With his imposing stature and deep voice, Fred Thompson, who played district attorney Arthur Branch on the long-running TV series Law & Order, was utterly believable as a tough-but-wise authority figure.
Imagine that you die after a long series of illnesses. Because you've been successful in your field and leave a considerable estate. You might expect a will challenge - sure. But from your former lawyer? Now, that's one weird situation.
Most of us don't have $300 million to leave behind when we pass on. But for those who do, it's no surprise when there's a fight over their wills. And when they leave most of their estate to charities and caretakers instead of family members? Bring on the trusts and estates lawyers.
Most lawyers say, emphatically, that all older Americans - heck, all Americans, period - should have a will. But let's face it: Even by the time they die, most people haven't accumulated much in terms of an estate.
If Ronald Lee Motley hadn't existed, some novelist or screenwriter surely would have made him up: a high-powered, flamboyant attorney with a smooth-as-silk Southern drawl who fancied ostrich-skin cowboy boots and liked to sail on a 165-foot yacht named after Themis, the female Greek titan of law, whenever he wasn't in a courtroom whacking corporate bigwigs around like so many piñatas.
Rafael Lee is 82, it's true. But the New Yorker's energy and attitude revealed itself when he hired a lawyer to protest a law firm's attempt to evict him from his rent-controlled apartment - and won.
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