“Better Call Saul”: Your legal ethics tutorial?

Posted on 07-28-2015 by
Tags: Ethics , Latest Headlines & Stories

We all have watched television and saw a sequence of events that cause us to say the following:

“That would not happen in real life” or “That isn’t true”

We usually say these things have been victim to the “Hollywood Effect”, where aspects of movies or shows are glamorized for the entertainment factor.

According to The Law for Lawyers Today, this trend can be seen in one of today’s popular shows AMC’s “Better Call Saul”. Like many other shows, Better Call Saul shows lapses in legal ethics (which is ironic given the show is about a small-time lawyer).

New York lawyer Nicole Hyland has blogged about the legal ethics issues in the show. One example was found in episode four when Saul sets up a publicity stunt where he stages a rescue of a worker who is putting up a billboard for him all in order to create more business.

Hyland explained the legal ethic issue regarding this:

Faking a daring rescue to drum up publicity and clients probably violates” Rule 8.4(c), which prohibits conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation. “A particularly creative grievance committee might also charge Saul with violating [New York’s] Rule 7.1(c)(4), which prohibits ‘depictions of fictionalized events or scenes’ in attorney advertisements. Whether this charge would stick depends on whether Saul’s publicity stunt qualifies as an ‘advertisement.’ …. Given that Saul’s main purpose in staging the fake rescue was to drum up legal business, there is a fair argument that the stunt qualifies as ‘advertising.’ This is particularly true in an age where many brands are turning to ‘disruptive,’ non-traditional advertising campaigns to market their products.

Hyland does give the show high remarks for competence for Rule 1.1in Episode Two when Saul when Saul talks a drug gang member out of killing two skateboarders and instead just breaking one of their legs each.

“When one of the [skaters] accuses him of being ‘the worst lawyer ever,’ Saul counters: ‘I talked you down from a death sentence to six months’ probation. I’m the best lawyer ever.’”

So this shows that despite its’ flaws in legal ethics , the show does make good points as well.

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