Undergraduate Module Descriptor

LAW3010: The Lawyer, Ethics and Popular Culture

This module descriptor refers to the 2013/4 academic year.


NQF Level 6
Credits 15 ECTS Value 7.5
Term(s) and duration

This module ran during term 2 (12 weeks)

Academic staff

Mr Craig Newbery-Jones (Lecturer)

Dr Mitchell Travis (Convenor)





Available via distance learning


What do you think of when you hear the term lawyer? Do you think trustworthy? Helpful? Perhaps honest? This module questions how society has responded to these questions. Popular culture has often depicted the lawyer in an unsavoury light. These depictions are informed by popular perceptions of legal ethics which are widely considered to be minimal, unenforced and widely circumvented. This module encourages you to consider both sides of this debate; from the regulation of the legal professional to their representation in films and other texts.


In this module you will consider how the public, both historically and contemporarily, have perceived lawyers and their ethics. Images of lawyers have permeated popular culture, from the plays of Shakespeare, to Atticus Finch in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mocking Bird, to Aaron Eckhart’s recent portrayal of Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight. What do these texts tell us about popular perceptions of professional ethics? And to what extent are they influenced by the regulation of the legal profession? In this module you will engage with popular culture and will critically consider recent changes to the legal profession such as the Legal Services Act (2007), de-regulation and the relationship between ethics and the modern lawyer.


This course will use traditional sources of popular culture such as literature, theatre and newspapers alongside non-traditional ‘beyond the text’ sources such as film, television and graphic novels to examine the ethics of lawyers and principles of justice. 

Module created

15 February 2012

Last revised