From the intricate world of law firms to the complexities of legal cases, Suit, sometimes, was like a real company and at times it wasn’t. The TV series captivated audiences with its dramatic portrayal of the legal profession. Set in the bustling legal landscape of New York City, the show follows the captivating story of Mike Ross, a brilliant college dropout with exceptional legal knowledge, and his mentor, the charismatic and formidable attorney Harvey Specter. Suits skillfully weaves together the professional and personal lives of the characters, showcasing their legal prowess, ethical dilemmas and the dynamics of a prestigious law firm.
The series takes viewers on an exciting journey through high-stakes legal cases, strategic negotiations and the complexities of the relationship between lawyer and client. While Suit offers a captivating portrayal of the legal profession, it is important to distinguish the fictional elements from the realities of legal practice. The show presents a mix of real-world legal scenarios and creative liberties taken to enhance the storytelling and entertainment value. Here are five times Suit was like a real company and five times it wasn’t.
During the entire run, Suit showcased a variety of legal cases, giving viewers an insight into the complexities and challenges lawyers face. The series depicted them conducting thorough research, analyzing evidence and strategically planning their arguments to build strong cases and counter opposing counsel.
For example, in one episode the characters faced a high-profile intellectual property dispute involving two tech giants. The lawyers had to navigate complex patent laws, review technical documents and interview expert witnesses to create convincing arguments. By depicting the intricacies of legal research, preparation and courtroom strategies, Suit offered viewers a closer look at the realities of dealing with complex litigation.
9 Office hierarchy
The series portrayed a clear hierarchical structure within the law firm that reflected the realities of organizational dynamics in real organizations. The show depicted senior partners who oversee the firm’s operations, make critical decisions and manage client relationships. Junior partners and associates worked under their guidance and handled various tasks such as legal research, document preparation and assisted with cases. In addition, support staff such as paralegals and legal secretaries provided administrative assistance.
An example of this hierarchy can be seen when, as senior partner, Harvey Specter made strategic decisions about which cases the firm would take, while associates like the iconic Mike Ross were responsible for conducting research and providing support for those cases. This portrayal reflected the typical structure of real law firms, where roles and responsibilities are divided based on experience, expertise, and the delegation of tasks necessary to effectively handle clients’ legal needs.
8 Customer relations
Another real-life law firm emulation was the exploration of lawyers’ interactions with clients, emphasizing the importance of building trust and providing effective legal advice. The series featured initial client consultations where attorneys sought to understand clients’ legal issues, goals, and expectations.
For example, in one episode Harvey Specter met with a wealthy client involved in a high-stakes divorce to secure a favorable settlement. During the consultation, Harvey demonstrated his ability to ask probing questions, actively listen to the client’s concerns and provide tailored advice based on his legal expertise. This exemplified the critical role of effective communication, empathy and understanding in building strong attorney-client relationships.
7 Ethical dilemmas
Suit often presented ethical challenges faced by the characters, highlighting the moral complexities inherent in legal practice. The show explored conflicts of interest where lawyers found themselves in personal relationships involving clients or opposing parties, which jeopardized their professional objectivity. For example, in one story, a lawyer discovered that a close friend was representing an adversary, raising ethical dilemmas about divided loyalties and potential breaches of client confidentiality.
This conflict exemplified the complex ethical considerations that lawyers must navigate in their daily practice. The series also addressed issues such as attorney-client privilege, confidentiality, and the duty to act in the best interests of clients. These storylines prompted discussions about the importance of maintaining professional integrity, avoiding conflicts of interest, and maintaining legal and ethical standards in the legal profession.
6 Workplace dynamics
The series delved into the dynamics of a law firm, illustrating the competitive nature of associates and the pressures of meeting deadlines and billable hours. The show depicted junior associates striving to impress senior partners and working long hours to conduct legal research, prepare legal documents and prepare for court appearances. This competitiveness was exemplified through cases assigned to associates where they struggled to demonstrate their legal acumen and secure favorable outcomes. In addition, the series emphasized mentoring relationships, where more experienced attorneys guided and shaped the careers of younger associates.
