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Amoral Attorney

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"A lawyer with his briefcase can steal more than a hundred men with guns."
Vito Corleone, The Godfather

For every do-gooding Crusading Lawyer out there, there is their inverted opposite: the Amoral Attorney, an asshole who is some combination of opportunistic, arrogant, cynical, and slimy. They worship the ideas of Niccolò Machiavelli as gospel and decide to put them to work in the field of law. If they're defense attorneys, they really do not care how evil the Corrupt Corporate Executive / Sleazy Politician / Mob Boss / Criminal Mastermind they serve is, as long as the money comes flowing in. Meanwhile, prosecutor-style amoral attorneys pursue glory and a political career from closing cases and convicting defendants, while little details like whether the person being tried is actually guilty are considered irrelevant. Whether they're a slick, two-faced charmer lying through their teeth, or an intimidating bully with a law degree, the amoral attorney is a big threat to our heroes. It doesn't matter that you captured the criminal, exposed the MegaCorp's dangerous scheme, or gotten the decisive evidence to acquit the defendant, if that criminal just walks out of court a free man the next day, or the corporation's misdeeds are crafted to somehow be actually legal, or the evidence just so happens to "disappear".

In general, amoral attorneys won't flagrantly violate the law themselves. Their legitimacy in polite company is one of their strengths, after all. They'll absolutely break the spirit of the rules, though, and cheerfully look the other way as they encourage perjury, "forget" to hand over evidence if not destroy it outright or subtly encourage their clients or underlings to intimidate (or worse) witnesses hostile to their case. If they do decide to directly engage in criminal activity to further their goals, expect this revelation to come up in the finale.

There's a few rough varieties out there:

  • The least egregious ones are simply very effective lawyers working for very bad people - which means that to some audiences, they too must be bad, by an inversion of the Good Lawyers, Good Clients standard. Besides, the audience already knows that the client is guilty, so why defend them at all? This is where the usual real-life disclaimer comes in that in an adversarial system (as The Other Wiki explains), lawyers are supposed to do this. Still, when their client is a sociopathic mass murderer and the lawyer's best defense is to suggest that the Heartwarming Orphan might be the real culprit, the audience may still be unsympathetic. They might be a Rules Lawyer at times, but probably don't do anything wildly unethical, and are usually merely a Punch-Clock Villain who could have been a Punch-Clock Hero if hired by someone else.
  • The next step downward are probably still working for bad people, but are absolutely willing to play dirty tricks the lawyer above wouldn't. They'll hide evidence, tell friendly witnesses what lies would help their case the most, slander the prosecution's witnesses in the media, intimidate the jury, and more. If the judge keeps allowing such shenanigans even after getting caught repeatedly, this might be a Kangaroo Court.
  • Evil prosecutors just want to score convictions and aren't deterred by any ethical concerns that suggest they work in the interest of justice, not merely getting wins. They might work side-by-side with any corrupt cops on the force to doctor whatever evidence is needed to close the case or to suppress any evidence that casts doubt on the defendant's culpability. Sometimes they're just in it for the money, but other times, they want influence: flashy court victories will further their career, and perhaps they'll even get elected the next Hanging Judge or Antagonistic Governor. (The other option is a Lawful Stupid zealot who genuinely believes that cheating in service of gaining convictions is a greater good action because it's stopping perceived criminals, although that's less amoral and rather a malfunctioning moral compass.)
  • The worst tend to be "criminal advisor" types playing lawyerly versions of The Consigliere. They're knee-deep in some sort of evil activity and try to ensure that the Corrupt Politicians and mob bosses get away scot-free. Their specialty is often in how to put a legitimate sheen on today's evil plan - sure, that factory dumped all its toxic sludge into the local river, but we sold that factory and all its debts off to a separate shell corporation that has no assets last month. Too bad, you can't come after us about that. Sure, they'll go to court to defend their clients when the day comes, too, but they've been working with Team Evil the whole time. Moreover, these attorneys tend to overlap with the aforementioned trope, since many politicians are lawyers by trade.

In general, expect media to include a lot more courtroom scenes of the amoral attorney at work than would be the case in real life. The vast majority of criminal cases are plea-bargained, and the majority of civil cases are either dropped or settled without an actual trial, so more realistic media will include some scenes of the Amoral Attorney drafting unfair contracts, pointing out loopholes in laws, filing motions, sending every error committed by Our Heroes to the Obstructive Bureaucrat, and other pre-trial activities.

A very classic beat in legal dramas will have a young lawyer confronted with a choice between a high-paying but amoral position working for an evil corporation, mobbed-up law firm, or dystopian government... or a low-paying job for an advocacy group or as a public defender. Evil Pays Better, at least in fiction. If there were two friends confronting this choice in the backstory, expect that they chose oppositely, and will surprisingly meet again in today's trial.

Since most Amoral Attorneys work for hire, some stories might include a spicy twist if the protagonists somehow scrape up enough money to hire one. Can be especially fitting for settings with very corrupt legal systems where the only way to take down certain foes is to use their own weapons against them and to find an attorney willing to bend some rules and deliver some overdue Laser-Guided Karma.

Entire books have been written about legal ethics, but the obligatory disclaimer goes here that fiction is very different from reality, most notably in that in fiction, the audience might already "know" that the defendant is innocent or guilty. But in real life, that isn't true, or else we wouldn't need courts at all! In adversarial systems, the logic is that the only way for the innocent-person-who-looks-guilty to receive fair representation is for lawyers to defend all clients, even those who look guilty. Such lawyering might even be considered Lawful Good. (If you're curious, there's civil law jurisdictions as well that often use Inquisitorial systems in court, where the defense attorney might be less bound to zealously advocate for their client.)

The Amoral Attorney is generally more competent and outwardly respectable than the Ambulance Chaser, a much crazier flavor of unethical and self-serving lawyer who files Frivolous Lawsuits and is usually Played for Laughs. See also Evil Lawyer Joke, which originated from how widespread this kind of attorney is in fiction. To meet his opponent, see Crusading Lawyer. For another courtroom villain, see Hanging Judge. The Persecuting Prosecutor is the Amoral Attorney working for the state.

No Real Life Examples, Please! We don't want to get sued.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. One of these attacks Togusa on the stand after he shoots a rich cyborg kid, trying to make it seem like it was a cold-blooded attack on the cyborg due to Togusa's supposed technophobic beliefs, instead of the fact that the cyborg was in the process of murdering his ex-girlfriend. His Establishing Character Moment is when he suggests several possible defenses before he's even interviewed the client on what happened, rather than the client saying what happened and the lawyer suggesting a possible defense based on this information. When Section 9 discover that the lawyer is linked with elements plotting against it, he and his client have a fatal road accident.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, Big Five member Chikuzen Ooka (called Johnson in the dub) is actually immoral. As a lawyer, he told outright lies and used fabricated evidence to win cases. As a duelist, he tried to cheat against Jonouchi but was caught by Noah (the apparent Big Bad of the current arc who claimed to not tolerate cheating until he did so himself) and lost.
  • Not in the original, but in the dub version of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, the Pro Duelist called X was also an Amoral Attorney. He didn't use any actual illegal methods, but it is hinted that he would use any legal loophole he could find.

  • Marriage A-la-Mode: In the first painting of the series, Silvertongue, one of the legal counsellors drawing up the paperwork for the marriage contract, shows as much regard for the sanctity of marriage as the simultaneously engaged and unengaged couple. As he sharpens his quill, he begins romancing the bride-to-be in a Pose of Silence, clearly sensing that he could be on to a good thing by getting into the bed of a rich yet unhappily married woman and thus living a life of luxury at her and especially her husband's expense. (She, meanwhile, is happy to have a sexual partner who is not a vain, syphilitic fop.)

    Comic Books 
  • All-Star Comics: Several members of the Justice Society of America come across victims of the attorney Hartford Dormley who helps run a couple of rackets, and uses Professor Elba's Insanity Serum to keep them from being uncovered by using it on his associates and clients alike preventing them from giving confessions or talking with authorities. He ends up captured and turned over to the police by the JSA.
  • Asterix: Played with in Asterix and the Laurel Wreath. Their lawyer isn't evil but doesn't care about getting them off and is taking the case for publicity. He gets into an argument with the Prosecutor when they start their speech with "Delenda Carthago Est" as he planned to. Then again, Asterix doesn't care either and actively torpedoes his own case and Obelix doesn't really grasp the situation.
  • Astro City: Downplayed in one story; attorney Vincent Oleck successfully defended a mobster's son (who had brained his date to death in the middle of a crowded bar) by applying superhero tropes (mind control, evil duplicates, Comic Book Death, etc.) to the case, not because he actually believed that was what was going on, but because he wanted to see if he could get away with it. However, it's explicitly mentioned that defending a client as best he can (and irrespective of their innocence) is his job, and when the mob boss starts showering him with gifts and offers him an, ahem, life-long position, he realizes he's messed up good. Ultimately, he comes to realize that his mistake was in thinking of his job as a game that he was supposed to win, rather than as a ritual intended to keep society functioning (and... darker things at bay). His narration even shows some relief that in the time between the trial of the son and the current day, Astro City law has adjusted and requires actual (if fantastic) proof to said fantastic claims.
  • Batman: Some continuities (such as the Batman newspaper strip, and Two-Face: Year One) have Harvey Dent turn into this very, very briefly after the acid hits and before he descends into Cartoonish Supervillainy. His origin in the New 52 has him indulging in this, violating attorney-client privilege in order to get the crime family he was family lawyer to (at the behest of Batman and Gordon) in order to get them convicted.
  • Batman: Gordon of Gotham: Detectives Kitch and Salucci investigate a robbery ring where the thieves are selling the goods back to the insurance company using George Mellonshaw, a lawyer who knows Kitch (a former lawyer himself), as a go-between. Kitch initially defends the man, saying he has a duty to his clients, but this goes out the window with the reveal that Mellonshaw is masterminding the robberies and betraying his legitimate clients.
    Kitch: I'm glad I became a cop, Mellonshaw. I'm proud of it. It means I don't become something like you.
  • Birds of Prey: Mentioned briefly in one story arc. The Twelve, a group of brothers named after the Chinese Zodiac (with Rabbit acting as their spokesman and leader), each with near Shiva-level martial arts talent, are sent to defend a shipment of drugs to Gotham. The Birds of Prey engage them until Lady Blackhawk renders the whole fight meaningless by blowing up the drug shipment with her fighter jet. Having failed their mission, the Twelve surrender:
    Rabbit: We have at our disposal creatures far more ruthless and terrible than even ourselves. Lawyers.
  • In one underground comic, the marriage of "Dino-Boy" (yes, he's a human with a dinosaur body or a dinosaur with a human head) falls apart. They both hire lawyers — who happen to be partners, and they decide to milk both spouses for all they're worth.
  • Disney Ducks Comic Universe:
    • The classic Carl Barks story "The Golden Helmet" (and Don Rosa's sequel "The Lost Charts of Columbus") features corrupt lawyer Sylvester Sharkey working with con man Azure Blue. Barks wrote his story shortly after he'd been through an ugly divorce with his second wife, and was presumably not a big fan of lawyers at the time.
    • Just one year later, Barks would introduce Chisel McSue, in The Horseradish Story. He gleefully uses an old bit of fine print to try to swindle Scrooge out of his fortune, sends Scrooge and his nephews on a crazy, seemingly impossible quest to try to retain his money, and then — when it looks like he might actually succeed — drops all pretenses of being a Rules Lawyer and heads out in a speedboat to kill them all. He even turns on his accomplice in the end, to get rid of any witnesses.
  • Dungeon: The Early Years: Eustache cheats on his girlfriend, is known more for his parties than his law practice, and will get mad if you outright don't follow any law he tries to circumvent. When xenophobic rabbit people sell his girlfriend to a whorehouse, the hero says they should have their throat slit, Eustache takes it as a just sentence.
    Hyacinthe: Eustache, wait, that was just a figure of speech.
    Eustache: (slitting a rabbit's throat) Those who live lawlessly must face the consequences.
  • The Flash: In The Trial of the Flash, N.D. Redik is a famous and unscrupulous defense attorney who sees the Flash trial as a chance to boost his career to permanent glory. When the Flash turns to other lawyers, Redik tries to have them killed to force Flash to employ him.
  • Gotham by Gaslight: The series has Jacob Packer, Bruce Wayne's Honorary Uncle as a close friend of Thomas Wayne, who defends Bruce in court when he is framed as Jack the Ripper. He's also the real Ripper, due to Martha Wayne spurning his advances, and the one who framed Bruce. Too bad he didn't tell the highwayman to kill Bruce too if he was with them, and that he resumed killing after returning to Gotham City. Batman exposing him, and Batman existing in the first place, were both ultimately his own fault.
  • Green Lantern: Green Lanterns introduces Singularity Jain, an alien/demon/living black hole who might be the most extreme version of this trope in existence. A very literally predatory defense attorney, she approaches people who have nowhere else to turn to, refusing payment and instead asking for a single favor. This favor inevitably ends up being something (usually murder) that drives her client even deeper into despair, until they lose hope completely. It's at this point that she eats them whole, feeding on their despair and pain.
  • Grendel: In one story, a highly successful and brilliant lawyer, whose sole moral lapse is having extramarital relations, is forced to become an Amoral Attorney for Grendel's organization. Grendel goes to some pretty extreme lengths to hire him: he starts by trying to blackmail the lawyer with photos of him and his mistress. The lawyer's response is to immediately confess to his wife, refusing to be blackmailed. Then Grendel threatens to kill his wife and children. That convinces him. The lawyer's life is ruined since everyone around him, his friends and colleagues and family (who leave him), is disgusted by the lawyer defending the kind of scum that works for Grendel.
  • Iron Man: Tony Stark's former lawyer Bert Hindel plays this trope entirely straight. Tony ordered Hindel, as the head of his legal department, to use the courts to stop Justin Hammer from using technology Hammer had stolen from Stark Enterprises. Hindel did such a poor job of representing Stark's interests that Tony finally fired him. Hindel would later return as the defense lawyer for Stark's Stalker with a Crush, Kathy Dare, who was facing attempted murder charges for shooting Tony. He used all sorts of sleazy legal tactics to make Stark look bad and portray Kathy as being under considerable mental stress. As a way of getting revenge on Stark, he also planned to write a juicy tell-all book with Kathy about what Tony was supposedly really like. Fortunately, Hindel didn't do any better than when he was the head of Stark's legal team, and ended up getting Kathy committed to a sanitarium.
  • Marvel Adventures: Super Heroes #9 has an attorney who was hired by Dormammu, of all people, to help him Take Over the World while abiding by the rules the Ancient One's Leonine Contract forced on him.
  • Mickey Mouse Comic Universe:
    • Sylvester Shyster, a recurring villain who attempted to cheat Minnie Mouse out of her inheritance in his first story.
    • Played with one of the times Mickey had to prove he wasn't a criminal: as his original attorney was utterly incompetent, to try and get himself cleared he accepted to switch attorney to John Rattinger when he offered in spite of knowing he was a former convicted gangster who had studied law after serving his sentence, but Rattinger proved to not only have gone honest but to be extremely competent, and just as ruthless as he was as a bank robber. Then played straight when Rattinger exposes the prosecutor as the culprit - and the prosecutor reveals his accomplices were his assistant and Mickey's initial attorney.
  • Shazam!: This is subverted in the last chapter of The Monster Society of Evil as Mister Mind is being tried, his lawyer, who he knows to be a slick Amoral Attorney, hears of Mister Mind's crimes and tells Mister Mind he hopes he gets the electric chair.
  • There is an attorney in Sin City that only appears in one panel where he tells Marv that if he doesn't sign a confession, The Mafia will kill his mother. He gets his arm broken in three places.
  • Strangers at the Heart's Core: Shyla Kor-Onn's unnamed and supremely smug attorney, who accepts testimonies of untrustworthy sources, changes his statement constantly, objects to the mere fact of the defense presenting evidence… for the sake of helping a criminal convict Supergirl.
  • Teen Titans: In the New Teen Titans story arc Who Is Donna Troy?, Dick and Donna learn that the attorney for the orphanage Donna's mother gave her to was using his information to blackmail and frighten new adoptive parents to give up their kids to him, thinking him to be legit, and then selling the kids on the black market.
  • Top 10: Shark-man lawyer, Mr. Larry "Frenzy" Fischmann is a prime example. When one of his clients commits suicide in police custody, all he cares about is his fee. When Gograh shows up at the Top Ten, causing the earth to shake with each footstep, Frenzy says he'll sue the department if he gets whiplash from falling down in their building. At one point, Alexei "Spaceman" Glushko makes a comment about his people not having evolved in millions of years - Frenzy takes offense and cites this as one of many common misconceptions about sharks. Spaceman wasn't talking about sharks. Fischmann is a senior partner at Metavac, Fischmann, and Goebbels, by the way. That's Eddie Goebbels, a hypnotist.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Wonder Woman (Charles Moulton): Simon Slikery is an American lawyer and white supremacist who helps disguise a Nazi invasion attempt.
    • Vol 2: Donna Milton is a lawyer who knowingly and gleefully works for organized crime and sleeps with one of her immoral clients. She also claims to have killed someone herself in her past and is actually Circe in disguise as a mortal, meaning she's killed many.

