The editors of the ABA Journal have asked readers to vote for their favorite fictional lawyer. See here. But there’s a catch: Atticus Finch is not in the running. It seems that Mr. Finch would have been too obvious a winner. Candidates in the running include Michael Clayton, Ally McBeal, Vincent “Vinny” Gambini, Paul Biegler, Rusty Sabich, and many more.
My vote is for Paul Biegler, the piano-playing protagonist of Anatomy of a Murder. Jimmy Stewart stars as Biegler in this now-classic film based on the best-selling novel by the same name. The Honorable John D. Voelker, writing under the pseudonym Robert Traver, published the novel in 1959. In perhaps the most insightful line of the film, Beigler says, “As a lawyer I’ve had to learn that people aren’t just good or just bad.”