As an attorney, I am often asked how realistic is the Saul Goodman character on the AMC hit series Breaking Bad. I tell them, while I’ve known my share of ethically challenged lawyers, there are not many real-time Saul Goodmans out there. For one thing, any lawyer having as weak a moral compass as Saul would most likely be disbarred in a short amount of time. Even in a “live and let live” state such as New Mexico, a Saul Goodman would not be long for the legal profession.
The most unrealistic aspect of the Saul Goodman character, however, is his proficiency in all areas of the law. Not only is Saul a crack criminal lawyer (no pun intended), he also handles personal injury cases, divorces cases, contacts, you name it! Most lawyers tend to limit their practices to one area of law. Saul is the antithesis of the old adage, “a jack of all trades, a master of none.” There is no case Saul can’t handle. There is no case Saul won’t do whatever is necessary to win.
There are many real lawyers with Saul-like characteristics. Saul has been described as manipulative, verbose, sleazy, image-conscious, aggressive, shysterish. But very few real lawyers have all those characteristics in spades!
As a Breaking Bad fan, I am excited about the premiere of the show’s spinoff, Better Call Saul. If the show’s creator, Vince Gilligan, is half as successful with the spinoff as he was with the original series, Better Call Saul should be a huge hit.