    Comic Strips 
  • Steve Dallas from Bloom County was clearly amoral, seeing as he defended murderers and other dangerous criminals who were obviously guilty, but he wasn't all too good at it. (And his clients rarely made it easy for him, doing things like threatening the juries and judges in the middle of closing arguments.) And even he didn't like his job much. When defending Bill the Cat for treason and the prosecutor said he wouldn't plea bargain to anything less than "guilty of anti-state activities", Steve laughed, saying that Bill was guilty of high treason, telling the judge to sentence him to the chair so they could all go home. (Of course, Steve was a pretty rotten person in all regards.)
  • During the later years of Chester Gould's run on Dick Tracy, these were a common appearance. The most notorious was Flyface, a man so filthy that flies followed him everywhere. The later introduction of Flyface's family (who, including children, were all similarly disgusting) was apparently enough to get the strip canceled from a couple of papers.
  • In an early Dilbert comic, Dilbert was concerned that a new invention of his might be dangerous, so he decided to seek legal counseling. After explaining his situation to a lawyer, Dilbert asked if he would help. The lawyer replied, "nah, it sounds like I could make more money by suing you."
    • The company lawyer is usually like this, and sometimes downright immoral, and not always towards the side he's representing. In one series of strips, Wally sued them, saying he was being discriminated against because he was bald, nearsighted, and boring; the company lawyer told him he "might have a slight bias" (the lawyer was also bald, nearsighted, and boring) and negotiated a huge settlement in Wally's favor.
  • Played for Laughs in The Far Side. An explorer discovers a tribe of natives and tries to placate them with beads and trinkets. The tribe responds by sending out their fiercest lawyers, who all chant "Sue him! Sue him!"
  • This trope is one of the main themes of Non Sequitur.

    Fan Works 
  • Alien/Species Crossover: Return to LV-426: Carson Blake represents Weyland-Yutani's legal arm at this secret project, and among other things is responsible for using legal maneuvering to secure a human test subject from which to hatch their first Xenomorph. Subverted when Blake actually turns out to be relatively decent, fairly compensating the man's family for his participation in an almost certainly lethal experiment, and making sure he's giving completely informed consent. Blake is also responsible for shielding Boone, Lise, and Pike from General Phelps' overreach of authority.
  • Be the Sea Dweller Lowblood has an original charachter called Cherna Shapka, a Lawful Evil legislacerator. Her first priority is the law, not justice; and her second is profit. She does not see these two as conflicting interests. Her third priority is everything else. Thus she is a very sleazy person, often and openly helping criminals in ways that seem like they should be, but are not actually illegal. Troll law sure is weird.
    As a legislacerator, your job is to defend the law. Your duty is to track, arrest, and convict criminals. You perform your duty flawlessly, and you have spent much of your career with the highest arrest and conviction rates of any living legislacerator.
    You fight to defend the law at the expense of defending justice.
    And at the expense of defending morality.
  • Chrysalis Visits The Hague: The protagonist himself courts this idea, being willing to go a long way to stave off the conviction of his client, a genocidal Emotion Eater.
  • Dirty Sympathy: Klavier and Apollo are one, half the time. While they do their part to find the truth and the people actually guilty put away, they framed Daryan and Kristoph for crimes they didn't commit and manipulated the witnesses and defendants. Although this was part of a "Strangers on a Train"-Plot Murder to get Daryan, who abused his wife, and Dirty Cop and Kristoph, a Bad Boss Amoral Attorney and poisoner put away and prevent them from killing Klavier and Apollo. Which is ironic, seeing how Klavier was the first prosecutor in Ace Attorney to avert this trope.
  • The Empty Turnabout has Athena Cykes. She killed a person but got away with an acquittal, and is pretty famous as a defense attorney. She also wants to take a case solely to gain more fame.
  • Harry Potter and the Nightmares of Futures Past: Mr. Weasley hires a man named Mr. Bendricks as an advocate for Harry's custody hearing to take him away from the Dursleys. Harry discovers that Bendricks has been bribed by Lucius Malfoy to sway things in his favor.
  • King (MHA) has Fujimori Hiroji, who serves as U.A.'s secret weapon when it comes to particularly tricky cases. Namely those that threaten to tarnish the school's sterling reputation. As Shouto puts it, he only gets involved when his assigned clientele have done something seriously bad, on the same level as how Endeavor treated him and his mother... and U.A. wants to ensure that they get away with it.
  • The Kim Possible fic "Law and Disorder" has Kim face legal troubles when Doctor Dementor tries to sue her for stealing the transportulator, with Dementor’s lawyer being Ron’s cousin Reuben. Reuben is initially eager to take the case to show that he’s willing to prosecute anybody in the name of the law, but when the case culminates in Ron being sent to juvenile detention for a couple of weeks (as opposed to Kim going to prison for years), Reuben’s boss at the District Attorney's office fires him, observing that nobody is going to trust Reuben as a lawyer when he prosecuted two kids, one of which he is related to, who were just trying to do the right thing. The D.A. explicitly states that the fact that Dementor owned the stolen equipment is basically irrelevant when he was obviously going to use it to commit crimes.
  • Motion Practice: Loki Laufeyson is a slick defense attorney with a reputation for getting anybody off if they have the money.
  • A Supe of a Man: While not remarkably amoral, Mary is willing to bend the rules and falsify documents so she can claim relations with a potential superhero. While she's mostly helpful to Clark, she is complicit in covering up the corruption of the Supes and is prepared to sweep any of her nephew's wrongdoing under the rug.
  • Synthetic Bottled Sunlight follows an emotionally exhausted Princess Celestia attempting to outwit a litany of corrupt lawyers and bureaucrats after she is found unfit to rule.
  • In Three Strikes, the prosecution makes it clear that they want the death penalty for Trigger over shooting down Harling’s plane and claims that the former president would have supported such a decision. However, her defense attorney happens to be Blaze, and would have known Harling personally, advocates against this and is able to get Trigger to be assigned to a penal unit instead.
  • Vengeance of Dawn features Original Character Hardy Bloom, a brilliant but infamous young lawyer whose reputation is such that it's believed she could talk Nightmare Moon herself off of all charges. She's working behind the scenes to depose Twilight Sparkle and make her old friend Breaking Dawn a princess.
  • The Modern AU Fic A Vicious, Vengeful Sea features Petyr Baelish as Ramsay Bolton's lawyer. His entire strategy boils down to "Paint the teenaged Sex Slave as an unstable addict who took advantage of her rapist". Later chapters reveal he's the one who sold Jeyne Poole to Ramsay in the first place.

