'Good Wife,' Good Law: Concerns Over Co-Counsel

By Tanya Roth, Esq. on March 11, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The latest episode of "The Good Wife," entitled "Runnin' With the Devil," was a solid one.

For starters, someone actually addressed the elephant in the room -- i.e., that the lawyers at Lockhart Garner are impeccably well-dressed for lawyers.

And we met a new character: Charles Lester, played by the lovable Wallace Shawn (he played the geeky teacher in the 1990s movie "Clueless," according to IMDb).

'Runnin' With the Devil': Recap

In "Runnin' With the Devil," drug kingpin and notorious Lockhart Gardner client Lemond Bishop starts losing faith in his legal team and asks Alicia to bring his personal lawyer into the case. That's when we first meet Charles Lester.

Of course, Alicia is less than impressed when the little man walks into the room. If you've ever seen "Clueless" or "The Princess Bride," you'll remember the actor, Wally Shawn, as a very non-threatening figure.

Here, he's not much better. Shuffling papers and not being able to keep his train of thought, he's seemingly unimpressive. So what's he doing as the lawyer for a drug lord?

Reality Check: Co-Counsel Arrangements

In the real world, how exactly does that work? Assume you've hired a top-notch law firm and now you want to bring in your brother-in-law, who also happens to be an attorney, to work with them.

The arrangement is called "co-counsel." And frankly, unless you're a scary drug lord or a big-dollar client, it's unlikely that a large law firm would jeopardize its case by bringing your recommended co-counsel into the case.

Another time a large firm might consider bringing on a client's recommended co-counsel is when the addition of that attorney would be to the strategic benefit to the case. For example, if that attorney had some subject matter expertise, some "friends" on the judicial bench, or some other good reason.

In the case of Charles Lester, the firm really included him in the case because their scary gangster client told them to. But as the episode unfolds, we learn that there's a lot more to Charles Lester than asking "irrelevant" questions to the witnesses when they meet them privately.

One particular question caught our attention. "How old are your children?" Lester asked a witness in one scene. How old are they, indeed. Can you say witness intimidation?

What did you think of this week's episode of "The Good Wife"? Is the show guilty of making any legal mistakes? Check back here for more legal recaps of "The Good Wife," and send us a tweet @FindLawConsumer with the hashtag #TheGoodWife.

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