Movie Lessons in Law
“Philadelphia” is based on the story of an attorney named Geoffrey Bowers. In the 1980s, Geoffrey Bowers was suddenly dismissed from his position at a prominent law firm. Bowers suspected that he had been fired because he had been diagnosed with AIDS. He took the law firm to court and eventually won the case in one of the first major AIDS-discrimination lawsuits.
This film is especially fascinating because it takes a dramatic look at a groundbreaking legal case. There are some interesting lessons about the practice of law woven into the film’s powerful story.
1) Social Justice Issues Are Explored in Courtrooms
In the 1980s, the epidemic of HIV and AIDS was both catastrophic and mysterious. Doctors did not fully understand these conditions and effective treatments had not yet been developed. Additionally, the public view of HIV/AIDS was filled with misinformation and stereotypes.
Just as civil rights issues were debated in courtrooms in the 1960s, the social justice issue of AIDS-based discrimination came to light in courtrooms in the 1980s. These court cases were partly responsible for exposing the issue of discrimination.
2) Lawyers Must Find Objective Truth
One of the central concerns of “Philadelphia” is the way in which the truth can be portrayed. The law firm insists that Andrew Beckett was fired because of his job performance. Beckett maintains that this is merely an excuse to fire him because of his medical condition.
It is the job of Beckett’s lawyer, Joe Miller, to find solid evidence of his client’s claim. Without evidence, Beckett’s claim would have been quickly tossed out of court. Miller must work to find a thread of objective truth behind the subjective reasoning of the law firm.
3) Justice Is More Important than Personal Opinions
At first, Beckett’s lawyer doesn’t want to take the case. Miller doesn’t agree with Beckett’s lifestyle and has several major misconceptions about Beckett’s condition.
Eventually, Miller is able to overcome his incorrect ideas and see the importance of finding justice for Beckett. Skilled attorneys can set aside personal opinions so that they can focus on the needs of the client.
Getting Legal Help
If you are in a situation similar to the movie Philadelphia and need a criminal defense attorney to defend your rights, then get a hold of Brett A. Podolsky today by calling 713.227.0087.