    Film — Animated 
  • Bee Movie: Defense for the Honey Corporations, Layton T. Montgomery. Technically he is representing the human race and their use of honey (albeit without consent of the bees), but he enshrines the trope with his underhanded courtroom theatrics, character assassination and even engaging in a Wounded Gazelle Gambit when he is losing the case.
  • The Bob's Burgers Movie: Mr. Fischoeder's cousin, Grover, who appeared in some episodes of the show, is revealed to have murdered a carny who worked at Wonder Wharf in order to frame his cousin and take over Wonder Wharf to knock it down and build a mega-park.
  • Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer: A lawyer by the name of I.M. Slime is more than willing to work with Cousin Mel to sue and frame Santa Claus for the hit and run of Grandma and rid the world of a holiday icon, just for a lot of money.
  • After proving that the young Linguini is the rightful heir to Gusteau's restaurant, the lawyer in Ratatouille is perfectly happy to advise his client on how to cheat the boy out of his inheritance.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Anatomy of a Murder, has Paul Biegler, the protagonist. It's intentionally left ambiguous if he's simply very cynical or a genuine Amoral Attorney, but he has no problems acting as though he is the latter in order to help his case.
  • The most despicable character in the gangster picture Angels with Dirty Faces is a cowardly lawyer named Jim Frazier. Frazier willingly hides 100 grand stolen from a bank by a client of his and then backstabs that client at every opportunity to keep the money for himself. He uses it to buy off cops, politicians, and journalists. Whenever he's confronted on his crooked ways, he lies and lies and makes empty promises before thinking of how to backstab them the first chance he gets.
  • O Auto da Compadecida: The Devil is characterized this way. He wants to punish the sinners and the wicked without a just trial, and when forced to play district attorney in the main characters' trial, he is trying his best to get them as screwed as possible.
  • Big Stan: Subverted, then played straight. Stan's attorney, Mal, refuses to bribe the judge, so Stan fires him and hires another lawyer whose billboard says he'll do anything. That lawyer does bribe the judge and also makes some politically incorrect remarks about Romani and Mexicans. Later, he tries to seduce the forewoman of the jury to get Stan released early. He also states that he's likely to end up in prison himself someday and is at peace with that.
  • Lampshaded with an Evil Lawyer Joke in the film Blade II. Admittedly, the lawyer in question does work for vampires.
    Blade: You're human?
    Kounen: Barely. I'm a lawyer.
  • Blazing Saddles: Hedley Lamarr is the State Attorney General. And he self-identifies as evil.
  • The Borrowers (1997): Ocious Potter is an arrogant, greedy, and evil real estate lawyer who lies to the Lenders about their house lacking a will just so he can take their property for his own gain to build luxury apartments in its place. When he discovers the secret home of the Borrowers, he is determined to get rid of them by all means necessary.
  • James Donovan's colleagues in Bridge of Spies, who seem more interested in creating the illusion of a defense for accused Soviet spy Rudolf Abel than actually defending him. The East German attorney Wolfgang Vogel is even worse (combining this trope with Historical Villain Upgrade) since he's keeping a man he knows to be innocent solely to help East Germany get a leg up in the Soviet hierarchy.
  • A main theme of A Civil Action is that amorality is a necessary quality of successful lawyers, because becoming too involved in their clients’ personal tragedies may cloud their judgment and make them less effective. The most amoral and competent attorney wins even if his client is guilty, but the main character proudly states that even if at the end he is financially ruined taking the case has made him a better man.
  • Conspiracy (2001) has perhaps one of the worst examples. During the Wannsee Conference, during which the Final Solution to the Jewish question was devised, several key participants were lawyers. Including members of the Justice Ministry. The most revolting one (who's also a lawyer) throws in an Evil Lawyer Joke for good measure.
  • In Death Spa, Michael's attorney Tom is secretly conspiring with the spa manager Priscilla to drive Starbody out of business so its competitors can buy it up at a bargain price.
  • Death Warrant: The organ harvesting operation in the prison was masterminded by a man high up in the legal system.
  • Deep Cover:
    • David Jason (Jeff Goldblum) is a drug lawyer who dreams of setting up his own operation producing synthetic drugs.
    • Betty is one of David's partners in his synthetic drug scheme and is also a lawyer who does money laundering for the cartel.
  • In The Devil's Advocate, Satan himself runs an entire corrupt legal office with global connections, composed of immoral humans and his own demons, as part of a plot to drive the world to apocalypse by providing every Card-Carrying Villain in the world with the best legal assistance in existence. An explicit example is the protagonist, Kevin Lomax: while he does retain some moral qualms against defending a pedophile at the beginning of the movie, he more or less completely eschews them. After he defeats the devil and is revived, he loses the "amoral", and risks disbarment to expose his pedophile client.
  • Charles McCarter in Diary of a Mad Black Woman is revealed to have gotten quite a bit of his money from defending rich criminals who were obviously guilty.
  • An interesting one pops up in Ernest Goes to Camp where Blatz, the amoral attorney, also happens to be the Token Good Teammate out of Big Bad Krader and The Dragon Bronk. Not that he's particularly a nice guy as he willingly works for people he knows are doing some pretty immoral stuff, but he's a shining angelic beacon compared to the two bastards he works under as he at least encourages them to always take proper legal venues to get what they want (though he begrudgingly goes along with their illegal and less tactful activities). He eventually turns his back on Krader when the man decides to outright shoot Ernest instead of simply calling the police to evict the attacking campers, and eventually admits to the police that Krader got the deed to the land under false pretenses.
  • A much more slimy version, played by the same actor no less, appears in Ernest Goes to Jail as the mob lawyer for the likes of criminals like Rubin Bartlett and Felix Nash, the latter of whom is a murderous womanizing bank-robbing (but incredibly suave) Criminal Doppelgänger of Ernest. Unlike Blatz who does at least follow the law, this guy outright conspires with the two criminals to swap Ernest for Nash, so Ernest will get the chair while Nash will pressure the rest of the jury to find Bartlett innocent. He apparently does this for no reason whatsoever other than it's the only way he can win the case.
  • Eye for an Eye has an interesting case. A man breaks into a house to rape and kill a teenager. The only evidence is a small amount of blood — enough for the prosecution to identify him with their own tests, but not enough for the defense to run tests of their own. He gets Off on a Technicality, leading to the main plot — the girl's mother suckering the killer into targeting her so she can kill him in self-defense. The part that gets you wondering why we don't kill every lawyer on Earth? The defense was invited to have their own experts participate in testing the blood — they declined. Then they sprung the technicality. They purposefully refused to participate in the investigation so their killer rapist (who already had a record of stalking) could go free. Which is exactly why it doesn't work that way in reality.
  • In both Fletch movies, Fletch is bothered by his ex-wife's incredibly annoying alimony attorney Melvyn Gillette, who he despises almost as much as his ex-wife. (Supposedly, Melvin was able to get a rather unfair settlement in his wife's favor. Fletch gets even with him at the end of the second film, however, when he shows up offering to forego all future alimony payments (and never show his face there again) in exchange for the Belle Isle property, which he believes to be valuable. Fletch, barely able to contain his joy, happily signs over the land, which unbeknownst to Melvin, is worthless and covered with toxic waste due to the events of the movie.
  • Played with in Hugh Lang, Whip's attorney, in Flight. While he quashes Whip's toxicology report with a technicality, despite the fact that he knew it was very much accurate, and casually mentions that the dead flight crew members "don't matter" (due to workers' compensation) he shows open disgust with Whip the first moment they meet regarding his behavior, and backtracks after the "don't matter" comment, saying he meant that legally, the airline is not at risk from them.
  • Discussed and deconstructed in From The Hip. Robin, the main character, is a hotshot defense attorney who realizes he may well be about to put a psychopath back on the streets. He goes to his boss for advice. She tells him, gently but firmly, that it's his job to be the Amoral Attorney. He will have to defend guilty clients, he will most likely put awful people back on the streets, and she warns him that, "the wounds will pile up." That's the price of being a well-paid lawyer. She refuses, however, to be cynical about it. As flawed as the legal system is, she still believes in it, and she hopes with each case that "the truth will come out." Robin ends up getting his client to show his guilt — rather explicitly — in front of a jury. He gets a guilty man convicted, but he barely escapes disbarment for his actions. His boss is quietly proud of Robin for finding a way to do the moral thing.
  • In The Ghoul, Professor Morlant's lawyer Broughton is one of the people trying to break into his tomb to steal the jewel.
  • In Illegal (1955), Edward G. Robinson plays Victor Scott, a district attorney who is disgraced when his tenacious prosecuting sends an innocent man (a young DeForest Kelley!) to the electric chair. Scott becomes a criminal defense attorney — and a damn good one — but unwittingly becomes tangled up with the affairs of a local mobster. Though Robinson gets away with some antics that'd never fly in a real courtroom, the film nonetheless does a fantastic job explaining the very real dilemmas presented by criminal defense.
  • Juncture: Shaver, the defense attorney who's Anna's last target in the film, defended a school shooter with the claim that video games made him do it, getting murder charges reduced to voluntary manslaughter, and he is portrayed as a loud-mouthed, arrogant guy who doesn't care if a client is guilty at all. She can't kill him in the end though, when he shows her photos of his kids.
  • Donald Genarro in Jurassic Park (1993), though much more lacking in morals than in the original novel. Highlighted when he abandons the kids when the T. rex shows up, only to then be eaten by said rex.
  • Sofie Fatale in Kill Bill was O-Ren Ishii's lawyer, second-in-command, and best friend, which pretty much meant she was the Tokyo Yakuza's best attorney. And you really couldn't have that position unless you were okay with having blood on your hands. In fact, the Bride saw her at the original wedding chapel massacre, likely to assist O-Ren, casually talking on a cell phone as the bloodshed was happening.
  • The senior lawyers and lawmakers in the Legally Blonde movies and novels. In the musical, one of them even gets Blood in the Water, a Villain Song explaining the Amoral Attorney POV.
  • Fletcher Reede from Liar Liar starts like this, especially in the deleted scene where he successfully acquits an armed robber (which is referred to in passing in the actual film).
    • Fletcher's boss, Miranda, is established as this right away in her first scene. She's only interested in hiring lawyers that lie their way to winning. In fact, people who turn out to be an Amoral Attorney are actually a huge turn-on for Miranda, which is why she immediately seduces Fletcher into having sex with her moments after witnessing his lying skills.
  • Little Sweetheart gives this as an upside that they killed Robert Burger, seeing as they don't gotta pay a public defender, clearly thinking very little of said defender, as he would have defended a bank robber and accused child murderer (he's innocent).
  • Linda from Madea Goes to Jail. She pads her cases with other previous cases, thus getting the people she's convicting more time than they are supposed to get. She gets a girl seventeen years in prison for two counts of prostitution when only four are allowed. She gets fired and she also gets arrested and left at the altar. And the worst part? The prostitute case is just because her fiance was spending more time concerned about an old friend in trouble than focusing on their upcoming wedding.
  • Man on Fire. Jordan Kalfus, Samuel Ramos' lawyer, stole the ransom money before its delivery to the kidnappers. Ramos kills him for this when he finds out.
  • Michael Clayton (2007) deconstructs this trope several times. The Designated Villain is this but is a Punchclock Villain who is extremely neurotic and edgy off the clock. One of the main characters does a Heel–Face Turn from this at the beginning of the movie, the protagonist does the same by the end.
  • The Mighty Ducks: Gordon Bombay is a deconstruction. He is very good at winning cases, but his methods and attitude (including but not limited to seducing a court reporter for information) leave his boss increasingly disgusted at having to defend him, and antagonizes judges and prosecutors he should be building relationships with. When he gets arrested for a DUI charge, the judge (whom he has argued in front of before) is all too keen to throw the book at him, and the only thing that keeps him out of prison is some deft social engineering from his boss.
  • A Murder of Crows: The focus of the killings and the movie's central Aesop. All the victims are criminal defense attorneys who'd been targeted for not caring about whom their clients hurt, only winning, as the film condemns.
  • Official Secrets: Crown Prosecutor Ken Macdonald is, like the rest of the British government in this film, Just Following Orders. At the end of the film, Ben Emmerson calls him out on leaving his client Katharine Gun in suspense for most of a year (Which was done to make an example of her), only to abruptly drop all charges in the first five minutes of the trial after Ben subpoenas a government legal opinion that the Iraq War was unlawful.
  • In Peppermint, the attorney defending the gunmen that killed Riley North's family has no qualms working with drug dealers, to the point of using Cartel money to try to buy North's silence before the gunmen go to trial.
  • Planes, Trains and Automobiles - Neal Page (Steve Martin) tries to bribe a man to get into his cab. The man finally says that he will give it for $50. But when Neal is about to give him the money, he says a man who will pay $50 for a cab would certainly pay $75.
    Neal: All right. $75. You're a thief!
    New York Lawyer: Close, I'm an attorney.
  • Gangster Chu Tao's Lawyer from Police Story, but don't worry, Jackie Chan beats up the lawyer and the criminal he defends at the end of the film.
  • In Primal Fear (1996), Martin Vail (Richard Gere) beautifully deconstructs this trope.
    • On the cynical hand, he knows that guilty people often have loads of money to spend on expensive legal aid.
      Martin Vail: First thing that I ask a new client is "Have you been saving up for a rainy day? Guess what? It's raining."
    • On the idealistic hand, he believes in the system and its ability to protect the innocent from wrongful punishment.
      Martin Vail: I believe in the notion that people are innocent until proven guilty. I believe in that notion because I choose to believe in the basic goodness of people. I choose to believe that not all crimes are committed by bad people. And I try to understand that some very, very good people do some very bad things.
    • And on the realistic hand, the fact that the system is designed to place the protection of the innocent over the punishment of the guilty means that, inevitably, more than a few will get off scott free - Aaron Stampler is only able to get away with his insanity plea with Vail's assistance. A grisly multiple murderer thus ducks the needle.
      Aaron Stampler: Don't be like that, Marty. We did it, man. We fucking did it. We're a great team, you and me. You think I could've done this without you?
  • Promising Young Woman: Jordan was once a defense attorney who specialized in defending accused rapists, using any means necessary, and he bullied Cassie's friend Nina to drop her complaint. He openly admits to getting off hundreds and was rewarded for doing so. Later he had a revelation about how terrible this was, and is wracked with guilt.
  • Reap the Wild Wind: King Cutler, the murderous head wrecker, is also an attorney and defends Jack when he's on trial for wrecking the Southern Cross, a crime which Jack is guilty of. He then bullies Loxi when she's on the stand and tries to frame Steve for his crimes.
  • The titular character in Roman J. Israel, Esq. becomes one of these after he becomes disillusioned with being a Crusading Lawyer, deciding to be exclusively concerned with money.
  • Abe Greenberg in The Hot Rock. What he does with information given to him in confidence would be unethical (and borderline illegal) regardless of who his client was. But to do it to his own son...?
  • In Saw 3D Bobby Dagen pretends to be a Jigsaw survivor to make some quick money and in addition to his best friend Cale, who came up with the idea for this charade, he has a publicist named Nina and a lawyer named Suzanne. Since Suzanne was Bobby's lawyer during this scheme, handling the legal work, she counts as this trope as she knew she was defending his lies for money.
  • In Scanners II: The New Order, Commander Forrester makes himself a public favorite by dispatching a corrupt lawyer who works for drug kingpins.
  • Se7en, a movie about a Serial Killer who takes his inspiration from the Seven Deadly Sins, uses a lawyer as the victim for greed. As the killer tells the detectives, "You both must have secretly been thanking me for that one."
    • The killer's own attorney appears at one point and appears less than thrilled to be working for this client, but does his job negotiating on behalf of his client (even using the leverage of bad PR for the police if they refuse the deal when there are more unknown victims out there).
  • The Big Bad of Shotgun (1989) is a lawyer who does not only dabble in criminal undertakings but also gets his jollies by donning an all-leather outfit and beating up prostitutes within inches of their life.
  • Zigzagged in Spotlight with Eric MacLeish. He represents abuse victims against the church, but profits when those cases are paid off and buried. When Robby angrily confronts him about that, Eric throws back that he found twenty abusers in Boston alone, just through victims calling him, and he sent all the details to the Globe, which did nothing with that information.
    Robby: I want those names tomorrow.
    Eric: Check your goddamn clips, Robby.
    • Mitch Garabedian, in contrast, is a straight-arrow Crusading Lawyer. Though he's not above tipping off a Journalist about where they can find some evidence, which is morally correct but legally a little dubiousnote .
  • In A Study in Scarlet, lawyer Thaddeus Merrydew is described by Holmes as being the 'blackmail king of London'. He is also head of the Scarlet Ring and conspires with Captain Pyke to murder the other members so they can split the total proceeds of the crime between themselves.
  • The Tattered Dress: Jim Blane is one by his own account. Using his silver tongue to get clients off when he knows they’re guilty is his whole thing, so the Restons aren’t a first.
  • True Believer: Roger Baron feels Eddie Dodd has become this by the time of the film, due to making a living defending drug dealers after having fought for radical causes in the past. Eddie denies it and says opposing the war on drugs is a worthy cause too, though it's pretty clear he's fallen a long way from his glory days. It turns out Robert Reynard really is one, since he framed a man to protect his source, apparently without any qualms.
  • In The Verdict, both Galvin and Cancannon are willing to resort to tactics of questionable morality, though they both also show a dedication to justice.
  • In The Walking Dead (1936), Nolan is one of the top defence attorneys in the city, and secretly a high-ranking member of The Syndicate that controls it. He takes on the job of defending John Ellman specifically so he can ensure Ellman is found guilty and gets the death penalty. After Elllman is brought back to life, he has himself appointed Ellman's guardian so he can keep control of the situation, and attempts to have Ellman committed to a psychiatric institution.
  • Chris in The Woman, though most of his evilness is shown outside the courtroom. His wife even calls him out on it, noting that, as a lawyer, he should know that what he's doing is illegal and could get him thrown in jail.

