Sunday 9 March 2014

Dressed for success at the expense of ethics?

Suits has become my all time favourite law show – it is sleek, funny, sophisticated and engaging. The complex characters draw you in to the high stakes world of corporate litigation. If you haven't had the pleasure of viewing this series, you can check out the trailer here

Harvey Specter, Mike Ross, Rachel Zane – these young lawyers are impeccably dressed and live for the law and for their careers, but the question that lingers from week to week (apart from the ongoing Mike/Rachel relationship) is whether the blurry ethical decisions they regularly make are worth it. The premise of the show itself is based in this murky grey area: with the central character, Mike having no actual law qualifications at all (having not actually attended law school or passed the bar), and yet by deception practices law (with great success) under his mentor Harvey Specter. Albeit, his photographic memory, genius intelligence, and dogged determination earns him some credence in the practice of law, yet his deceit keeps him in a constant panic of being found out. 

Thankfully for Mike, Harvey lives in the ethically grey – and together they use their particular legal skills sets to serve the best interests of their clients. Despite the ethical issues they often skirt around (misrepresenting facts in negotiations, not passing on information to clients, lying) we love their transgressive ways because they are usually acting to serve their clients.

As viewers, we love the conflict created by these murky situations. It is these ethically grey decisions that compel us to watch each episode – to see how and why the characters will respond to difficult situations – to see what crazy strategy will work for each character – and to see how these decisions impact on the bromance between Mike and Ross. 

But... at what point do we no longer appreciate or approve of the characters blurring the lines between ethics and morality? To what extent is it ok for a lawyer to transgress the ethical norms of the profession? Have you thought any action of either Mike or Harvey has gone too far? Let me know your thoughts?

By the way – a big shout out to my law and pop culture class who have begun their adventure into the world of law on the screen!