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High Profile Lawyers: Their Role in and Unbalanced Criminal Justice System

High profile lawyers and an unbalanced criminal justice system coinside with each other. Our justice system is one that needs a tramendous amount of work especially when it comes to wealth discrimination. However, this form of discrimination starts with the lawyers. Celebrities will obviously achieve to obtain the best lawyer they can find when being accused of a crime. The average person is already at a disadvantage because lawyers that are not public defenders can cost thousands of dollars. Lawyers of high stature cause a ripple in our system because they have been known to find legitimate ways to keep their clients out of jail. They also are known to simaltaneously use shameless self promotion when in the media for their own benefit. These methods that they use are another reason the justice system is plumetting. There is a criminal justice system for the average person, and then a completely different one for high class people, and that is something that needs to be changed in this country.

High profile lawyers primerily take cases that involve celebrities, this means that they are paid more generously by their clients. High profile lawyers by definition are well-respected lawyers of higher notoriety in our justice system, that are able to gain media attention and are only available to people with a lot of money. Usually, the only clientele that can afford this type of lawyer is also of a higher profile or is wealthy. As explained in an article written by H. Patrick Furman called “Publicity in High Profile Criminal Cases”, these lawyers also have connections and power in the media that is higher than that of a public defender. This means that a client of higher status may have more options and plea deals at the time of sentencing because a jury may have formed an opinion influenced by a tabloid. This will allow an unfair trial to take place for the client, possibly because of the lawyers’ reputation. Lawyers of this stature do not typically use legitimate strategies when it comes to defending and keeping their clients out of jail. However, this is tolorated because the lawyer may once again have a favorable reputation. Winning the case is the ideal situation for these lawyers. However, one of the most important things about representing a celebrity for a lawyer is the exposure they get afterwars. This exposure can be very beneficial to the lawyer. It is also explained in the article by Furman that “it seemed that the lawyers spent more time in front of the camera than in front of the bench. Ironically, after the trial, half of the lawyers got their own television shows.” This proves the definition above, and leaves you wondering if money is the only motivation for these lawyers.

The criminal justice system has never and will never have a perfectly balanced system based on two things, guilty and not guilty. In the more recent years, it seems that the justice system has gotten better at trying to be fair and serve justice where it is needed. Unfortunately, one of the setbacks to the development of an equal justice system is that not all people have access to the same kind of defense from a lawyer. People who are wealthy are beginning to have an easier time in court. Many people who are accused of committing a crime have to make use of the public defender they are given. What many dont know is that public defenders take on a lot oof cases at once since they are not paid as much, and this is not fair considering that their clients case is not getting enough attention for it to be successful. An unbalanced criminal justice system is a system by which the courts treat a person differently than they treat other people because of their status. According to an article titled “Celebrity Justice” by John Gibeaut “advocates say today’s unmatched effort at secrecy cheats the public out of its First Amendment right to observe and criticize the system through its surrogates in the press. Ideally, public oversight is supposed to keep the system honest.” Also, if a person is of a higher status it should be expected by themselves and whoever is representing them that it is inevitable that the case will somehow get into the media. A low profile case may not end up in the media and all over tabloids, but, that does not mean that the infromation is not public. It seems that the advantages for wealthy people are endless, while the disadvantages for the average person keep piling up on the other end. John Gilbeaut thinks that this type of separation helps to “[create] the appearance of a two-tiered justice system-one for celebrities and the other for everyone else-media”. It is further explained that our justice system is unbalanced and unjust when it comes to higher profile cases. It should not matter who you are, no alligations should be ignored and everyone should be held accountable for their actions.

It is not difficult to understand that high profile lawyers find their way around the system. Their methods are known to be unlawful and discriminatory, they are also known for gaining a lot of media attention while representing someone that everyone knows. It is unclear what the motive behind their work actually is. It is entirely possible that high profile lawyers are only defending a majority of these people because they are wealthy. I can not think of a case where a high profile lawyer did something or represented someone that did not have a lot of money. Also, people of the lower and middle class a lot of the time do not have access to these kinds of lawyers, therefore they do no get the same type of representation. Everyone should be able to get the same type of representation, without wealth discrimination and no one should be above the law. That is what is wrong with our criminal justice system today.


Gibeaut, J. (2005). Celebrity justice. ABA Journal, 91(1), 43-49.

Furman, H. (1998). Publicity in high profile criminal cases. St. Thomas Law Review, 10(3), 507-536.

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