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'The Good Wife': Good Law? -- Season 7, Episode 1

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By Christopher Coble, Esq. on October 05, 2015 11:59 AM

Last night's episode was the premiere of what promises to be an epic seventh season.

Here's what you need to know from last night's episode, entitled "Bond."

The Good Wife: Good Law?

Season 7, Episode 1
"Bond"

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More Legal Analysis of CBS' "The Good Wife":

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  • Season 7, Episode 2 (Airs 10/11/15)

Episode Recap (Spoiler Alert):

Alicia's new firm is off to a shaky start as she's hustling bond hearing cases and makes a new friend in fellow bar attorney Lucca Quinn. She also gets a client passed on from Louis Canning as he tries to woo her into his firm. Alicia resists at first, but in the end, assents to Canning sending her cases. The case from Canning pits Alicia against her old firm, going head-to-head with Diane and David Lee over an expensive inheritance.

Finally, Alicia is on board with Peter's Presidential/Vice-Presidential campaign, but it looks like it will be a rocky ride. Peter fired Eli Gold and brought on a national campaign manager Ruth Eastman, which should create a season-long rivalry as Alicia hired Eli as her chief of staff.

Legal Roots:

Alicia's main case of the episode was the aforementioned probate dispute. A woman didn't leave a will; instead, she tacked sticky notes with one of her two children's name on it in order to bequeath her property. One of these pieces is a signed print from Marc Chagall estimated to be worth $8 million. But the deceased sticky notes are in disarray on the floor, and a battle of the experts ensues with each side trying to prove their note was the last to be attached to the picture's frame.

Dying intestate (without a will) can cause all sorts of problems, especially if there are valuable pieces of property to be inherited. In a twist, the last note found beneath the picture actually listed the woman's housekeeper as the inheritor. But, as Alicia's new buddy Quinn astutely points out, Illinois probate law prohibits non-family caregivers from inheriting any property worth more than $20,000.

Legal Fiction:

The other half of the legal action takes place in Judge Don Schakowsky's bond court. The judge, played by Christopher McDonald (aka Shooter McGavin from "Happy Gilmore"), "handles 350 cases a day" and has no time for delays, like Alicia trying to figure out what happened to her clients or arguing over the amount the judge is setting as a defendant's bail.

While the need to move things along is understandable, the judge threatens to tax Alicia's clients if she continues to argue or otherwise slow things down. The Eighth Amendment prohibits excessive bail, so while a judge may consider a defendant's flight risk and ties to the community when setting bail, he or she can't vindictively raise a bail amount to punish an attorney.

Legal Babble

Bar Attorneys: When appearing in bond court, Alicia, Lucca, and two other lawyers are referred to as "bar attorneys." As Judge Schakowsky explains, these particular defendants aren't poor enough for public defenders, but may not have their own attorneys, so they are able to hire a bar attorney at $135 to represent them on bond.

(Along with other advice, Lucca points out that Alicia will probably only get paid if she makes clients check a box saying the $135 fee will go straight to her.)

Legal Verdict

By the end, Alicia is beginning to get her feet under her in bond court and Lucca saves the day in probate. Something tells me these two will be teaming up more often in the future.

Until next week, I'll leave you with Louis Canning question: When you bump into someone on the street, are you the person who says, "Sorry" or the person who says "Watch it?"

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 at @FindLawConsumer with the hashtag #TheGoodWife.

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