Something odd happened over this summer. During the lull of new programming as current series wrapped up and newer series were waiting for things to simmer down just a little before trying to capture our attention, Netflix decided that it would add the USA hit, Suits, to its library. And for some reason, this was exactly what everyone wanted and Suits decided to have a not so insignificant resurgence. With eighth seasons on Netflix and the ninth exclusively on Peacock, I’m not not convinced that this wasn’t a backroom deal between the streaming services to try and salvage NBC Universal’s massive profit loss, but that’s neither here nor there.

Now, I had watched Suits right before this renaissance, so while everyone else was reliving the adventures of Mike Ross and Harvey Specter, I ended up delving into spin-off Pearson and other lawyer-y shows like How to Get Away with Murder and The Lincoln Lawyer. This, of course, got me thinking about the veritable laundry list of attorneys in the fictional wilds and who I’d want defending me. Because lord knows if I’m in the universe where lawyers decide my fate in more ways than one, I have names at the ready when they ask me who my representation is.

But before we begin aggregating our tier list, I think it’s important to establish some ground rules. We’re looking primarily at personal and defense attorneys here. As I, an individual, am not likely to be the prosecutor because I am not a member of the criminal justice system. Similarly, as I am not representative of a major corporation, I will likely not be in need of a business lawyer. I will also be trying to stick to characters that I could reasonably employ in this day and age, which means that I’ll have to leave off both versions of Perry Mason off the list due to their outdated knowledge of the law. Ironically, even though this list was inspired by Suits, Harvey Specter is not going to be on my rolodex because quite frankly, I lack the funds and any reason to call someone who specializes in mergers and acquisitions. That said, we’ll start the list off with two other iconic characters from the series.

Mike Ross and Rachel Zane (Suits) – When My Family and Community Have Been Wronged

Now, I know including someone who was technically a blatant fraud for the majority of the franchise time seems like an odd decision, but at the end of the day Mike Ross did become a lawyer and more importantly became a lawyer alongside his wife Rachel Zane. They are currently running a legal clinic up in Seattle, although we saw that Mike Ross is more than willing to represent his client in whatever city he needs to. Fake law degree be damned, you’d be hard pressed to find a lawyer with the definitely fictitious level of memory that Mike Ross nor a better research lawyer than Rachel Zane. The two combined are an absolute force to be reckoned with, and you’ll need a very specific type of case to hire them.

Diane Lockhart (The Good Wife, The Good Fight) – When Things Are Just a Little Silly, and I Have the Budget

Look, the majority of the time, Diane Lockhart is gonna be out of my budget and out of scope for any random thing I’d need litigation for, but I also know for a fact that in a world where Diane Lockhart exists, I’d want her number on speed dial in the event that I was caught up in anything silly. This is a woman who has represented every single type of eccentric individual under the sun in the complete wildest of circumstances. Esoteric inheritance proceedings, random interpersonal conflict, covertly formed underground organization of questionable legal operation. She has seen the wildest thing on this floating rock that we call earth and remains relatively calm in the most audacious moments, and that’s a commendable quality in a lawyer. 

Mickey Haller (Lincoln Lawyer) – When Things in My Personal Life Are Just A Little Too Complicated

Now, I’m only familiar with the Netflix adaptation of The Lincoln Lawyer, but I get the sense that if I need him on retainer it’s because I’m a relatively decent human with a few complications and need someone to either handle defty or be okay when things get revealed in a wild way. Haller’s probably the lawyer that is willing to meet me at my price points. But he has a solid network of resources and a good sense of humor and theatrics that would make the whole process a little less jarring than usual. There’s definitely a chance I might be guilty of something or other if he needs to stay on for a while, but if it was actually just a misunderstanding, I feel like we’d be in and out of court in less than a day.

The Lincoln Lawyer' Review: David E. Kelley's Limp Netflix Drama – The  Hollywood Reporter

TIED: Patty Hewes (Damages), Annalise Keating (How to Get Away with Murder) – When I Need to Preserve My Name at an Unreasonably High Cost

I’m gonna group these two together because they’re getting called in the exact same scenario. $#!%’s ****’ed, and there’s not a lot of recourse and it’s not gonna get better, so we’re angling for “less worse.” Patty Hewes and Annalise Keating are cut throat lawyers who will do anything to win, and when by the time I’m done with the phone call introduction, if they are taking the case they have my entire life story in a manila folder and have an enumerated list of my sins digitized.

I’ve seen them folks, and they are brutal and efficient. Even though the experience will likely leave me in shambles, I’d probably be innocent in the legal proceedings if nothing else.

Matt Murdock (Marvel) – If There is Any Remote Signs of Superpowers or Murderous Vendetta

If I had superpowers, I’d probably put Jen Walters on the list but as I am just a person, I probably only need Matt Murdock’s level of superhuman ability involved in my usual proceedings. Matt’s cool composure is complemented by his incredible ability to read people makes for a great attorney from the get, but the fact that he has prior experience with shadowy organizations, ancient conspiracies, and the ilk means that his expertise is probably necessary to save the city as a whole and probably my life in the process. It’s really a matter of responsible scoping giving who I am as a person. It’s definitely gonna be a little off putting to see him show up in court with inexplicable bruising or an uncanny ability to capture thrown projectiles, but as far as total package, Murdock is certainly up there.

Matthew Murdock (Earth-199999) | Marvel Database | Fandom

Rafael Barba (Law & Order: SVU) – When I Need the Best Outcome

There is only one lawyer in all of the fictional canon that I would call if I knew I actually needed a lawyer. And I’d have to convince this dapper man to take my case through many scenes of dialog, exposition, and personal connection, but the moment he becomes counsel is the moment I know everything is gonna be fine.

Rafael Barba may have spent the majority of his screentime as a prosecutor, but his career as a defense attorney is nothing short of stellar. Every single time he’s gone to bat, they have gotten justice whether that is minimal sentencing or in the case of one of the most notable crime lords in New York City, freedom because the law was in not fact followed. 

Barba is an exemplar of the fictional lawyer, someone who is well-versed, knowledgeable, and able to open, question, cross-examine, and close with the best of them. He is dedicated to the very underlying ideals of justice, and he’ll do what needs to be done to protect his clients and those he holds dear. That’s something I value highly.

Closing Remarks

So there’s my list of fictional attorneys. Let us know who you’d have on retainer.

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  • Mikkel Snyder is a technical writer by day and pop culture curator and critic all other times.

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