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Legal drama

Legal drama are stories, usually written in novel form but sometimes in dramatic form (for the stage or TV), about topics related to the legal profession. This is the fastest growing category of fiction; books by authors such as John Grisham have been consistent bestsellers.

It is widely believed by most practicing lawyers that legal dramas result in the general public having misconceptions about the legal process. Many of these misconceptions result from the desire to create an interesting story. For example, conflict between parties make for an interesting story, which is why legal dramas emphasize the trial and ignore the fact that the vast majority of civil and criminal cases in the United States are settled out of court. Legal dramas also focus on situations where there is an obvious injustice or ones in which either the plaintiff or defendant is very interesting and unusual. As a result, things such as the insanity defense occur far more often in legal drama than in real life. Finally, legal dramas often focus on areas of the legal process which can be portrayed dramatically, such as oral arguments, and ignore areas which are less easily portrayed, such as researching a written legal brief.

Television shows that fall into this category include:

See also: issues melodrama; legal fiction