  • 1Q84: Before being kicked out of the Tokyo Bar Association, Ushikawa was a lawyer who helped the yakuza and other unsavory types get away with money laundering and fraud. He had to take such clients mostly due to the difficulties his ugliness caused in getting normal clients.
  • In Alexis Carew: Mutineer, Alexis is nearly thrown under the bus by her own JAG on a hanging charge because he's more interested in making sure the Navy comes out looking good than in actually defending her. Luckily HMS Hermione's log is provided by a Hanoverese ship that flies in under flag of truce, and she is acquitted after her civilian co-counsel plays it for the court over the JAG's objections.
  • Willie Stark of All the King's Men is this, as well as a thinly-veiled allusion to the controversial Louisiana governor Huey Long. In a unique twist on the trope, he's actually a Well-Intentioned Extremist who believes that he has to play dirty in order to do right by his clients and his constituents, but the moral strain of what he does drives him to alcoholism.
  • Ben Safford Mysteries: There is No Justice features a Supreme Court nominee with some skeletons in his closet. Specifically, in the past, he secretly represented both sides during high-stakes court cases, filing the paperwork for one side under his wife's name.
  • Mr. Tulkinghorn and Mr. Vholes from Bleak House. The sphinx-y, menacing Tulkinghorn relentlessly pursues the secrets of his client, Lady Dedlock, mostly because he derives pleasure from the power knowing such secrets offers him. Vholes is the definition of a slimy lawyer, masquerading under the pretense of efficiency and good faith while milking his client (one of the protagonists) of all his inheritance.
  • Chocoholic Mysteries: Clementine Ripley, the Victim of the Week in Cat Caper. Among other things, she accepted Troy Sheepshanks as a client when he'd been driving drunk and had struck and killed another person; the District Attorney wouldn't even press charges simply because it was her on the opposite side. As a direct result, the man got his license back, drove drunk again, and caused another death, this time of Lee's maternal uncle Phil.
  • Robert Kee from the Classic Singapore Horror Stories short, "Paint It Black", a greedy lawyer and one-half of a Gold Digger working in tandem with the wealthy socialite, Jessica Kwan, in attempting to con the Indian billionaire Gopal Balla of his life savings in exchange for sexual favours. Downplayed that Robert only serves as Jessica's accomplice - it was mostly Jessica's ideas when it comes to arranging for the deaths of Gopal's first two wives, with Robert planning the murders and being Jessica's yes-man.
  • Confessions: St. Augustine's moral decline and study in rhetoric leads him to take a career in law, where (as he says) people excel according to how well they can lie and deceive. His only motive for working in court is to fund his vain sexual escapades. It's no coincidence that after hearing God's voice, Augustine finds it torturous to continue working with law students.
  • Subverted with Consanza from A Conspiracy of Truths. Consanza describes herself as this, and Chant also describes her as this late in the book. She starts out trying to convince Chant to bribe his way out of trouble, but ultimately drops it after he objects. Despite being called lazy by Chant she tries to help in other ways, losing sleep and time with her family in the process. Even when he's sentenced to death, she goes out of her way to fulfill his requests and comfort him, even though she has no obligation to help him anymore.
  • Mr. Slant from Terry Pratchett's Discworld is a lawyer and a zombie. Other zombies, such as Reginald Shoe, can be quite moral, but Slant appears to be motivated only by greed and is quite willing to break the law, or at least bend it into a pretzel. He is also quite quick to abandon his partners in crime when things threaten to go sour. Even his reason for still walking among the living like every other Revenant Zombie is amoral; he refuses to stay in the grave because his family still hasn't paid him fees for the trial in which he defended himself and lost both the case and his head. Slant gets a rare heroic turn in Making Money, where he manages to silence a number of lawyers for the evil Lavish family with a single glare. This might be just to satisfy his own personal pride as the local alpha corpse of Ankh-Morpork's legal profession...
    • For all Slant is never really a good guy, he is very proud of the convoluted, inordinately labyrinthine structure that is Morporkian law. Since he wrote most of it up, it's pretty much his circus with monkeys. So, actually managing to defeat one of his (and/or his clients') schemes with said body of law earns his begrudging respect, no matter the personal loss — his darling baby is still being respected, after all. Having to watch anybody bumble their way through it causing an inordinate mess as they go, however, is the one thing that greatly annoys him: especially if, say, the soon-to-be ex-client didn't follow his advice or, worse, refused to play within the loopholes. The moment the clean-up becomes obviously more costly than his wage, he disengages.
  • The Dispatcher: Barnes in the sequel. He hires Tony to kill a healthy man off the books so that Resurrective Immortality will transport him back to his home on another continent in time for a tight business deal. This is perfectly true, but Barnes leaves out how the client is also a wanted white-collar criminal who needs to escape the authorities. He also organizes a bank robbery and uses threats of horrific torture, ruin and disgrace to drive his accomplices and two completely innocent people to suicide, while being quite smug about it.
  • The Doctor Who book The Dalek Generation has the 11th Doctor being put on trial on the planet Carthedia for hate crimes against the Daleks, who here are Villains with Good Publicity. He is prosecuted by the Dalek Litigator, who while not using much courtroom antics is a Dalek, and turns out to be the Dalek Time Controller.
  • Alphonse Baker Carr in the Doug Selby novels is an example, but D.A. Selby shows him little malice; he remarks that without defence attorneys defending guilty clients, there wouldn't be trial by jury, but trial by defence attorney.
  • Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas has Rauol Duke's traveling companion, the 300-pound Samoan lawyer Dr. Gonzo. He's greedy and self-indulgent, and spends most of the book out of his mind on drugs. He also gives terrible advice, which mainly consists of advising Duke to do drugs and break the law. He's based on the real-life antipoverty and Latino rights lawyer Oscar Acosta, who was about as wild as Gonzo but dedicated his life to more worthy causes.
  • Full Disclosure: Downplayed with White House Counsel Mark Hennessy and Attorney General Emmett Duparquet.
    • Hennessy (a former divorce lawyer) is sleazy and ambitious in guarding Ericson’s interests (including bribing Ericsson’s old campaign manager to keep his mouth shut) but is portrayed as not quite deserving of the criminal charges that are eventually filed against him.
    • Duparquet is a law-abiding man determined to keep Bannerman from misinterpreting the Constitution. He can also be ambitious, wrathful, and arrogant, and is accused of caring more about the appearance of integrity than actual integrity.
  • John Grisham:
    • Played very, very straight by Patton French, a tort lawyer who becomes a recurring character in Grisham's novels. French serves to embody everything Grisham hates about the American tort system, getting rich off of other peoples' medical misery while screwing his clients. He even appears in The King of Torts, giving aspiring tort lawyers advice on how to wring the most money out of their clients, which leaves the protagonist feeling like he needs to take a shower.
      • Said protagonist unfortunately gets caught up in the greed and files a lawsuit on a drug that he believes to cause benign cancer, and then settles for an amount that makes him incredibly and quickly rich, but also gets the plaintiffs he represents very little. This causes a problem when he is sued for legal malpractice after it turns out that the cancer is very, very malignant, and his former clients start dying and want to punish him for settling too fast for his own benefit. This reversal of fortune causes him to refuse a settlement offer in another case, where he puts his own financial needs above the needs of his clients, which gets him assaulted by those clients. And his reckless charge on other class action suits already caused his legal reinsurance company to drop him because they couldn't cover his exposure, so when the chips fall, he goes from one of the richest, most successful class action lawyers in the country to declaring bankruptcy and running away to try to live in secrecy for the rest of his life. In a period of about 18 months. It's hard to say that Grisham wasn't trying to write some karmic justice for amoral class action lawyers here.
    • Harry Rex Vonner, another recurring Grisham lawyer, isn't above bugging a jury room.
    • The Firm: The titular law firm, Bendini Lambert and Locke, was founded in partnership with a mafia crime family, and most of their activities involve helping the mafia to launder money, plus a small number of legitimate clients for the sake of them maintaining an air of respectability. They also have a Resignations Not Accepted policy and employ Revenge Porn Blackmail and the threat of murder against staff who they think might try and rat them out to the feds.
    • An interesting case in The Rainmaker, where the lawyer in question may have been pushed into amorality: early in the discovery process, protagonist Rudy finds out his phone has been bugged, and suspects that it was done by the defense in his case. He quickly finds out that anything he says on the phone (such as the test case, where he tells his partner that his client wants to settle for a specific amount even though she has no intention of settling) is quickly relayed somehow to the defense team (in the test case, he gets a call within a few hours offering to settle for a little more than the amount he claimed in the call to his assistant). It's never clear if the defense team bugged the phone or the defendant did, but it's clear that the defense team is willing to use the information gained either way, which doesn't make the defense look good at all (and lets Rudy play them for complete fools during jury selection).
  • Gulliver in Gulliver's Travels feels that lawyers are like this, although no actual lawyers are encountered in the novel. His description of law to the Houyhnhnms begins with this: "There was a society of men among us, bred up from their youth in the art of proving, by words multiplied for the purpose, that white is black, and black is white, according as they are paid. To this society all the rest of the people are slaves." He just goes on from there.
  • Joe Pickett: The completely consciousless Clay McCann in Free Fire. He concocts a scheme that will allow him to murder four people who stand in the way of his latest money-making scheme and never stand trial for it. He later tells one of their friends that he shouldn't be upset at him as their murders were nothing personal, but just business.
  • Killing Time: Multiple corrupt city councilmen are lawyers, the district attorney has no interest in justice and Tim’s lawyer friend Ron (although an affable guy who wants to help him out) has been trying to set up a scheme to double tax a neighborhood of down on their luck World War Two veterans in order to get admitted to the local machine.
  • Even British Secretary of State Lord Chesterfield decried these in the Letters to His Son: "But the public lawyers, now, seem to me rather to warp the law, in order to authorize, than to check, those unlawful proceedings of princes and states" (letter 52)
  • Lawrence Block's Martin Ehrengraf would frequently get his clients off by framing and murdering another person. His motto is "every one of my clients is innocent", which he believes so fervently he's willing to sink to any low to prove it.
  • Michael Connelly's character Mickey Haller is a defense attorney who embraces his image as a defender of high-profile and career criminals: he even has a vanity plate on his car reading "NOT GLTY". That said, he sees his role in the criminal justice system as being to keep the prosecutor honest, rather than to get his clients acquitted. It also bites him in the ass in The Lincoln Lawyer: his old client Jesus Menendez (Martinez in the film) really was innocent, but Mickey didn't believe him because he was so used to dealing with guilty clients and persuaded him to plead guilty. By the time he gets out (through Mickey managing to get the real killer caught), he's been infected with HIV from Prison Rape. He also sues Mickey for malpractice and gets him disbarred for several months (left out of the film).
    • He’s gotten in trouble with the bar before for some of his advertising - they made him take down one of his ads saying “Reasonable doubt for a reasonable fee”.
    • Despite being wildly successful, he hates himself on some level for being an Amoral Attorney. But when he tries to turn his life around and run for DA, one of his old clients ends up killing someone while driving under the influence, ruining his chances.
  • Michael Crichton's novel Next features a lawyer, Barry Sindler, who is delighted with the prospect of a genetics-related case because it will take months, increasing his fee. Also, from the same novel, Albert Rodriguez, the Biogen lawyer, who is ready to violate the Burnets' rights by finding loopholes. Sure, an attorney who takes a case because he'll be able to generate a lot of fees is not necessarily amoral. An attorney who purposefully drags out a case to increase the fees he generates is, however.
    Sindler: You've already been tested?
    Diehl: No. I just know how to fake the lab results.
    Barry Sindler sat back in his chair.
  • The 13th century Njal's Saga has an early instance of this trope, if it really could be called a trope back then. When the killers of Njal and his family are sued by Njal's friends, the former enlist the help of the famous lawyer Eyjolf Bolverksson, who subsequently continually tries to invalidate the suit on petty technicalities, and eventually succeeds. Which is an ambivalent outcome because he gets killed for it. Though he is not an attorney in a strict sense (because Old Icelandic law had no such institution), he acts just like one. Strangely, his amorality is not so much demonstrated by his playing on technicalities (which is common tactics), or his support of a guilty party (the killers never deny the deed, which legally is only the usual manslaughter, not murder), but by his acceptance of a gold bracelet as a payment in advance, which is against conventions and perceived as a dishonest act.
  • Earlier in his life, Edgar from the Night Watch (Series) novels was a very successful small-town attorney. Edgar is a Dark Other. Do the math.
  • In No Way to Treat a First Lady, Beth MacMann is represented by the famous trial lawyer Boyce "Shameless" Baylor, who didn't exactly get his nickname from defending sympathetic people and companies.
  • Surprisingly subverted in One of Us is Lying.The lawyers are consummate professionals giving perfectly good advice, which the characters just find impractical to follow. However, their job is to protect their own client, not the rest of the Four, nor to solve the murder. Eli, who works for a non-profit called Until Proven, is downright heroic.
  • Napoleon Chotas in The Other Side of Midnight and its sequel Memories of Midnight specializes in getting wealthy, powerful clients declared not guilty of their crimes — especially when there's a ton of evidence that would support a guilty verdict. In Memories of Midnight, he drinks the poison a woman used to kill her husband to prove to the jury that it wasn't actually poison at all; in truth, it was poison and he barely manages to get his stomach pumped afterward. In The Other Side of Midnight, he is immediately hired by Constantin Demeris to represent his mistress Noelle in her murder trial and does a stunning job of it. However, Constantin has Napoleon lie to Noelle and her lover (the other defendant) that if they plead guilty, they'll get a lighter sentence, when, in fact, they'll be put to death by a firing squad; this is Constantin's way to punish the lovers for crossing him. The sequel reveals Napoleon's regret; he too fell in love with Noelle. Constantin tries to have him killed to hide his crimes, but Napoleon survives to successfully defend him in his own murder trial — and immediately afterward, kills him and himself.
  • Dodson and Fogg, the smiling, polite, and utterly ruthless lawyers in The Pickwick Papers.
  • Annawake Fourkiller, the merciless Cherokee attorney from the novel Pigs in Heaven. She doesn't do much direct lawyering, but she's definitely amoral, with her constant bantering that all white people should be held accountable for the Trail of Tears, her near-stalker-like following of the main character, and attempts to take her daughter away. And, near the end of the novel, when her elderly uncle tells her off, she responds by beating him with a shoe. She does mellow out eventually.
  • Saad X. Saad of Plain Heathen Mischief has a machine in his office that, when a quarter is inserted, spits out a gumball of a random flavor. He tells Joel that it's a metaphor for the justice system—you might not get the gumball you want at first, but you'll get it eventually if you keep putting money in. (Edmund, who has a grudge against the legal system, jimmies the lock with a pocket knife and grabs a free gumball.)
  • Katz in The Postman Always Rings Twice. He manages to get the protagonists acquitted - though he knows that they're guilty of murder - just to win a bet with the prosecutor.
  • Rob Roy: Attorney Joseph Jobson is a jerkass, self-serving bigot who is more interested in suing and jailing people than in delivering justice. When Frank Osbaldistone turns to Judge Inglewood to defend himself against charges of highway robbery, Jobson is dying to issue a warrant ordering his preventative detention without bail. Later, while harassing Diana Vernon, Jobson proves he has memorized every law passed in England since the Norman Conquest so he can dump them on innocent folks' heads. Still later, he finally crosses the line between obnoxious pettifogger and corrupt lawman when he submits an affidavit charging Frank with high treason to help Frank's cousin seize Osbaldistone Hall, a gambit that costs him his job and position.
  • Rumpole of the Bailey. The main character is a deeply honest criminal defense barrister who has successfully defended known criminals on more than one occasion (even murderers, though he doesn't usually discover this until after the verdict has been passed). His colleagues run the gamut from petty and mercenary to almost as upstanding as Rumpole (one is a member of a group called Lawyers As Christians), sometimes within the confines of the same story. Rumpole draws the line at representing someone who has said, in so many words, "I did it", often desperately trying to shut his clients up before they can spout Too Much Information. And he will have nothing to do with anything resembling subornation of perjury.
  • Sisterhood Series by Fern Michaels: Played with. On one side is Nikki Quinn, a defense attorney. On the other side is Jack Emery, a prosecuting attorney. Nikki defends a woman who shot the man who raped and murdered her daughter, and she shot the guy after the guy was found not guilty! Jack prosecutes the woman, which is ironic, because he prosecuted that murdering rapist and failed to convict the guy. Nikki is portrayed as the sympathetic one, and Jack is portrayed as the total Jerkass in that situation. You would find it hard to believe that Nikki and Jack are girlfriend and boyfriend! To Jack's credit, he did reveal in his thoughts that he is not heartless, and that he doesn't know what he would have done if he had a daughter who was raped and murdered. Funny enough, Nikki becomes a vigilante, Jack becomes an ally of the Vigilantes, and so does a defense attorney named Lizzie Fox. In the book The Jury, a defense attorney named Allison Banks, against all advice, defends the Barringtons, a group of slimeballs who let a herd of horses starve to death and only used them for profit. Nikki's firm suffered a major blow in its reputation, and Nikki fired and punched out Banks in short order. Then it turns out that Banks was essentially in bed with the Barringtons, the judge presiding over their case, receiving kickbacks from them, and was not really Allison Banks. It turned out that Allison died years ago, and that an imposter had assumed her identity. Unbelievable!
  • Atty. Benjamin "Ben" Arcinas of Smaller & Smaller Circles certainly counts as one, since he prefers to chase the limelight with sensational cases involving high-profile victims instead of focusing on more important crimes. He almost callously dismisses the Payatas murders and even has a generic street urchin framed for them until the next murder surfaces and bites Arcinas in the ass, seriously jeopardizing his career. Oddly enough, he's never shown doing any actual legal work, even as simple as drawing up legal documents; in fact, he plays more of a detective role, albeit a fairly incompetent and self-serving one. (Truth in Television, as Philippine lawyers are often appointed to various government posts, at times even to positions far beyond their strict area of legal expertise and often regardless of their actual administrative ability.)
  • The Sweet Hereafter: in the original novel by Russell Banks, Mitchell Stephens clearly comes across as one to many of the townsfolk. However, his reasoning is more complex: he's a shark in court, going after what he perceives as huge, uncaring entities who try to cut costs, in order to make it more expensive for them.
  • Time Terminal 86 of Time Scout doesn't allow lawyers on board, because the head of the station doesn't like them.
  • Trigger Warning:
    • Jake's father, an attorney who wasted most of his family's fortune fueling his cocaine addiction. Jake reveals that he was eventually disbarred for taking bribes to intentionally lose some of his cases.
    • The lawyers who attempt to file suits against Jake for his on-campus behavior eagerly drop their cases upon being offered generous settlements by Jake's grandfather.
  • Edward St. John "Loophole" Latham in Wild Cards. No one can tell if the titular virus burned away his conscience or if he's naturally the best lawyer in the world. In a later book, it's implied that the wild card has nothing to do with him being the best lawyer in the world. He contracts the virus, and is given the ability to Body Surf, as well as create other Body Surfers by sexual intercourse.
  • Since Year Zero features lawyers in the music industry, examples of this trope abound considering that they all exist to exploit copyright law. One of which happens to be the protagonist.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Adam-12 has a very balanced position in the early episode, "Courtroom", where Reed makes a drug bust with a legally questionable search. In the resulting trial, the defense lawyer gets his client off with a well-reasoned argument based on clear legal decisions, but his only response to the client afterward is that the defendant will get his bill. Furthermore, the defense lawyer makes it clear to Reed that he is as committed to his own binding oath to serve his necessary role in the Justice System as the officer is.
  • Wolfram & Hart, the Evil Demonic Law Firm from Angel, exemplify this trope in spades: Immoral Attorney, actually. Defending human and nonhuman evil-doers and going outside the law to ensure their clients are never held accountable is their purpose in life. To which end they also employ ninjas and special ops teams. Their Senior Partners are a cabal of demons called the Wolf, the Ram and the Hart who reside in a hell dimension, and they have a scheduled apocalypse. The attorneys we actually meet tend to range from common morally grey (Lindsey McDonald, who seeks power above all else, though maintaining some semblance of conscience when it comes to things like assassinating children) to villains like Holland Manners and Lilah Morgan (although she arguably becomes more morally gray in Season 4note ), who not only strive for power but are capable of sacrificing nearly anything for it.
  • The Avengers (1960s): The series 3 episode "Brief for Murder" has two of these. The Lakin brothers are two solicitors preparing criminals to be for the perfect crime like treason or murder giving their "clients" precise instructions as to what to do and what to say. When executing the crime said "clients" leave enough evidence to implicate them to make sure they are tried. Yet the evidence planted is too inconclusive for a guilty verdict. John Steed and Cathy Gale come up with a plan to give the solicitors a taste of their own medicine.
  • Battlestar Galactica (2003): Baltar's defense lawyer Romo Lampkin manages to gain Lee Adama's respect even though he's an unapologetic Manipulative Bastard.
  • One episode of The Bill had a drug dealer pretend to be a solicitor so he could sit in on the interviews of his subordinates.
  • The Blacklist: Raymond Reddington's personal attorney, Marvin Gerard, is shamelessly complicit in his client's criminal empire. In fact, when we first meet him, he's in prison for his part in helping Red stay on the run for so many years.
  • Blindspot: Richard Shirley is the attorney for Madeline Burke, Big Bad of Seasons 4 and 5, and is completely complicit in her crimes. He acts as a go-between between her and her criminal minions, and acts as caretaker for the blackmail stash she uses for leverage against numerous officials. And when their plans fall apart near the end of Season 5, complete with said blackmail being destroyed, he has no problem abandoning her and throwing her under the bus to save himself.
  • In Boardwalk Empire
    • The ruthless and cold-blooded mob boss Arnold Rothstein has Bill Fallon, who tries to cultivate this image but comes off more like a gangster with a law license rather than a cynical practitioner. Fallon is very impressed by his client's ability to commit perjury with eloquence and with a straight face - so much so that he jokingly tells him that he should consider law school. Rothstein replies that he'd prefer to make an honest living.
    • George Remus is an attorney so amoral that Remus has decided to cast off the attorney job altogether and become a bootlegger instead - while using Remus' knowledge of law to find the correct loopholes in the Volstead Act, of course.
  • Bones has the usual examples as prosecutors, as you'd expect of a Forensic Drama. The notable example isn't a direct one, as Bones isn't an attorney, but the exact same unfortunate implications of the trope are explored in episode 1x08 The Girl in the Fridge; Bones and an Old Flame turned Rival are opposing experts in a murder trial. Bones clinically delivers her conclusions, her ex makes somewhat less professional conclusions while chatting up the jury - and implies that Bones isn't really as smart as she sounds. In between sessions, her ex states that he's merely "playing the game" - he's supposed to argue that the evidence supports the defendant, just as she's for the prosecution. In-universe, Bones' consultant argues for impartiality and sweet-talking the jury but sees nothing wrong with her ex using inside knowledge (which he got by sleeping with her) to attack her character instead of the evidence. The prosecution objects and the judge sustainsnote , but Brennan's consultant waves it off as a technicality; "He looks like a regular guy who's not allowed to speak the truth because the stupid rules get in the way." This leads to the same unfortunate implications as Amoral Attorneys - that scientists aren't supposed to be impartial, but to have agreed in advance as to who is guilty no matter which side they're on.
  • James Morgan "Saul Goodman" McGill from Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul is a hucksterish defense attorney with cheesy TV ads who will take any paying client and resort to the most extreme arguments on their behalf, though he does have some loose limits. Three things keep him from being nothing but a straight-up Ambulance Chaser: 1) he's very, very good at his job, 2) he's just as interested in going outside the law for his own personal gain as he is in winning cases (if not a lot more interested) and 3) he's deliberately using his carefully built up image to sucker others into underestimating the extent of what he's capable of both inside and outside the courtroom. Interestingly, while more than willing to go to downright immoral (not to mention criminal) lengths for a client, he never double-crosses one even when presented with golden opportunities to do so with little chance of reprisals, and more than once puts himself in considerable personal danger to help one.
    • Better Call Saul:
      • Kim Wexler starts the first season as a straight-arrow associate at HHM. But as her relationship with Jimmy strengthens, she begins compromising her morals and professional ethics a lot, but she is really remorseful of this and tries to balance her karma by taking pro bono public defense cases as she grows disillusioned with her career in banking law. She completely falls into this trope by the end of Season 5 when she plans to frame Howard and destroy his career to get the money from the Sandpiper case.
      • While Howard Hamlin is pretty much a straight-arrow lawyer through and through, his concealment of the truth about Chuck's illness from his clients falls into this as that's the sort of activity that should leave him and everyone at HHM subject to disciplinary hearings and malpractice suits.
      • Chuck McGill continually hides behind "letter of the law" and "spirit of the law" in his efforts to undermine Jimmy, and proves to be petty and vindictive, as shown by his reaction when Howard decides he has to go in response to his illness becoming public knowledge and the insurance company wanting to hike their malpractice premiums.
    • Breaking Bad: Besides Saul, you have Dan Wachsberger, a crooked lawyer who is used by Mike to ensure that Gus's former henchmen continue receiving their hazard pay after Gus's death, at least, until Hank is able to get him to flip on Mike. Dan is subsequently shanked by Neo-Nazis in prison on Walt's orders.
  • The Battlestar Galactica (2003) prequel, Caprica: Romo Lampkin's mentor, Lee Adama's grandfather Joseph. Joe Adama had been a lawyer for the Ha'la'tha—the Tauron Mob—and did this job dutifully. Backstory for Battlestar Galactica holds that he eventually broke with the Ha'la'tha and became a civil liberties lawyer; he's the one who taught Lampkin that even the lowest, guiltiest scumbag deserves a good defense.
  • Chicago Justice: Albert Forest outright proclaims that in contrast to Stone, he doesn't think trials are about anything like justice at all, only winning, and it's his sole concern. He even wrote an entire book asserting this viewpoint.
  • In the Brazilian soap opera Chocolate com Pimenta (Chocolate with Pepper), a woman wanted to con her deceased brother's widow out of the fortune he bequeathed to her. In order to do so, she forged a document where said brother allegedly signed over everything to her to protect him from being tricked by gold-diggers. Her accomplice suggested hiring a honest lawyer to take the case to the courts because: a) honest lawyers would be less likely to figure out the document was a fake; b) even dishonest lawyers would refuse the case once they figured out; and c) the more regarded their lawyer would be for honesty, the more likely would be their chances a judge would rule in their favor.
  • The final season of The Closer, which did a storyline where Brenda and the LAPD are being sued after Brenda leaves a murderer to a lynch mob consisting of gang members who were not thrilled at his crime and his attempt to frame an innocent man for his actions, featured dueling versions of this trope. The lawyer Brenda hires is a brilliant but morally ambiguous ex-district attorney who was forced out because of his methods and the opposing council was an equally devious attorney whose case was largely bolstered by an anonymous leak in the LAPD which made him aware of a good amount of morally ambiguous behavior on the part of Brenda.
