5 Documentaries Every Lawyer Should See – Guest Post


There are a large number of documentaries that are available to watch on True Crime as its popularity has spiked in recent years.  However, as a lawyer you may be looking for a very specific view point to help you learn and grow in your career.   Here are 5 documentaries that are perfectly placed to have you learn something new that all lawyers should watch.

Making a Murderer

It’s infamous, but for good reason.  Making a Murderer is a 10-part docuseries on Netflix dealing with wrongful conviction and incarceration of Steven Avery.  Despite DNA evidence exonerating him he was still convicted of murder and his nephew was also convicted in association with the crime.  It also covers the countersuit of Avery and just how much the events affected his life.

“It’s a must watch for those wanting to look more into the field of wrongful conviction,” says Dominic Christensen, business writer at State of writing and OX Essays, “every lawyer can take something valuable away from the experience.”

Hot Coffee

It’s almost become urban legend the story of the old woman who received third degree burns from her McDonalds coffee after she spilled it on herself, but this documentary lets you see the true facts of the case.  Hot Coffee is focussed on lawsuits that may be considered “arbitrary” and is directed by a trained litigator so you get an educated and opinionated argument about this case.   This $2 million-dollar lawsuit would lead to it being used as a focal point for tort reform in the United States.  There is a warning for the squeamish out there as you do see images of the third degree burns in question, but then again this is the reality of working in the legal system.

Valentine Road

This harrowing story looks into the highly emotional case of the murder of 14-year-old Larry King and covers the gamut of race, sexuality, homophobia and how they impacted the case as well as media coverage. This is particularly relevant nowadays as the impact the media has on cases is becoming more and more of a concern.  In 89 minutes, Valentine Road explores the case in detail and discusses how tolerance affects judgements both inside and outside of the courtroom.

“If you are interested in the way society and the media can impact a case then this is a must,” recommends Vicki Hiltz a technical writer at Boom Essays and Paper Fellows, “It can be emotionally difficult to watch at times but any lawyer who wishes to face their own biases should watch this film.”


Copyright law is a hot issue right now as many independent creators on platforms like YouTube are hit with false DMCA takedowns and authors attempting to sue each other over the barest similarities.  Cleanfix is named after the documentaries focal company, a small movie studio who released “family friendly” versions of popular Hollywood movies by censoring them and re-releasing.  While copyright law covers creators, who make transformative works, this doesn’t quite cover taking a whole movie and releasing it pretty much as it was with some censoring.  This court case would be highly publicised and looks at over three years of struggle as Hollywood fought back against clear infringement of their copyright.

Balancing the Scales

This documentary is a detailed look into the history of female lawyers in America and the struggles they still face, this is particularly relevant now given recent focus on gender pay gaps in massive corporations.  Balancing the Scales doesn’t focus on a single case, instead it looks at the overall state of the industry and interviews some of the most influential women to practice law in the United States including the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  While it mainly focusses on the hurdles faced by women, both historically and in the present day, in pursuit of a legal career it opens up a wider discussion on gender inequality and the preconceived notion that only women need to focus on both a career and family.

Overall, there is an ever-increasing backlog of documentaries relating to the legal system for you to enjoy but these five may just provide you with something to take into your own legal career.  Happy watching.

Project Coordinator Sara Sparrow works as a technical writer for Do my assignment and Academized taking part in consultation and conferences about technology and marketing.  In her spare time, she also contributes articles to online magazines and blogs like Essay for sale.

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