A Lawyer on Rake

The TV Rake is like an ethics exam exploded. The show is about a seriously flawed attorney who seems to put himself above his client’s interests to get on TV, has huge gambling debts, an expired driver’s license, tax problems, an unpaid assistant and whose most stable relationship is with a $500 an hour prostitute when he is not womanizing.  All of these issues would put the attorney’s moral character into serious question.

That being said, this is the first lawyer show since I have enjoyed since law school. It is like a train wreck you cannot turn away from. Moreover, there is a redeeming quality to the attorney that he is actually trying to zealously represent his clients as required by his ethical duties, despite serious character flaws that scream disbarment.

Yes, there is the willing suspension of disbelief that three Amish men arrested for shaving an Amish bishop would go to trial in a matter of days for a hate crime and attempted murder in Los Angeles. The right to a speedy trial aside, the docket is not that slow in LA. Never mind doing any discovery.

However, that trial ended correctly. There was not the intent for attempted murder, but definitely enough evidence to convict the men of assault.

Additionally, the pilot highlighted the importance of conducting document review to analyze sentence structure to identify false confessions from the one true confession of a defendant.  The fact the first confession was true was something that could be hidden from the Court. While there were still multiple unsolved murders, the defendant was lawfully in prison for killing someone.

Lawyers have an important duty to society to represent their clients and do justice. This requires truthfulness to the courts, avoiding the commingling of client funds, and a whole list of rules governing professional conduct. We are supposed to be guardians of the judicial system. Rake might be a massive ethical pile-up on The 405 that will make a lawyer shake their head, but it is hard not to enjoy the show.

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Josh Gilliland
Josh Gilliland is a California attorney who focuses his practice on eDiscovery. Josh is the co-creator of The Legal Geeks, which has made the ABA Journal Top Blawg 100 Blawg for 2013 to 2016, and was nominated for Best Podcast for the 2015 Geekie Awards. Josh has presented at legal conferences and comic book conventions across the United States. He also ties a mean bow tie.