    • Deconstructed with a recurring villain, a defense attorney for sex offenders who may or may not be a rapist himself, and teaming up with his clients to drug and rape women with their help. In the end, however, it turns out that he's innocent of the rapes after one of his victims identifies a bartender as the accomplice of the guy who raped her and several other women. His final appearance leaves it vague towards whether or not he was truly innocent though as he threatens to sue the department and Brenda if they don't leave him alone (as Brenda and her fellow detectives had, after their first encounter, made a point to tell anyone who brought his name up, that he was a sexual predator, damaging his reputation as a result).
  • In Columbo, the Villain of the Week in the second pilot is a personal injury lawyer working for an insurance company whose Establishing Character Moment is her shooting her own husband as part of an elaborate scheme to take over his law firm. When she's shown at her day job in the next scene, she's a charismatic Bitch in Sheep's Clothing who manages to win a case by making the injured plaintiff out to be a drunk, and forces him to settle for the lowest possible amount despite knowing his claim was perfectly valid. After Columbo starts wearing her down, she's seen tiredly instructing an older female client to use Crocodile Tears to deflect any questioning regarding her culpability.
  • Community:
    • Jeff Winger is an unapologetic version of this least for now. The very fact that he lied about having a valid college degreenote  is the reason he's at community college in the first place. A colleague of his said the pair (known as Sundance and Tango - they had different partners) were called 'the litter bugs' by prosecutors because they put so much trash back on the streets.
    • He's apparently outgrown those tendencies by the end of season 3. Ironically, in Basic Lupine Urology he actually calls out Annie on this. She is serving as their not lawyer in the not trial over the question of who murdered their Yam. After causing the not defendant to break down in tears and confess, she is celebrating while Jeff is pointing out that he didn't fully confess and that someone else actually did it.
    • He made a full recovery by season 5, where he opens his own firm specifically to help the little guy. Unfortunately, it went under and he had to settle for teaching law at Greendale.
  • Cop Rock: the spin doctors hired by the legal team sing about how they will portray Vincent LaRusso as having shot the suspect in self-defense. Cop Rock - No Problem
  • Criminal Justice, a five-part 2008 BBC drama, features a barrister who makes up a self-defense defense for the main character (a guy who doesn't remember what happened). The drama got a complaint from the head of the Bar Council, the UK's lawyer group. Peter Moffat responded that said head had recently punched his opponent, which is a rather weak response.
  • The CSI-verse has a very long list of examples, so to provide a few:
    • CSI: Miami:
      • A recurring foe in the series is Darren Vogel, a defense attorney played by Malcolm McDowell who has absolutely no problem with finding ways to tamper with forensic evidence (breaking the chain of custody among other things) to make it inadmissible and have his clients Off on a Technicality.
      • In the episode "Just Murdered", a Divorce Assets Conflict of devastating (as in "wreck the house to make sure the other person gets nothing" and "murder") scope is complicated by said divorce's lawyer Playing Both Sides to keep them occupied as he stole their assets right out from under them. The divorcing couple, once they discover this, kill him together.
    • CSI: NY:
      • "Page Turner" has a Villain of the Week who is a public defender married to a city librarian. He finds a way to off her in a Serial Killings, Specific Target plot in order to sue the city for millions so he could retire and not have to defend scumbags any longer.
      • "Enough" has a very odd, somewhat subverted case. A trio of drug dealers are on trial for murdering another dealer. One of the three defense attorneys outright says that he doesn't usually care when a witness testifying against one of his scumbag clients "goes missing" because said witness is usually another killer or drug dealer. However, when the three defendants attack, threaten, and mutilate a witness who's an innocent, law-abiding young woman, the attorney convinces the other two to help him murder all three of their clients. He tells Mac, "Even scumbag lawyers have a heart."
  • The Defenders (2010): The titular duo themselves are also considered this by their opposition, despite doing everything they can to get the truth out of their clients and get the best win they can get for them, i.e. getting a week in jail compared to six months.
  • The Defenders (2017):
    • Daredevil (2015):
      • Matt Murdock himself is a very good lawyer. But to go after criminals like Wilson Fisk, he often combines his lawyer work with his nighttime activities as the Devil of Hell's Kitchen. Foggy also finds himself having to compromise his morals when covering for Matt.
      • Samantha Reyes, the District Attorney for Manhattan, will go through anything, including illegal measures, to get by. As Matt Murdock puts it, Reyes wouldn't even buy a pack of gum if it didn't further her career. Likewise, Karen uncovers that Reyes has a habit of backstabbing her own associates to save her own ass.
      • Marci Stahl, Foggy's ex-girlfriend and an attorney at Landman & Zack. When we first meet her, she seems selfish and mostly interested in her own career. However, she has standards, and Foggy's appeals to how she used to "have a soul" lead her to turn against her bosses, who are deep in Wilson Fisk's pockets. It earns her a much better job at Hogarth Chao & Benowitz.
      • Sadly, Marci's the only Landman & Zack attorney to actually have a soul. In a flashback in "Nelson v. Murdock," the firm is shown suing a plaintiff who became severely sick for working for Roxxon Oil. They sue for "damages" after the man told his doctor about his work to find out what had made him sick. Parish Landman claims that the man had violated his confidentiality agreement by sharing this info with his doctor. Matt and Foggy are so disgusted by this that they decide to start their own firm as a result. In the present day, Parish Landman is on Wilson Fisk's payroll and is among those arrested by the FBI when Marci and Hoffman turn on Fisk.
      • Big Ben Donovan is a criminal lawyer to many prominent members of New York City's criminal underworld. In particular, Wilson Fisk and Mariah Dillard.
      • In Luke Cage (2016), Donovan is revealed to have been the Stokes family's lawyer ever since Mama Mabel groomed him and put him through law school. In the first season, he makes time to get Cottonmouth out of jail after Cottonmouth is arrested for killing Scarfe. He is later sent by Mariah Dillard to interrupt Misty Knight's interrogation of Candace Miller, to make sure that Candace sticks to the false story Shades is paying her to give to the police implicating Luke in Cottonmouth's murder.
      • In the second season he gets much, much worse. When Mariah appears to have run out of money because Bushmaster bankrupted her, he immediately declares he will no longer be representing her or Shades... while both of them are in custody and being questioned by the police. This is known as "abandonment of a client," and is grounds for disbarment in New York State. He then goes to work for his former client's opponents in a legal (as well as illegal) dispute, also grounds for disbarment. Then when he realizes Bushmaster is more likely to kill him than pay him, he goes back to his old client and does what he not only should have done instead of leaving his old client in the lurch but should have advised Mariah to do before the temporary cash flow issue came up in the first place (namely, report that Piranha Jones, the guy with power of attorney over Mariah's assets, had been kidnapped; and freeze his ability to make money transfers, on the grounds that duress invalidates any and all such transactions).
      • Donovan is a bit less involved in the day-to-day operations of Fisk's criminal enterprises. In season 2 of Daredevil, it seems that outside of arranging money transfers like setting up a protection fund for Vanessa or the movement of funds to ensure a guard gets Frank Castle to blow his trial to meet Fisk, he's not too involved in the organization. As season 3 shows, most of the shady street stuff in Fisk's outfit is handled by Felix Manning, with Donovan and his partner Nicholas Lee (who according to Donovan's actor Danny Johnson is Donovan's insurance policy) primarily being invested in using legal means to help Fisk re-obtain "Rabbit in a Snowstorm".
    • Jeri Hogarth, at first. She starts off in season 1 of Jessica Jones (2015) as the kind of lawyer who manipulates juries into thinking “beyond a reasonable doubt” means you need thirty witnesses or a video of the defendant doing it. She is willing to hire a clearly unstable Jessica Jones for private investigation work (even wants to bring her in-house) and even is willing to try using Kilgrave to get her ex-spouse Wendy to agree to lesser assets in their divorce. This backfires hard on Jeri, as Wendy gets killed and her secretary/mistress Pam gets thrown in jail. The whole ordeal with Kilgrave leads Jeri to clean up her act, and when she turns up in Iron Fist (2017), she's a much nicer person, who helps Danny Rand reclaim his identity and turns out to have also tended to the Rand estate after Danny's parents were killed. Of course, season 2 of Jessica Jones sees Jeri resort to her old tricks: her response to being conned by Inez and Shane is to buy a gun from Turk Barrett and manipulate Inez into murdering Shane. And she blackmails Chao and Benowitz into giving her a larger buyout offer.
    • What exactly are Linda Chao and Steven Benowitz up to? Well, they're laundering drug cartels' money into offshore bank accounts.
  • Recently, Karl Mayer of Desperate Housewives has revealed himself to be one. If the promos are any indication, not only is he not above cheating Bree's soon-to-be-ex spouse out of money he is entitled to, he is also willing to talk Bree into staging a robbery in her own house.
  • Dexter: Played with in season three. Assistant DA Miguel Prado accuses his rival defense attorney Ellen Wolf of being one of these for "gaming the system" to let criminals off the hook. She in turn accuses him of being a Persecuting Prosecutor. Miguel is eventually revealed to have manipulated Dexter all along to learn the art of murder from him. Miguel lacks the very integrity that he accuses Ellen of not having as he not only wants to subvert the legal process to kill criminals but anyone who pisses him off.
  • The victim in the Diagnosis: Murder episode "The Busy Body" is Lorenzo P. Kotch, a slimy divorce attorney willing to lie right through his teeth in order for his clients to get as much money out of their exes. He also forced himself on Nora Stebbings during her divorce, making him a creep on top of things. In fact, Mark says that part of the way he figured out the culprit (who didn't know Kotch) was to stop asking who hated Kotch enough to kill him, because everyone hated Kotch.
  • Dracula (2020)'s version of The Renfield, Frank Renfield, is an attorney who starts groveling at Dracula's feet even before they meet in person and willingly does everything in his power to further the Count's plan for attaining, as Renfield puts it, world domination.
  • The Fall of the House of Usher (2023): Arthur Pym is the Usher family's primary attorney and also their fixer, who spearheads all efforts to clean up any potential scandals that might get them in legal trouble. Including being willing to personally kill people who might be threats.
  • One episode of Flashpoint featured a hostage taker who spent ten years of his life in jail (starting at age 15) after his cellmate falsely testified that he had confessed to raping and murdering his best friend. Turns out the prosecuting attorney was responsible for this, and he has done this many times in the past. His motivation isn't solely to maintain a 100% conviction rating. The attorney was a Knight Templar who genuinely believed anyone who is accused of a crime is guilty. As a result, he felt justified in doing anything to secure convictions.
  • For Life: Glen Maskins is a pretty clear-cut example of the trope, and will stoop down to blackmail, intimidation, and threats to keep his power.
  • For the People follows both prosecutors and defense attorneys, who both see the other side as this. The defense is stereotyped as ignoring the importance of the law to do whatever they want and protecting dangerous criminals. The prosecution is stereotyped as government suck-ups who use the letter of the law to punish innocent civilians who were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
  • Franklin & Bash has Damien in the first episode, when he colludes with a CEO to sell out an airline pilot to limit an airline's liability by paying a witness to make false testimony. He gets better as the season progresses.
  • The Glades: The Victim of the Week in "Marriage Is Murder" is a slimy divorce attorney who is loathed by everyone who knows him. It actually turns out that multiple people had tried to kill him, and Jim has to figure out which one actually succeeded.
  • Played for Laughs in The Good Place with Mindy St. Clair, a cocaine-addicted shark lawyer from the 1980s. She was rude, selfish, and hedonistic in life but had a drug-fueled Heel–Face Turn shortly before her death that led to her life savings being used to form a charity that helped millions. The Celestial Bureaucracy wasn't sure what to do with her as for the first time in history the good and bad in someone's life cancelled each other out, so they created The Medium Place just for her where she languishes all alone in complete and total mediocrity in a nice house. She doesn't mind it too much, but she makes it very clear she'd like to at least have cocaine again to help with the boredom.
  • As a realistic Law Procedural, every lawyer in The Good Wife is amoral when it comes to defending their clients. Some are also corrupt, granted, but even the ethical ones will resort to any number of underhanded but technically legal antics. One memorable case of the latter was Alicia Florrick getting around a super-injunction by having her husband's campaign manager use his army of Twitter users to put their opponent's dirty dealings back into the public spotlight.
    • Its spinoff The Good Fight introduces Roland Blum, a Roy Cohn-like lawyer who is fond of theatrics and underhanded tricks. He doesn't skimp on the f-word or racist and sexist terms, but he usually never underestimates his opponents and plays dirty. He states repeatedly that his goal isn't to prove that his side is right, it's to portray the other side as wrong. He ends up getting Maia fired by calling the cops on the drugs he gave her.
  • In the Grimm episode "One Angry Fuchsbau", the Monster of the Week Barry Kellogg is a defense attorney who uses his Ziegevolk Mind Control abilities for witness and jury tampering. The protagonists slip him a potion to neutralize his abilities.
  • Guilt: Stan is pretty cheerfully amoral and shows no signs of caring about anything apart from the money he makes.
  • Darrin Russom of Homicide: Life on the Street defends most of the series' suspects.
  • How to Get Away with Murder follows the professor and students of a law school course intended to train new Amoral Attorneys. Said professor informally calls the course the same name as the title of the show. It's not a joke. It should be noted that Professor Keating isn't a bad person as such; she just takes the attitude that whatever the client's done, she will get them found innocent.
  • Hunter (1984): Played with, as some lawyers depicted do fit the mold of "amoral person who almost seems to want their client to commit more crimes", which is not atypical for a Cowboy Cop show. However, some (usually female) lawyers do genuinely believe in the legal process and are willing to work with Hunter when they feel something obviously suspicious is going on.
  • JAG:
    • Mic Brumby becomes one for a while when he resigns from the Royal Australian Navy and comes back as a civilian in the 6th season. He took cases where people were suing the Navy, which didn't sit well with anyone at the JAG office.
    • Loren Singer.
    • CIA counsel Catherine Gale comes across as this in "Need To Know."
      I'm doing my job right, I'm doing the right thing.
  • Self-proclaimed "Super Lawyer" Kitaoka Shuuichi (secretly Kamen Rider Zolda) from Kamen Rider Ryuki falls under this: he fights only for himself and refuses cases when he sees them as impossible to win, halfway frivolous, or he just doesn't like the client, although he gets enough characterization to qualify as an Anti-Villain. He defends the murderer Asakura Takeshi (later Kamen Rider Ouja), but knowingly withholds evidence that could have acquitted him. Asakura spends the rest of the series trying to kill Kitaoka.
  • Many of the defense attorneys on the Law & Order shows would fit this trope like a glove. If a defense attorney has a recurring role on the show, then he or she will probably be either sympathetic or pure evil, in terms of pulling any trick up their sleeves to win. Most of them take their losses gracefully, and one wizened attorney expressed relief that his client—a rapist—was put away, as he has a daughter himself.
    • One man, a friend of McCoy going back to his law school days, became a mouthpiece for a Mafia don. He did anything necessary to get his clients acquitted, including bribing a juror.
    • Another defense attorney refused flatly to tell where his client, a serial killer, had hidden the bodies of some of his victims, because doing so would violate attorney-client privilege. To pressure him into telling, McCoy prosecuted him as an accomplice to the killer. The defense attorney gave a very stirring closing argument about why defense lawyers are necessary, even though everyone hates them. He still was found guilty for not reporting the location of his client's murder pit, though he reappeared about a year later (with the implication that his conviction got overturned on appeal).
    • One of the few exceptions is a recurring lawyer on SVU played by Annie Potts, who gets brought in whenever the show decides to have a really sympathetic defendant.
      • Barry Moredock (played by John Cullum) is a rare example of this kind of attorney cast in a positive light: He's a firm believer in constitutional rights and will defend someone whose rights he thinks are being violated, even if he personally thinks his client is a scumbag (one such client was a young Neo-Nazi who was known to have murdered several people for no other reason than their ethnicity).
    • An interesting twist occurs in an episode where Assistant DA Connie Rubirosa is forced to act as a defense attorney. The moment she is teased for "working for the dark side", McCoy instantly lays down the law, saying that she is acting as a proper lawyer and any personnel of his office giving her a hard time for doing her duty would be punished with reassignment to traffic court.
    • Paul Robinette, a former prosecutor for the first 3 seasons of the show came back as a recurring guest star and having become an amoral attorney in his absence.
    • Law & Order: UK decides to exaggerate this trope with the first episode, with a barrister nicknamed "Limbo" for how low he'll go. So far, the other barristers have been of varying moral fibre.
    • L&O's definitive example has to be Ben Stone's nemesis, Arthur Gold, who could (and did) often goad Stone into legal mistakes simply by looking like he was enjoying himself while defending obvious scumbags.
    • Lampshaded in Trial By Jury when Tracey Kibre talks to the opposing counsel:
      Norman Rothenberg: You're wasting your time in the DA's office. I could triple what you make.
      Tracey Kibre: You don't want me, Norman. I have scruples.
      Norman Rothenberg: They have pills for that.
    • The killer in the episode "By Perjury" is a lawyer, and Cutter explicitly describes him as the adversarial system gone insane: he's willing to do anything, including murder, to win the massive lawsuit he's involved in. McCoy remarks that he sounds like Cutter's evil twin.
    • One of the worst examples, on both sides of the fence, was "For The Defense"'s former ADA turned defense attorney for a mobster who had a long habit of putting contracts out on witnesses against his cases, then attempting to blackmail the DA's office to get out from under several recent murders.
    • Then there's Dean "What're you offering" Connors, - McCoy says that Dean's not a bad attorney, he's just morally opposed to hard work and so will usually take any offer from the DA regardless of his client's guilt or innocence.
  • In the 1990s Superman series Lois & Clark, an episode involved Superman being sued for injuring a man whilst saving his life, which eventually snowballed into a class action lawsuit against him. He thus had to find an "honest lawyer" to defend him, and only managed to find one. In the whole of Metropolis. Willing to defend Superman. For all its shiny loveliness, this suggests that Metropolis is actually one Crapsack City.
    • Potentially Justified, depending on the adaptation Lex Luthor would be powerful enough to intimidate anyone who would defend Superman.
  • Malcolm in the Middle:
    • Lois' mother suffered an accident at the family's home and sued them. When it was revealed that they had no insurance and their house was the only thing that could be taken from them, the lawyer representing the plaintiff withdrew himself from the case because, while he had no qualms about sending poor people to live on the streets, he would not do it for only 40% of a house that fits in his garage.
    • When Francis decided that he wanted to be emancipated, one of his friends from military school introduces him to an amoral attorney who specializes in legally emancipating kids from their parents who have been exiled to boarding schools and military schools. His secret is that he lets the kids forge their parents' signatures in front of him so that the paperwork can be processed with no delay.
  • Murder, She Wrote:
    • In "Trails and Tribulations", an Ambulance Chaser attempts to sue Jessica in a wrongful death suit, figuring that her insurance company will settle out-of-court rather than face the hassle of a trial. At the end of the episode, he is disbarred after it is revealed that he bribed a witness to change his testimony.
    • The Victim of the Week in "See You in Court, Baby" is a ruthless divorce lawyer who persuades a woman into pursuing a divorce she doesn't actually want.
  • Murdoch Mysteries:
    • Leslie Garland in the two-part "On the Waterfront" has passed his bar exam and is working for one of the Crown Prosecutors—specifically the one handling the charges against Drs. Ogden and Grace and the other suffragettes arrested at the protest march. Garland offers to have a word with his new boss in the doctors' favour, but both of them refuse his help. He later ensures Dr. Grace's charges aren't dropped immediately no doubt because she threw him over after she learned he'd posed as the infamous James Gilies and threatened the lives of Julia and William, and he gloats over her incarceration. Julia and her attorney present the Prosecutor with evidence of his terror campaign, and Garland is fired. He drops by Julia's office and gets a surprise of his own: a fearsome William Murdoch who promises to take off his badge and settle their differences if Garland bothers Julia again.
  • Neighbours:
    • Tim Collins, when introduced, was more of a greedy jerk who nevertheless worked well with his employee Jarrod. He became more of an antagonist since the late 2000s, eventually crossing the line into outright corruption when Paul hired him to represent his niece's boyfriend Mason and told him to throw him under the bus, wanting Mason out of Kate's life. Tim agreed to this, not caring about the result as long as he got paid, and would have gone through with it if Jarrod hadn't figured out what was going on and taken over Mason's defense.
    • Samantha Fitzgerald was likewise introduced as an ethical lawyer who had no issues working with Jarrod but was gradually turned into this in later guest appearances, as a result of Derailing Love Interests (this despite the couple she was a Romantic Falselead for, Libby and Dan, having long since broken up). In her 2020 guest appearance, she represented Claudia Watkins in a custody dispute against the Kennedy family and resorted to blackmailing the judge in a murder trial to get the baby's mother Elly out of the picture.
  • James Sinclair, Esq. on NYPD Blue is a brilliant lawyer who has no qualms about defending mob bosses or other high-profile criminals. He usually gets them acquitted too, which doesn't endear him to the detectives.
  • The Only Fools and Horses episode "Hole in One" involves Del suing the brewery for a fall suffered by Uncle Albert. He hires a lawyer called Solly Atwell, who Rodney describes as being "more bent than the villains".
  • The protagonists of both the classic courtroom drama Perry Mason and its Creator-Driven Successor, Matlock, handle legal morality a very odd way. While both Perry Mason and Ben Matlock are successful and honorable defense attorneys, they always win by uncovering the real guilty party and dramatically presenting proof of their guilt in court. In other words, in order to redeem his role as a defense attorney, each hero has to also do the prosecutor's job, and offer up someone else to take the innocent defendant's place in jail. Prosecuting attorneys and rival lawyers in both shows are likely to fit this trope perfectly.
  • One of the main antagonists of Perry Mason (2020) is District Attorney Maynard Barnes, who is perfectly willing to frame an innocent and grieving couple for the murder of their own son just so he can solve a high-profile case and advance his career, and does so with zero hesitation or empathy. After the father is proven innocent, he immediately frames the mother and has her arrested in the middle of her own son's funeral and, upon realizing how flimsy his case is, blackmails her attorney EB Jonathan into suicide.
  • Person of Interest: The first Person of Interest, ADA Diane Hansen, is revealed to be in the pocket of a Dirty Cop organization known as HR and half a Starter Villain variant of Big Bad Duumvirate. One of HR's detectives commits murders, she finds scapegoats and prosecutes them (and occasionally has them murdered in prison).
  • Barrister Michael Kidd from the Australian TV cop series Phoenix and its Law Procedural spin-off, Janus. Based on a famous real-life Melbourne lawyer, he's despised for defending cop killer Malcolm Hennessy, but is respected for his abilities as well — the main detective protagonist doesn't hesitate to recommend Kidd to a fellow officer who'd been accused of police brutality. On another occasion, Kidd is assigned to defend a child molester, and though Kidd listens to his briefing with a cold silence quite unlike his usual 'average bloke' demeanour, he still defends him well.
  • Player: Jin Yong-jun framed Ha-ri's father, got rich by taking bribes, and works with his clients to cover up their crimes.
  • Alan Shore started out in The Practice (and in Boston Legal, although he became less scummy as the series went on) as an exemplary example of an Amoral Attorney. His unethical behavior caused him to be fired from the firm in The Practice, which he successfully sues and, after stealing client files, goes to Boston Legal's firm of Crane, Poole, and Schmidt. One of the best moments of his that shows just how amoral he is can be found halfway down here, with him browbeating the nebbish store clerk who saw his client, a very wealthy woman and kleptomaniac, stuff a scarf into her purse:
    "He would fire me, Miles, if I didn't explore every nuance and shadow of your personality. Every secret place and insufficiency in the hours that you will spend in that witness chair, Miles, in front of all those friends you invited. And when I'm finished with you, even they will think you are a vindictive, pathetic little sycophant who has falsely accused and probably framed a fine woman for something she never did and never would do only so that you could get at long last your moment of attention. By the time I'm done, I'll have you believing you put that scarf in her handbag. Lee Tyler can afford to hire any attorney in the world. She's chosen me. Do you wonder if I'm any good, Miles? Do you really wonder?"
  • Scoundrels (2010): Downplayed with Logan. While he's almost always a by-the-book lawyer and doesn't screw over people or his clients, he's not above using a few dirty tricks to get the edge on a case. Or getting his family to do the dirty work for him.
  • Shark was all about an amoral defense attorney who became a prosecutor after a client he'd gotten acquitted went on to murder someone. It should be noted that Sebastian Stark, while a classic rule-bender, did have his standards and wasn't nearly as much of a dick as some of the defense attorneys he went up against.
  • The two-part pilot for Street Justice gives us the ADA who, besides acting like a Jerkass, once tried to persuade Adam to perjure himself in court in an attempt to convict a defendant.
  • The overarching baddie on Sunset Beach, a fairly trashy soap, was a rich attorney who might have modeled on Benjamin Brafman. In addition to abusing his loved ones and driving his wife to drink, he threatened to throw her into a sanitarium if she tried to leave. He did bail her and her friends out of legal troubles, but always kept the evidence under lock and key in case she got any funny ideas about divorce proceedings.
  • An episode of Tales from the Crypt, "Let the Punishment Fit the Crime", features one who ends up in a nightmarish Kangaroo Court. The one who serves as the featured character's defense lawyer turns out to have been worse in the past.note 
  • Appears on an episode of Taxi. An old woman who is a con artist sues the taxi company for damages after being injured. She had previously faked injury in the past to pursue false damage claims against other companies as well. However, this time the woman informs her lawyer that she really did fall and break her hip, meaning the lawsuit is completely legitimate. The lawyer remarks: "Well, there's a first time for everything."
  • This trope is parodied in That Mitchell and Webb Look which features a sketch about two lazy scriptwriters who do not research the films and TV shows they write. One of their productions is a parody of "Shark about a defense attorney becoming a prosecutor. When the character is asked why he used to defend known rapists, he responds, "I don't know, I guess I just liked rapists." Then he laughs and says that that's not the real reason.
    • Also, from the Inebriati sketch: "Yes! I got that guy off that vicious sex murder even though he obviously did it!"
  • A very evil corporate lawyer in a Vengeance Unlimited episode was resorting to Blackmail to defend a polluting corporation, and already planned to sue back the ill girl's mother for libel. Naturally, being Vengeance Unlimited, the Smug Snake gets what he deserves.
  • On Walker, Texas Ranger, basically any lawyer who isn't Alex Cahill. Even her fellow prosecutors, who are cynical and jaded in contrast to her idealism, as well as occasionally corrupt and incompetent.
  • Maurice Levy of The Wire. He not only defends members of the Barksdale gang (as well as other drug crews), but introduces them to investors, advises them on who 'needs to go', and sells confidential court papers under the counter to all comers thanks to a stooge in the courthouse. Although Levy is at least realistic in that he doesn't just defend the drug lords because he's evil, but rather because he makes extra profit doing it, so he really does fit the "amoral" part. When he learns that Marlo Stanfield is using a cell phone, he says that he'll be making a lot of money from Marlo soon because the cops will have charges against him soon.
  • The Wrong Mans has a variation. The titular duo have one of these hired by Carlos Espinosa to supposedly testify on their behalf. They actually don't want him there, though, since Espinosa hired him to ensure they wouldn't squeal.

