Many lawyers will admit to knowing someone like Saul Goodman, the fictional criminal lawyer with stellar yet suspect negotiating skills and questionable ethics on the American television series Breaking Bad.
They just don’t want to admit that it might be them.
Are There Really Lawyers Like Saul Out There?
An Irishman named Saul McGill who changes his name to Goodman because he believes that people think Jewish people make better lawyers, Saul Goodman practices law the way it is practiced today, according to Rolling Stone. Goodman is the kind of lawyer that “knows a guy who knows a guy,” and his character lightened up an otherwise relatively dark cult drama.
Many of the stereotypical depictions of lawyers are present in Goodman, including:
- Manipulative – The public has a common perception that criminal defense lawyers manipulate the law to get the results they want, but are unjust. Hence, “he got off on a technicality.” Saul manipulates the law like “pieces on a chessboard,” according to a report on NPR.org. He stays out of danger, all the while trying to make as much money as he can – for himself, of course.
- Long-winded – Attorneys are famous for talking just to hear themselves talk, especially in court. Saul personifies this in the way he just keeps talking until he successfully convinces the person that he’s talking to.
- Sleazy – Goodman’s character makes sleazy believable, and it’s almost charming the way he bends the rules. But a lawyer who behaves that way in the real world typically doesn’t last very long.
- Image-conscious – Saul sports a comb-over in the front and a mullet in the back, his effort at trying to be all things to all people, riding the fence as many attorneys try to do. Cleaned up on the sides to look professional, comb-over to appear younger, and the mullet to appeal to the relaxed dudes out there.
- Aggressive – Saul exemplifies all the negative ways attorneys find clients – billboard ads, pushy television commercials, and a tagline that has become a spinoff show: “Better Call Saul.”
Now that Saul’s role in Breaking Bad is over, he will soon resurface on Better Call Saul, a spin-off series based totally on Goodman’s character. This might give viewers a chance to learn more about Saul, and his twisted sense of right and wrong, and the point behind some of Saul’s favorite quotes:
- “If you’re committed enough, you can make any story work. I once told a woman I was Kevin Costner, and it worked because I believed it.”
- “Did you plan for this contingency? I mean, the Starship Enterprise had a self-destruct button. I’m just saying.”
- “All right, $16,000 laundered at 75 cents on the dollar, minus my fee, which is 17 percent, comes out to $9,960. Congratulations, you’ve just left your family a second-hand Subaru.
- “I like my women like I like my lawyers – classy with the right amount of dirty.”
- “Better call Saul!”
Most people would probably agree that a nice lawyer may not be the lawyer you want to hire, and there is a perception that those that personify Saul Goodman get results. Remember, like Saul says, “You don’t want a criminal lawyer, you want a criminal lawyer.”