Bibliography: Women Lawyers in Film and Television

Women Lawyers in Film and Television

Babicoff, Richard, How far have you come, baby? Women lawyers on TV, in movies show that it hasn’t been far enough, 100 L. A. Daily J. 4 (December 21, 1987).

Brinkerhoff, Corinne, Reality Bites: Boston Legal’s Creative License With the Law, in Lawyers in Your Living Room, (Michael Asimov ed., ABA, 2010) at 253.

Corcos, Christine A., Damages: The Truth Is Out There, in Lawyers in Your Living Room, (Michael Asimov, ed. ABA, 2010), at 265.

Corcos, Christine A., Portia and Her Partners in Popular Culture, 22 Legal Stud. F. 269 (1998). Includes bibliographies and lists of women attorneys in film, television and fiction.

Corcos, Christine A., Women Lawyers, in Prime Time Law 219 (Robert Jarvis and Paul Joseph eds., 1998).

Diamond, Valerie Frances, Women in law: a novel approach, 1980-1996, 16 Legal Ref. Serv. Q. 9 (1997).

Diggs, Terry Kay, No way to treat a lawyer; when screen lawyers are women, Hollywood changes the rulesCal. Law., December 1992, at 48. Argues that women lawyers are portrayed primarily as the cause of disorder and chaos. “…[W]omen lawyers do not find the truth, they obfuscate it; they do not restore order, they destroy it…Hollywood’s female lawyers are not in court when justice is restored, and they do not act as lawyers.”

Dixon, Marion, In Portia’s footsteps: women lawyers in literature, 24 U. W. Aus. L. Rev. 68 (1994).

Fineman, Martha A., and Martha T. McCluskey, Feminism, Media & the Law (NY: Oxford University Press, 1997). Contains several chapters on women lawyers in popular culture.

Goff, David H., Lynda Dysart Goff, and Sara Kay Lehrer, Sex-role portrayals of selected female television characters, 24 J. Broadcasting 467 (1980).

Goldberg, Stephanie Benson, Bar Girls? Images of Women Lawyers on TV Slowly Improving, Panel Says, 76 A.B.A. J. 41 (April 1990).

Graham, Louise Everett and Geraldine Maschio, A False Public Sentiment: Narrative and Visual Images of Women Lawyers in Film, 84 Ky. L.J. 1027 (1996). In-depth discussion of Adam’s RibThe AccusedMusic BoxThe Client, and Class Action. Along with Shapiro, Women Lawyers in Celluloid, below, a must read.

Harrington, Mona, Media, in Women Lawyers: Rewriting the Rules (NY: Plume Books, 1995), at 151-170.

Howarth, Joan W., Women Defenders on Television: Representing Suspects and the Racial Politics of Retribution, 3 J. Gender, Race & Just. 475 (Spring 2000).

Kamir, Orit, Feminist Law and Film: Imagining Judges and Justice, 75 Chi.-Kent L. Rev. 899 (2000).

Lucia, Cynthia, Women on Trial: The Female Lawyer in the Hollywood Courtroom, 19 Cinéaste 32 (1991).


Mader, Shannon, Law & Order, in Lawyers in Your Living Room (Michael Asimow, ed.; ABA, 2010), at 117.

Marder, Nancy, Judging Judge Judy, in Lawyers in Your Living Room, (Michael Asimov ed., ABA, 2010), at 299.

Miller, Carolyn Lisa, Note: “What a Waste. Beautiful, Sexy Gal. Hell of a Lawyer.”: Film and the Female Attorney, 4 Colum. J. Gender & L. 203 (1994). Lengthy commentary on Presumed Innocent.

Papke, David Ray, Judging Amy, in Lawyers in Your Living Room, (Michael Asimov ed., ABA, 2010) at 233.

Rapoport, Nancy, Swimming With Shark, in Lawyers in Your Living Room, (Michael Asimov, ed., ABA, 2010) at 163.

Ray, Laura Krugman, Judicial Fictions: Images of Supreme Court Justices in the Novel, Drama and Film, 39 Ariz. L. Rev. 151 (1997).

Schulz, Jennifer, girls club Does Not Exist, in Lawyers in Your Living Room, (Michael Asimov, ed. ABA, 2010) at 243.

Seibel, Deborah Starr, Outrageous Lawyers: A Crop of Television Lawyers Takes On the Real WorldChi. Tribune, April 28, 1991, Womanews Section, at 11.

Shapiro, Carole, A Woman Lawyer’s Perspective on FilmN.Y.L.J., February 7, 1994, at 2.

Shapiro, Carole, Women lawyers in celluloid: Why Hollywood skirts the truth, 25 U. Tol. L. Rev. 955 (1994).

Sharp, Cassandra, Ally McBeal: Life and Love in the Law, (Michael Asimov, ed., ABA, 2010) at 221.

Sheffield, Ric S., On film: a social history of women lawyers in popular culture 1930 to 1990, 14 Loy. L.A. Ent. L.J. 73 (Fall 1993). Sheffield’s piece is particularly interesting for its account of older films in which women lawyer characters make an appearance.

Thomas, Jeffrey E., The Practice, in Lawyers in Your Living Room, (Michael Asimov, ed. ABA, 2010), at 129.

Tillotson, Kristin, Pop Stand: Women make strides in law; but not in la-la landMinn. Star-Tribune, October 26, 1997, at 1F.

Weiss, Elaine, Who’s missing in this picture? Why movies and television have ignored women lawyers, 16 Barrister 4 (January 1989). Quick general overview of women lawyers in film, including some discussion of Adam’s Rib and Suspect.