveys asking for ratings of specific lawyers and solicitors that consumers have actually used. These surveys regularly produce very high ratings for service quality, value for money, and helpfulness and friendliness of law firm staff.  

TV Lawyers for Specific Legal Matters
For a relatively straightforward legal matter like making a will, Kingdom (played by Stephen Fry) would be the overwhelming choice for most adults - favoured by 61%.

However, “ruthless and efficient” are seen as good characteristics for solicitors in divorce and fraud cases: 50% would pick Patty Hewes to fight their corner in a divorce case and 48% in a fraud case.  The “experienced and reliable” Rumpole of the Bailey would be chosen by over a third for a fraud case.

TV Character                                   Will   Divorce   Fraud
Kingdom (Stephen Fry)       61.0   20.0   14.0
Patty Hewes (Glenn Close in Damages)   15.0   50.0   48.0
Rumpole (Leo McKern)                          23.0   28.0   36.0
Ally McBeal (Calista Flockhart)      1.0      2.0   2.0
Lionel Hutz (lawyer in The Simpsons)                  -   -   -

% - rounded
Base: 120 adults

Question 2: Which of these characters would you like in your corner if you were involved in the 3 legal matters in the table – preparing a will, a divorce, defending yourself in a fraud case.

To help others find real-life lawyers and compare solicitors who provide a good service, we would love to hear your reviews and ratings of any solicitors you have used. You can submit a review anonymously at:
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