For example, Harvey Specter mentored Mike Ross, providing guidance, contributing legal knowledge with iconic quotes from Harvey, and challenging him to excel. Moreover, Suit highlighted the importance of teamwork and cooperation in a law firm. Lawyers often worked together on complex cases, pooling their expertise and leveraging each other’s strengths to achieve favorable outcomes for their clients. These aspects of the workplace dynamics showcased in the show resonated with the realities of legal environments where dedication, mentorship, teamwork and effective time management are fundamental to success in the profession.
5 Employment of non-lawyers
One of the significant deviations from the realities of law firms i Suit was the premise that Mike Ross, a college dropout with exceptional legal knowledge, could practice law as a lawyer without going to law school. While this aspect added intrigue to the show’s plot and allowed it to explore the challenges Mike Ross faces in maintaining his secret while navigating the legal world, it’s important to note that in real life, practicing law without a law degree and passing the bar exam would be illegal.
Hiring a non-lawyer as a practicing attorney is purely fictitious and not representative of the legal profession. The character of Mike Ross created a unique story that showcased his unique abilities and the consequences of practicing law without the necessary qualifications.
4 Unconventional practice
Within the series, the characters were many times portrayed as engaging in unconventional and unethical practices to win cases, which deviated from the ethical standards of real law firms. While these actions added to the drama and tension of the show, it is important to note that real lawyers are bound by legal and ethical rules that prohibit such behavior.
For example, in one of the episodes, Harvey found himself in a high-stakes legal battle involving a professional tennis player accused of using performance-enhancing drugs. To strengthen their case, Harvey and Mike decided to resort to an unconventional and unethical tactic: witness tampering. They attempted to manipulate a key witness, another player on the tennis court, into testifying falsely in court for the benefit of their client. This portrayal highlights the importance of distinguishing between the dramatic elements of a television series and the ethical obligations that lawyers adhere to in real legal practice.
3 Personal relationships
Suit often blurred the lines between personal and professional relationships, showing romantic involvements between lawyers and conflicts of interest arising from personal connections. The series explored scenarios where characters had romantic relationships with clients, opposing counsel or colleagues, creating complications and ethical dilemmas. For example, one story line involved a lawyer developing a romantic relationship with a client, raising concerns about potential conflicts of interest and compromising the lawyer’s professional objectivity.
While personal relationships can naturally develop in professional settings, real law firms prioritize maintaining professional objectivity and avoiding conflicts of interest that could compromise the integrity of legal representation. Lawyers are expected to navigate personal relationships responsibly and ensure that their personal connections do not interfere with their duty to act in their client’s best interests and uphold professional standards.
2 Unrealistic time frames
When it came to some of the timelines for legal proceedings, Suit occasionally compressed them, making complex cases appear to be resolved more quickly than they actually would be. While this artistic license allowed the show to maintain a fast-paced narrative and keep viewers engaged, it’s important to understand that real trials involve various stages that can significantly extend the timeline of a case.
For example, lawyers on the show often resolve complex legal issues within days or weeks, while real cases can take months or even years to resolve. Real-world litigation includes discovery, negotiations, motion practice, and trial preparation, all of which contribute to the overall length of a case.
1 Lack of administrative focus
Suit primarily focused on the lawyers and their cases, often neglecting the administrative and organizational aspects of running a law firm. While the show depicted lawyers handling legal matters and interacting with clients, it minimized or omitted administrative tasks such as billing, marketing, client acquisition and business management. In real law firms, dedicated employees or departments handle these administrative functions to ensure the smooth running of the firm.
For example, real law firms have accounting departments responsible for billing clients, marketing teams responsible for promoting the firm’s services, and business development professionals responsible for acquiring new clients. These administrative functions are essential to the successful operation of a law firm as they support the lawyers in providing legal services effectively and efficiently.