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The Most Inspirational Lawyer Ever?

The Most Inspirational Lawyer Ever?

When in her confirmation hearings for the Supreme Court Sonia Sotamayor discussed the influence of Perry Mason on her career, it got us thinking, what do the lawyers named to Super Lawyers think of the TV lawyer icon? Turns out they think a lot. Here are just a handful of the many comments about the TV lawyer that have made it into the pages of Super Lawyers.
Deryck Palmer of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft:
“If I had to trace the origins [of my fascination] with law, it goes back to when I was a young child. You may laugh, but I watched Perry Mason and I was very impressed. Raymond Burr did an excellent job of capturing the impact lawyers can have.”

(From “The Eagle Scout,” published in New York Super Lawyers 2008 — September 2008)

Thomas Salerno of Squire Sanders:
            “[I wanted to become a lawyer] from watching trial shows on TV such as Perry Mason. I come from a working-class background, and the idea of wearing a suit to work intrigued me. I was also intrigued by the power that lawyers seem to have in their spheres.”

(From “Q&A with Tom Salerno,” published in Southwest Super Lawyers 2009 — May 2009)

Michele Coleman Mayes, General Counsel of Allstate:
            “I think I can attribute [my interest in law] to Perry Mason. It was on TV at the time and he always won.”

(From In Good Hands,” published in Super Lawyers — Corporate Counsel Edition – May 2009 — May 2009)

W. Henry Jernigan of Dinsmore & Shohl:
     “The one I saw the most growing up was Perry Mason. Looking back, I always find, with great amusement, that Perry never had to look at a law book and always had someone stand up and plead guilty in the back of the courtroom. I’m still waiting for that to happen.”

(From “Q&A with W. Henry Jernigan,” published in Virginia Super Lawyers 2009 — July 2009)

Robert Dawson of DawsonBrown:
    “I really think it was mainly TV [that influenced him to become a lawyer.]. In those days it was the show Perry Mason. Didn’t you love how you always knew who was guilty: It was the person who got on the stand the last five minutes of the show. But think of that show: Every week, Hamilton Burger was trying an innocent person for murder, and nobody seemed to care.”
 (From “Q&A with Robert K. Dawson,” published in Washington Super Lawyers 2009 — June 2009)

 And finally,

 Lonnie Williams:
To this day I am an absolute fan of Perry Mason. And I still believe today that the legal profession would be much better off if we resorted back to trying cases the way Perry Mason did. Forget about the discovery; forget about spending all this time in pretrial. Let’s just go out and learn the facts, put the witnesses on the stand and try cases. I love examining witnesses who have not been deposed. Most lawyers would think that’s crazy but I think that is a much purer form of the art.”
(From “Q&A with Lonnie Williams, Quarles & Brady, Phoenix,” published in Southwest Super Lawyers 2008 — June 2008)


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