  • "Innocence" by Disturbed is about corrupt lawyers and the people they choose to defend for their own benefit.

    Myths & Religion 
  • In a lot of Jewish (and some Christian) folklore, Satan is often portrayed as some sort of Cosmic Prosecuting Attorney ("Satan" roughly means "Accuser"). Doesn't make him any less of a prick.
  • In The Four Gospels (especially Luke), lawyers and scribes often invoke the wrath of Jesus for their hypocrisy and unlawfulness.
    Jesus: Woe to you lawyers as well! For you weigh men down with burdens hard to bear, while you yourselves will not even touch the burdens with one of your fingers.
    Jesus: Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering.
  • Zeezrom of The Book of Mormon is described as a wealthy lawyer who is "an expert in the devices of the devil," and whose first appearance has him attempt to bribe two prophets with an absurdly large sum of money. In addition, his practice is said to be exploitative and overpriced. As it tends to happen in the Book, he undergoes a Heel–Faith Turn, after which he abandons the practice of law.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • NWA Wildside manager Jeff G. Bailey was a lawyer, which presumably explained why his meddling ways hadn't got him fired from the company on the spot, or at the very least got his talent suspended.
  • Sophia Lopez initially seemed like a moral attorney when she campaigned to get the sentences of fan-favorite group Caged Heat overturned during Women Of Wrestling's revived third season but Lopez turned out to be using them as pawns in an increasingly complicated plot to destroy independent circuit wrestler Santana Garrett, who her true client, Rich Bitch Lana Star, felt threatened by.
  • David Otunga, another attorney who didn't start out this way, although unlike Scott he was always immoral, he just didn't use his legal background to his advantage until pressed to do so by Johnny Ace, who found Otunga more useful as a lawyer than an admittedly one dimensional wrestler.
  • Despite being an attorney, Veda Scott didn't come out of the Ring of Honor\SHIMMER Academy this way, initially living up to the good sportsmanship standards of both promotions. Eventually her cowardly nature got the best of her, though, and she began to familiarize herself with all loopholes, legal or otherwise, to make her pro wrestling career easier.
  • Bruce Tharpe, the National Wrestling Alliance owner following the seven degrees of hate feud between Adam Pearce and Colt Cabana, was basically described as such by both men, who found his takeover and stripping voting privileges away from the NWA members a farce. He's pretty much proven such to former NWA member New Japan in his efforts to get advantages for Rob Conway, The Killer Elite Squad and Jax Dane.

