On May 24, 2010 (Victoria Day) the TV series Law and Order came to an end after 20 seasons and 456 episodes. While I can’t claim to be a fervent fan of the show I did see a portion of those 456 episodes and feel that 20 seasons of legal drama should be acknowledged. By the numbers (and I used a very unscientific method to compile them): the show premiered on Sept 13, 1990 and ended on May 24, 2010 (canceled on May 14, 2010). Over that time 11 different police detectives were portrayed on the show with 2 different police lieutenants; 5 District Attorneys; 3 Executive D.A.s; 8 Assistant D.A.s; and 183 Judges. The actor that appeared in the most episodes was S. Epatha Merkerson, appearing in 391 episodes as police lieutenant and the most frequently occurring Judge appeared in 27 episodes.
In my position at an academic law library I’ve noticed that such legal dramas have a tendency to give students considering law school a somewhat skewed view of the profession, which is often dramatically altered after first year and especially after they experience life at firm in the summer after 1L. This sometimes leads to disillusionment; not in all cases of course, but I have a few conversations with some crestfallen students returning for 2L every September. By their very nature legal dramas focus on the dramatic aspects of the legal profession leaving out the other 95% of the profession, and students have to learn about that other substantial portion of the profession.
Speaking of students who have successfully climbed that mountain, today is convocation at the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University, the class of 2010 being the first class to graduate from the Schulich School of Law. The “convocation” link above will lead you to a live webcast of the ceremonies at 2:30pm Atlantic time. As part of the ceremonies today The Hon. Justice Thomas Cromwell will receive an honarary degree. As a sampling of some of our students here is a profile of one of our deserving graduates of 2010, Jim Janson