November 19, 2017

Legal television titans reflect on Hollywood’s perceptions of justice

David E. Kelley and Jonathan Shapiro, two of the masterminds behind America’s most iconic television legal dramas, took center stage for “Pop Culture and the Perception of Justice,” a conversation moderated by Renee Montagne, the co-host of NPR’s “Morning Edition” on Aug 5 during the 2016 ABA Annual Meeting in San Francisco.

David E. Kelley has been the most influential TV screenwriter for legal drama in America with a string of hit shows, including "The Practice" and "Ally McBeal," which in 1999 won both Emmy and Golden Globe Awards in the Outstanding/Best Drama Series category. The former Boston lawyer, who started as a writer for "L.A. Law" in 1986, also has among his credits "Boston Legal,"

"Picket Fences" and "Chicago Hope."

Jonathan Shapiro, a former federal prosecutor and special assistant to then Attorney General Janet Reno, has worked with Kelley on several productions, and is the author of "Deadly Force," the first of three ABA Ankerwycke legal thrillers featuring fictional federal prosecutor Lizzie Scott.

In this conversation, the two, now collaborators on an upcoming 8-part Amazon Prime series on the law called "Goliath," explore why Americans find legal drama so fascinating and how TV and real-life courtroom cases influence the public's perception of justice.

Kelly-Ann Clarke, a self-proclaimed “fan girl,” and former chair of the ABA Young Lawyers Division, introduced the program.