The truth about the law: Forget everything you learned on TV

Who needs a lawyer when you can just binge the latest marathon of “Law & Order,” “Suits,” or “The Good Fight?”

YOU do. In fact, forget EVERYTHING you’ve ever learned on TV about the law because it’s all fake, dramatized and scripted. Yes, even the reality shows.

As a lawyer, I don’t like legal shows because they tend to over-dramatize and under-represent what is already an incredibly stressful and taxing system – simply for entertainment purposes. And, as a result, people believe that’s how it actually works.

For instance, most popular crime-related dramas are about criminal law (crimes against people and state). But what do you know about civil law, aka wrongs done between people that don’t necessarily amount to a crime? 

Whether you’re a business owner, aspiring entrepreneur or an employee, it’s important to know the difference between the two:

  • With criminal law, your resolution options are jail or no jail.
  • Civil law is usually centered around money and does not result in jail time. 

But if you think that a business issue can’t be resolved without the courts, think again, because more often than not, it can.

That’s why around 95% of cases settle.

Whether civil or criminal, as a party, an attorney, a judge, court staff, a witness, or even an onlooker, working within the justice system and being within the justice system can be the most hair-raising illogical and seemingly unfair experience you’ve ever had in your life. Even when you win. 

And the reality is that the legal system was built by flawed humans. So, it’s far from being perfect, clear, or predictable. 

The why having clear contracts, setting clear expectations, living your life and running your business the way you want is so important.

Extra Credit

As you go about your day, think about these questions:

  1. Do you know some other key differences between civil and criminal cases? Test your knowledge below: 
    • Cases involving conflict between people or businesses, such as: marriages dissolving, family issues (i.e. child custody,) someone passing away and how to distribute their property, or who’s going to pay to fix the fence between two neighbors’ houses after a car accident or hurricane. CIVIL or CRIMINAL?
    • These are cases involving enforcing expectations of behavior as outlined in the law. These cases start with cops and then the government prosecutes. CIVIL or CRIMINAL?
    • In these cases, one or more people aka plaintiffs, bring a lawsuit against another one or more people aka defendants. In other words, the plaintiff files a complaint in court that begins the lawsuit. CIVIL or CRIMINAL?


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