  • In Bleak Expectations a lawyer appears who is so distinguished his name takes 20 minutes to say. He charges by the hour and has bankrupted some clients with a formal conversation.
  • The Shadow tackled one of these in The Shyster Payoff, who ran a criminal gang and recruited new members by defending their cases, pressuring their family members into giving perjured testimony to rope them in too. He then hangs the threat of a retrial (Which is Artistic License – Law, as double jeopardy prevents you from being tried again after acquittal) over them to get them to comply. In the same episode, he gets a doctor out on parole to serve as the gang's surgeon, since he has to get a job or violate probation. The Shadow not only gets him and his lieutenants in the end, he also gets their victims to turn states' evidence in exchange for amnesty.

    Tabletop Games 

  • Roy Marcus Cohn from Angels in America. He was also one in Real Life, naturally, although his villainy in both goes far beyond this.
  • In The Birds, one of the uninvited visitors is a summoner who wants to be able to fly between the islands and Athens so fast that he can hold the trial without the defendant so that the decision automatically goes in the prosecution's favor. Then, fly back to the still-en-route defendant's home to confiscate whatever is forfeit (and possibly a little more for himself). Peisthetaerus will have none of this.
  • Chicago has the "silver-tongued prince of the courtroom", Billy Flynn, who takes only high-profile, scandal-ridden cases for the fame and fortune, and is not above using Unconventional Courtroom Tactics and using and abusing the court of public opinion via reporters (including having the Chicago-born Rosie blatantly lie that she's a simple Southern girl out of her depth in big-city life).
    Flynn: Objection!
    Judge: Sustained.
    Prosecutor: Your Honor, I haven't even asked a question yet!
  • The classic form of Il Dottore, a stock character in Commedia dell'Arte, is one of these. The Dottore was a learned man typically, but not always, in law, whose erudition and high social station has made him pompous, self-indulgent, lecherous, or stone boring. True to the form, this is usually Played for Laughs and the character is often the comic foil to the more sinister Pantalone.
  • The former page quote from Henry VI, Part 2 ("The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers"), though very famous, is really not an example of this trope. The people out to kill all the lawyers are trying to create anarchy. The source of the infamous quote is Dick the Butcher who, true to his name, is a brutish criminal who is participating in a rebellion against the crown for kicks. He says this to Jack Cade, the leader of the rebellion, who is little more than a stooge of the Duke of York with delusions of grandeur.
  • The song "Blood in the Water" from Legally Blonde is all about this trope.
    Our topic is blood in the water.
    Kids, it's time you faced,
    law school is a waste,
    oh yes, unless you acquire a taste for
    blood in the water;
    dark and red and raw.
    You're nothing until the thrill of the kill
    becomes your only law!
  • The learned judge in Trial by Jury was once one of these:
    All thieves who could my fees afford
    Relied on my orations
    And many a burglar I've restored
    To his friends and his relations.

    Video Games 
  • Max McMann, the protagonist of Devil's Attorney is a typical example. In the game, he takes on every criminal who is as guilty as sin, but Max keeps making up lame excuses for their behavior to the prosecutors and then crushes them in court through various Courtroom Antics and, sometimes, outright illegal means (e.g. one of the skills Max can learn is "Tamper with Evidence"). In the final case of the first chapter, Max openly admits that his client will buy him a new apartment and an office if he wins. The final chapter reveals that his father is a famous prosecutor who's ashamed of his son. Guess who prosecutes the final case and is the toughest opponent in the game?
  • Disco Elysium: Lizzie is a zig-zagged example. Her degree was paid for by the Evrart brothers, and she now works for the Debardeurs' Union, which most people believe is a crime syndicate in all but name. However, most people also see the Union as the only legitimate authority in Martinaise, actual law enforcement is almost non-existent and only possible due to loopholes in international law, and Lizzie is actually deeply principled, it's just that her principles have little in common with the protagonist's.
  • Four Last Things: One house has a family celebrating their newfound inheritance, and a lawyer plotting to cheat them of it. The sin of Greed involves helping him in exchange for a cut of the loot.
  • Nick Virago in Grim Fandango murders a young woman who took an incriminating photo exposing his affair with the girlfriend of his mobster client. He goes to Hell for buying a counterfeit Number Nine ticket from Hector LeMans.
  • Hitman:
    • One mission in Hitman: Contracts has you assassinating not only a rich Serial Killer but also his family lawyer, who helped him get away unpunished with kidnapping and killing a small child.
    • In Hitman (2016), there's Ken Morgan, who will sink to any means necessary to win his cases, including bribing officials and blackmailing witnesses. He even self-describes himself as a fixer first, attorney second. Like the above target, he is being targeted along with his client's son for tampering in the investigation over a murder that the son committed. There's also Yuki Yamazaki, a former Yakuza lawyer who has become an agent for Providence.
      Ken Morgan: The things I have done for [Thomas Cross] would get my grandchildren disbarred.
    • In Hitman 3, there's Don Yates, who leaked confidential information that destroyed his wife's career in order to keep his perfect record, all while keeping it a secret from her for years.
  • During one of the Courtroom Episodes of Knights of the Old Republic it's possible for even a light-side Player Character to be the true-to-reality version of this trope. You can get your client acquitted of murder even knowing full well he's guilty, and it is not considered a dark-side action unless you convinced your witnesses to perjure themselves in the course of your investigation.
  • In Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, this seems to be the opinion that a few Marvel characters have of Phoenix Wright. One of these characters is Jean Grey, who outright claims that, between the two of them, he is far more hated than she could ever be. Keep in mind that Jean is a cosmic Terror Hero feared by nearly everyone, and is responsible for the destruction of at least one inhabited planet.
  • Igland of the Swift Sword in Neverwinter Nights is willing to apply Insane Troll Logic in order to secure a conviction, doesn't care if there are mitigating factors, and begins screaming about bribery should you succeed. His statement is essentially that "the defendant is a dirty savage and therefore we should hang him." Despite the apparent lack of legal precedent for this tactic, Igland claims never to have lost a case before. Your character is permitted to commit out-and-out bribery and corruption in order to get the defendant off.
  • Not for Broadcast has Julia Salisbury, a President Evil who previously acted as a lawyer in the national court system. She's a slightly more sympathetic example than most as she was a Well-Intentioned Extremist, but it doesn't make her actions any less monstrous.
  • Persona 5 has a sympathetic example in Sae Niijima, Makoto's older sister and legal guardian, and the public prosecutor in charge of the Phantom Thieves case. While once far more heroic and idealistic, the pressures of raising Makoto by herself, along with the pressure from her line of work and being overshadowed by her male co-workers, have left Sae a cynical, bitter shell who no longer wishes to pursue justice and simply wants to do whatever it takes to win a case, even if she has to twist the truth and manipulate evidence to make the innocent appear guilty. By the time of the Casino heist, Akechi suspects that if they don't change Sae's heart, either the Phantom Thieves will be arrested, or someone else might be set up to take the fall for their crimes. While the Thieves don't steal her heart, she does change for the better as a result of an emotional plea by Makoto toward her Shadow. In the ending, Sae, having Took a Level in Idealism, decides to quit her job at the Public Prosecutors Office and become an attorney, believing it's a better way to pursue justice.
    • A less sympathetic example is Sae's boss, who's implied to have done some illegal things to get ahead, even before joining a criminal conspiracy to exploit the Mental World in order to make Masayoshi Shido Prime Minister, and covering up the conspiracy's crimes. He ultimately plans on having the protagonist arrested and killed while in police custody.
  • "Legal" Lee from the Saints Row series is the player's contact for Insurance Fraud missions. At the beginning of Saints Row 2, he's defending Johnny Gat on a triple-digit murder charge when the player busts up the trial to rescue him. In the aftermath, all Lee does is hide and ask if anybody's hit and needs a lawyer.
  • Toontown Online has eight of these, forming the "Lawbot" faction of the Cogs. They are, going from lowest level to highest: Bottom Feeder, Bloodsucker, Double Talker, Ambulance Chaser, Back Stabber, Spin Doctor, Legal Eagle, and Big Wig. They are led by the District Attorney.
  • The Forger from Town of Salem is a crooked lawyer who forges documents, working for The Mafia. Her role is to rewrite the Last Will of other players, preferably Town Investigatives. Her official backstory has her Trapped by Gambling Debts and forging wills to put money in Fake Charity until she did it to a family member of The Godfather who made her An Offer You Can't Refuse.

    Visual Novels 
  • This trope is a staple of the Ace Attorney series, given that most of the protagonists and antagonists are lawyers. Most of the asshole lawyers are prosecutors since you generally play as a defense attorney, but both sides get their own scumbags.
    • The page image is Miles Edgeworth's Evil Mentor, Manfred von Karma, who is Persecuting Prosecutor incarnate. Any time Edgeworth says something about all defendants being guilty or a perfect win record being paramount, it's something Manfred taught him and is far worse about. He's considered a 'God of Prosecution' due to going 40 years undefeated, something he only managed via tampering with evidence whenever it seemed like the defendant might actually be innocent. His appearance in Gyakutan Kenji 2's flashback case proves he's willing to stoop to coercing confessions by interrogating suspects without a lawyer present — a huge no-no in law, and which got him his only penalty (which probably would have been an arrest if the chief prosecutor wasn't even more corrupt than von Karma himself) when the attorney facing him, Gregory Edgeworth, revealed it to the court. And his perfectionism was such that he murdered Gregory soon afterward and became Miles' Evil Mentor specifically because he knew Gregory would hate what his son had become, culminating in plotting to frame Miles for the murders of Gregory and Robert Hammond.
    • Robert Hammond takes the dubious honor of being the first amoral defense attorney in the series; as a colleague recounts, he won cases for himself and never believed in his clients. This gets him killed. As Yanni Yogi's lawyer in the backstory, he took the case assuming Yogi was guilty and as such never bothered to investigate or argue Yogi's innocence, instead having Yogi plead insanity. Yogi was then Convicted by Public Opinion and forced to pretend to be insane, which completely ruined his life. Yanni Yogi later got his revenge by killing Hammond.
    • In the fourth case of Justice For All, this is a major plot point: Phoenix himself eventually figures out that his client is guilty of hiring an assassin, but his partner is being held hostage by that same assassin to get a not guilty verdict since the assassin has a reputation to keep up. Phoenix goes through much handwringing about what the right thing to do is, especially since his opponent Edgeworth is fresh off a Heel–Face Turn, and letting the client get off would most likely result in an innocent woman being convicted of the murder. Eventually, the player is forced to make a decision between guilty and not guilty when it looks like the attempt to Take a Third Option has been crushed. The choice doesn't actually affect anything, as just before Phoenix speaks up, somebody comes to save the day. But after the trial, Mia Fey tells you to think about the choice you made then as a sign of what being a defense attorney really means to you.
    • The Big Bad of Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney is Kristoph Gavin. He's not the first evil defense lawyer in the series, but he is the first one that isn't a murder victim and definitely the absolute worst. Legally speaking, the guy planned to win an important case with forged evidence and later on tried to win by implicating an (innocent) witness to the crime. Personally speaking, Kristoph ruined his rival Phoenix's career by framing him for forgery (the same forgery Kristoph himself was going to use) and tried to kill everyone who could connect him to that case, succeeding with Zak Gramarye (Kristoph's client, who fired him in favor of Phoenix because he thought Kristoph was untrustworthy) and Drew Misham (the guy who got him the forgery), and nearly succeeding with Drew's daughter Vera (the person who actually made the forgery), who was twelve years old at the time.
    • In Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth, there's Calisto Yew, who willingly defends a man she knows is guilty of murder in order to investigate the KG-8 incident, which confirms the younger Edgeworth and Franziska's contempt for defense attorneys. She turns out to be pretending to be a lawyer (to the point where Calisto Yew isn't even her real name), and is actually a spy and assassin for the smuggling ring.
    • Aristotle Means is an amoral attorney teacher, who genuinely believes any and all methods, no matter how unethical or illegal, must be used in order to achieve a goal. To him, the end justifies the means, no matter what. Fortunately, by the time the trial he's introduced in is over, the students realize he was full of crap, and set out to fix the damage he's done. The fact he murdered a fellow professor after being confronted for taking bribes certainly doesn't do him any favors.
    • Phoenix Wright himself stays on the 'protagonist' side of the line, but if he's your lawyer, he will believe in your innocence and defend you to the bitter end whether you want him to or not. He has defended multiple clients who wanted to plead guilty (Lana Skye, Ron DeLite, etc.) This is mostly because of his undying belief that his clients aren't guilty of their accusations, though. Thus, his acquaintances are more likely to call him the "Illogical Attorney", rather than amoral. The only time we catch a slight wind of this is in case 6-5 "Turnabout Revolution" when he sues Apollo's client and supports his case with obviously falsified testimony, especially since the plaintiff is a Jerkass Sleazy Politician. However, at the end of the trial, we learn that he only accepted the request because Maya was kidnapped for ransom again.
      • On the other hand, a chunk of the cast of Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 often imply that they think Phoenix Wright (and to a lesser extent, She-Hulk) is one. Magneto says that while he sacrifices for mutantkind, lawyers only sacrifice their dignity. Phoenix (Jean Gray) wonders what Phoenix is more hated, the world destructor or the lawyer, and before battle with Wright or She-Hulk, Ghost Rider asks them if they are aware of how many lawyers are in hell. In Wright's ending, he even defends Galactus.
    • In Spirit of Justice, the Kingdom of Khura'in doesn't contain any amoral defense attorneys... or any defense attorneys at all for that matter. It's completely ingrained into their culture to believe that all defense attorneys are inherently evil and will pull any underhanded trick to get their way, to the point that they passed a law stating that anyone who "supports criminals" will be considered just as guilty, and given the same punishment. Every defense attorney in the country was either imprisoned/executed under this law, or quit their jobs to avoid such a fate.
  • Zigzagged with Saul from Daughter for Dessert. On the one hand, Saul’s job at the beginning involves buying up distressed businesses at low prices, he drops his offers if the owners won’t quickly make up their minds to sell, and he conspires with Mortelli to tamper with evidence at the protagonist's criminal trial. On the other hand, he offers the business owners far more than what they think their own businesses are worth, he gives them ample time to read their sale contracts, and he represents the protagonist at his trial for free, despite the latter's insults. Plus, he insists that he has a sense of “honor, which is not for sale.”

