Blame it on television.
For better or for worse, television empowers us to believe that we are knowledgeable and capable. We watch crime dramas, and suddenly we’re experts on forensic evidence. We watch do-it-yourself programs on TLC or HGTV, and we become convinced that we can renovate a home.
But sometimes, it’s best to get a second opinion regarding the reality behind a concept or idea depicted on television. That’s why FindLaw’s new blog series — Legal How-To and Good Wife, Good Law — can help readers distinguish between legal fact and Hollywood fiction.
Much like a home improvement tutorial on how to paint patterns, Legal How-To offers step-by-step tutorials for tackling simple legal problems on your own. For example, one recent post offered instructions on filing a minor car accident claim.
There's a key difference, however, between FindLaw's Legal How-To and a traditional do-it-yourself article: While most DIY pieces take a never-say-die approach to completing a project, FindLaw recommends that a reader hire an attorney if an issue becomes too complex. That's because most legal rights are limited by strict procedural rules and timelines.
When a reader's financial future or legal rights are at stake, it's more prudent to transfer a claim into the hands of a capable attorney.
Good Wife, Good Law
And speaking of capable attorneys, will your outcome in real life mirror what you see on TV? Sometimes, it's interesting to get a lawyer's take on the inconsistencies between legal dramas and legal realities.
At FindLaw, we're offering insight into the accuracy of Hollywood's version of the law by dissecting episodes of "The Good Wife" on our Celebrity Justice blog. For example, would a criminal defendant receive a next-day "speedy trial" as one of Alicia Florrick's clients did on an April episode of the show? Since 'The Good Wife' is set in Illinois, we researched the answer under Illinois law and explained why prosecutors would have been given more time to build a case.
Do you have a Legal How-To suggestion? Have you caught an obvious error on 'The Good Wife'? Share them with us. Connect with FindLaw on Twitter (@FindLawConsumer) and hashtag your tweet with #HowTo or #TheGoodWife. Your tweet could inspire our next post!