    Web Animation 
  • Dan Mason, the protagonist of The Accuser, used to be a criminal defense attorney who didn't care if his clients were guilty or not as long as they paid for his services.
  • Ebaum's World Dot Com is a massive Take That! and Reason You Suck Song targeted at the proprietor of the titular website. It mentions that Eric has a team of Amoral Attorney prostitutes.
    He hired some male prostitutes
    And dressed them up in three-piece suits
    His faithful team of lawyers made the internet his bitch
  • Turnabout Jackpot has Richard Gunner, who one can describe as the Manfred Von Karma of defense attorneys. He would win cases for criminals and was more than willing to throw his clients under the bus if paid handsomely, like what he did with Charles Argine during the AC-3 case with Rex House. His methods of doing so are also linked to his mob connections, with him able to make incriminating evidence vanish and push witnesses into silence. While assumed dead from an attempt by Rex House to tie any loose ends, it turns out that he was Faking the Dead the entire time and is the true culprit of the case, waiting for the opportunity to get revenge. When faced in court, Gunner proves a slippery snake, willing to use any form of legal loophole in order to escape accountability, and he also happily looks forward to getting back in business during the Dark Age of the Law.
  • In Turnabout Storm, Trixie has apparently taken a page out of Franziska von Karma's book, displaying a very similar behavior to that of the Ace Attorney prosecutor, starting off with taking a case prosecuting Rainbow Dash out of personal vendetta against Twilight Sparkle, who's Rainbow Dash's friend and Phoenix's co-counsel.

  • Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures: Jyrras' mother is a lawyer and considered the most evil person in Furrae, even the demon Kria Soulstealer has an Even Evil Has Standards moment when talking to her.
  • Darths & Droids: Deconstructed. Strips #1857 and #1858 talk about how Pete chose to play a female character, Rey, in The Force Awakens because he had been acting as defense attorney to an accused stalker at the time of a previous game. (Annie is playing Finn in this arc.)
    Annie: How to put this... how in good conscience can you defend people who, realistically, have most likely done such awful things?
    Pete: It's not about that. The state is trying to lock someone in a cage against their will. It has huge resources at its disposal. The defendant has me. The state doesn't get to lock up citizens if it can't establish guilt within the law. I'm there to make sure the rules are followed.
    Annie: Hmmm.
    Pete: That guy was found guilty. After the fact, I'm glad he got put away. But more glad that it was done by the book, and not by abuse of power.
    GM: So... is this a hint or something?
  • Ennui GO!: Venus was a district attorney and served as the Big Bad for the second volume. She used every available legal tatic to destroy Izzy's career and reputation and wasn't above playing dirty to do so, like kidnapping a clone of Izzy and forcing her to testify under her name. However, when that proved to be a failure, she decides Murder Is the Best Solution and even hired Asher, a known Serial Killer, to assassinate Izzy.
  • Evil Diva's mom. Well, she is a devil.
  • General Protection Fault has Mercedes de la Croix. As the inter-office feud between Fred and Trent escalates into online flame wars, they threaten to sue each other for libel and seek out the services of lawyers. Neither comes off very well, but Fred, the more sympathetic of the two, hires Nicole, who eventually convinces him to drop his plans to sue Trent. Unfortunately, Trent manages to find Mercedes, who isn't just the only lawyer who believes his story about Fred being a sapient slime mold, but also is able to trick Nick into letting her into his apartment by pretending to be having car trouble. Mercedes doesn't employ any exceptionally underhanded or illegal tactics but prosecutes the case in hopes of using it to advance her career. When Trent loses the lawsuit and ends up on trial for his attempt to kill Fred, Mercedes drops him like a hot potato, angry at him for lying to her and having some more promising opportunities.
  • Grrl Power: Played with. Arianna, the legal counsel for the super team, is willing to stage a bank robbery, salivates at the thought of merchandising deals, and laughs madly at public opinion bending to her will. But she's still on the side of the angels; she notes to Sydney (when she's about to sign a paper that would make Arianna her lawyer) that she's not going to produce a document that will mean she has to sue herself once it's signed, and spends most of her time finding ways to make her team look good despite their behavior. Such as when a restaurant gets destroyed in a supervillain attack.
    Reporter: Is this the future of super-empowered law enforcement? Battle royales that destroy businesses and livelihoods?
    Arianna: Are you kidding? That's now the site of the first superhero battle in history! Talk about a tourist attraction! When it's rebuilt they should make it a restaurant and museum! I wonder if it's too late to buy a franchise!?
    Reporter: The spin is strong with this one.
    Suzie: She's not wrong.
    Waitress: I hope she's right, I have student loans! Could I sue the supervillains for lost wages?
    Arianna: Yes...yes you can! And I will help you!
    The Rant: Arianna is extremely excitable about certain aspects of the American legal system.
  • Homestuck:
  • It's Walky! has a lawyer of this nature who goes after the SEMME agency because he believes that they're reckless, irresponsible, immature, psychologically unstable, and hormonal time-bombs who cause an immense amount of destruction and death and, in some ways, do more harm than good. Although he's a slimy, unscrupulous jackass, it's kind of hard to argue with him.
  • Jamie in Leftover Soup got screwed over by his own lawyer when he tried to sue his insurance company for what he was owed. After sending Jamie to a sleazy doctor who fitted him with a fake neckbrace and sling to look more sympathetic in court, the lawyer agreed to settle out of court, took the entire settlement as his fee, and then charged Jamie an additional $300 in "processing fees" despite advertising that his clients wouldn't have to pay anything out of pocket.
  • Schlock Mercenary:
    • The Partnership Collective are a whole race of hive-minded, snakelike, evil lawyers.
    • Massey Reinstein, the legal consultant of Tagon's Toughs, is treated more sympathetically:
      Narrator (while Massey is being tortured by the Collective): Yes, I know they ARE all lawyers. You're supposed to be rooting for the friendly human one.
  • Ubersoft: Viktor Schreck is so uncaring about who he sues that not only is the process automated, but he is perfectly willing to sue himself for the company's good (It Makes Sense in Context).[1] [2]

    Web Original 
  • In Ace Attorney according to an AI, the fifth episode, Kristoph Gavin willingly defends Matt Engarde in court despite the latter confessing to killing his best friend for using an expensive brand of cooking oil and then stealing money out of his safe while on the witness stand, and gets Engarde aqcquitted. When Engarde suspects that Manfred von Karma, the prosecutor, will go after Engarde for killing Manfred's son, Kristoph says that if von Karma has "proof," he'll get von Karma charged with bribery or some other crime. The judge, Dahlia Hawthorne, praising Kristoph's performance and saying he has a great future in law would seem like a Stealth Insult if she hadn't acquitted Engarde.
  • Not actually seen in person, but Bennett the Sage has one for a lawyer, who once skipped Passover to help a client screw over his ex-spouse and used his legal partner's slush fund to pay for a vacation. Bennett, who's trying to cover his ass after learning the two leads of Plastic Little are under 18, threatens to call the lawyer's grandmother and the California Bar over the respective matters to force the lawyer to help him.
  • Can You Spare a Quarter?: Scott's specialty is contract law, specifically the ways to exploit companies without landing in trouble.
  • Dumb Lawyer Quotes IRL but in Ace Attorney amusingly discusses this trope in Part 7.
    Phoenix: The defendant said that prior to the occurrence of this offense, he hoped to attend medical school and become a physician. However, he believes with a felony conviction, he cannot achieve this goal. He is now considering becoming a lawyer.
  • Njal himself in Njal Gets Burned, who is Iceland's greatest lawyer, but mainly uses the law to get outcomes he wants in various scrapes he or his family get into. At one point he completely breaks Iceland's legal system as part of a gambit to make his foster-son a chieftain.
  • The Scott The Woz episode "The Trial" introduces Liza Lots, a lawyer whose main shtick is defending murderers.
    Liza: I defend murderers all the time; I love those little guys. I'm a big advocate for murder.
  • Kensington R. Killjoy, Esq. from the Something Awful: Dungeons & Dragons online series. He counts because he's a demonic lawyer.
  • Worm has Dashing Hispanic Quinn Calle, a lawyer who specializes in defending supervillains. His main case in the story is that of a young woman who is undoubtedly guilty of hundreds of cases of assault, kidnapping, robbery, and one case of premeditated murder, the protagonist Taylor. He assists her in drawing up legal documents as part of her plan to extort the local authorities while being in their custody, and witnesses her murder two people, commenting only "I've handled worse."
    • The father of Emma Barnes, Taylor's ex-best friend and one of the Girl Posse who made Taylor's life hell, makes sure that she and her fellow bullies only get a two-week suspension from school (which Taylor incorrectly considers an effective vacation[note]That also wasn't the *only* punishment they suffered; Madison ends up getting in trouble with her parents, while Sophia gets kicked off the track team and closely monitered[/note]) for all their bullying (which included stuffing Taylor in a locker filled with used and rotting feminine hygiene products) and also threatens to bleed Danny dry if legal action is pursued.

    Western Animation 
  • One episode of Adventures in Odyssey centered on John Avery Whittaker being falsely accused of cat burglary and being saddled with one of these for his defense lawyer, who does nothing whatever to defend his client — his final statement boils down to theatrically declaring, "GUILTY! GUILTY!! GUILTY!!! Thank you very much." — and tries to stop Dylan from showing the presiding judge definitive evidence of Whittaker's innocence just as the verdict is being delivered.
  • Biker Mice from Mars:
    • In the Clip Show episode "The Tribunal", the Biker Mice are put on trial for allegedly being needlessly excessive in their efforts to stop Limburger's evil plans. Lawrence Limburger bribes the prosecutor, named XL, so that he withholds footage that would confirm the Biker Mice's innocence.
    • One of the minor villains was a Plutarkian lawyer named Perry Provoloni.
  • The Boondocks: Parodied in one episode where a white lawyer (voiced by Adam West) uses racial identity and the jury's stupidity to successfully win a case for his defendant while belittling poor Tom Dubois and his mixed-race family in front of a cheering court.
  • Deconstructed with Helen from Daria. She does show some signs of this (she is a defense attorney after all), but she isn't necessarily a bad person. This trope has been brought up though when Daria tried to earn some extra cash writing term papers for college students.
    Jane: What happened to all your paper-writing money?
    Daria: My mom wouldn't let me keep it. She said it was wrong to encourage cheaters and to profit from them.
    Jane: So, she's giving up being a lawyer?
    Daria: I asked her that, and I'm sure someday we'll once again be on speaking terms.
  • Played with in an episode of The Fairly OddParents!. After being tricked by Norm the Jerkass Genie, Timmy realizes that in order to undo the mess, he'd need someone as deceitful and untrustworthy as him... so he immediately wished for a lawyer.
    • More recently, it was revealed that Foop became a lawyer in his never-ending quest to upstage Poof (he apparently got his degree while in prison).
    Foop: I knew that in order to defeat you, Poof, I needed to become something truly evil— a lawyer!
  • In an episode of Family Guy, after Peter claims he'd sell his soul for fame, the devil finds out he already sold it...twice! He asks where he can find a lawyer. Pan to see everyone in hell raise their hands.
  • Parodied in Futurama with Old Man Waterfall. He's a send-up of civil liberties lawyers, with an exaggerated zeal for defending controversial conduct. His personal life is also devoted to being as controversial as possible, being a polygamist and married to a man among other things.
  • Gary the Rat is all about an unscrupulous lawyer who, as the name suggests, happens to be an anthropomorphic rat.
  • Charles Foster Offdensen in Metalocalypse will do anything to keep the highly popular Dethklok safe and to protect their IP. Even if it means paying people if the band offended them, kidnapping minor offenders, and threatening them to make them keep silent. If it did not work, well let's just say that they'll be tortured, given a new identity, and dumped in the middle of nowhere. Hell, he even has an entire military police force to scope out people pirating Dethklok music. He's so good at his job that he could be an efficient dictator if he wanted.
  • A great example appears in The New Adventures of Lucky Luke where a corrupt lawyer strikes a deal with the Daltons and not only lies through his teeth to get them acquitted of the crimes they obviously committed, but he also bribes a judge to declare Luke guilty and imprison him. His lies were too good to last though... and he has to deal both with Luke's revenge plan and the Daltons' threat over his person once they don't need him anymore.
  • Frequently played straight, if comically, on The Simpsons.
    • Lionel Hutz was a dishonest and blatant Ambulance Chaser who frequently attempted to use Insane Troll Logic, forged evidence, and shady dealings in order to win his cases. Would've probably been a Hate Sink if he didn't also happen to be an incompetent moron.
      Judge Snyder: This verdict is written on a cocktail napkin. And it still says guilty! And guilty is spelled wrong!
    • Often representing Mr. Burns is the Blue-Haired Lawyer, a pastiche of Real Life scumbag Roy Cohn. He is always competent and cold, as in this exchange following Lisa's brilliant suggestion to a TV executive (from "The Itchy and Scratchy and Poochy Show" - 1997):
      George Meyers, Jr.: That's it... That's it, little girl! You just saved Itchy and Scratchy!
      Lawyer: Please sign these papers indicating that you did not save Itchy and Scratchy.
    • Note that Mr. Burns really doesn't like him, nor does he like the rest of his legal team, as proven by the way he yelled at them in "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?" (When he needed legal advice from them, no less.)
    • It should also be noted that the Blue-Haired Lawyer, unlike some of the examples below, seems truly amoral (not immoral) at times. He brought his usual competency to bear while representing Bart when Bart pursued legal emancipation from his family due to financial and other grievances against Homer, no matter his actual feelings about the situation: when Bart declared that he wanted to legally separate from his family in his office, his "You wha?!" seems to imply he is aghast; when Bart repeats himself, however, the Blue-Haired Lawyer reveals that he understood him perfectly and was merely calling his assistant who is named "Uwa" to get him the necessary forms.
    • One Halloween episode has him writing all the legal paper to allow Mr. Burns to hunt his guests, as killing is part of Burns' religion and they are on a hunting zone. Burns shoots him the moment he is finished with the paper. It's not like he didn't see it coming; the lawyer was invited purposefully to be hunted, and his instinct kicked in.
    • In the episode "Homer and Lisa Exchange Cross Words", the plot fully kicks in when the Blue-Haired Lawyer arrives at Bart and Lisa's lemonade stand, demanding that they get a work permit to keep it open (the fact that they are too young to own a driver's license, let alone a work permit, does not bother him).
    • "When will you humans learn that feelings, as you call them, can get in the way of big cash payoffs? Bwahahahaha!" —spoken by a divorce lawyer (not the Blue-Haired Lawyer) to Manjula, in the episode where she found that Apu was cheating on her.
  • A less-than-competent example is Kyle Broflovski's lawyer father, Gerald, who nonetheless proceeds to help Eric Cartman and a number of other South Park children bankrupt the local school system through a series of frivolous sexual harassment lawsuits, using the money to build a huge mansion for his family. Despite this, Gerald is often portrayed as a competent lawyer, even in this episode.
    • As South Park tends to do, though, the treatment of lawyers is surprisingly fair. They're in it for the money, not For the Evulz, and do have hearts— when the good guys can't scrape together the cash, South Park!Johnny Cochrane uses his Chewbacca Defense for them instead, for free.
  • Tom and Jerry: The Movie brought us Lickboot, Aunt Figg's lawyer sidekick. He doesn't even get to do any lawyer-ing— his profession is just there to tell us that, yes, you can count on him to be as greedy as the rest of the villains. Tony Jay gives him an uncharacteristically snide, petulant voice, at least for the Villain Song. Also:
    Aunt Figg: Now stop talking! You're a lawyer— scheme!
    Lickboot: We've got to have more... MONEEEY!''
  • In the Van Beuren Studios Tom & Jerry short "Trouble", Tom and Jerry are running a failing lawyer business, and resort to Shameless Self-Promotion by walking right in front of a marching band.
  • The Venture Bros. gives us Monstroso, a supervillain lawyer, which is, as Dr. Mrs. the Monarch describes it, "Like having a shark with a grenade launcher on its head."


Video Example(s):


Advocate for Murder

Defense attorney, Liza Lots, proudly admits that she loves defending murderers.

How well does it match the trope?

4.97 (35 votes)

Example of:

Main / AmoralAttorney

Media sources: