A lawyer finds out how frustrating practicing law can be due to lack of ehtical behavior and goes on to teach law and ethics. Coming from a bad background in the slums, Rudy Baylor (Matt Damon) becomes interested in social justice law and civil rights issues, and attends law school. After graduation he barely comes by as an ambulance chaser, temping as a bartender on the side. Soon he meets Deck Shifflet (Danny DeVito), a bit of a shady character that changed careers from selling insurance to law, but has yet to pass the bar exam. However he is resourceful in finding information, and very knowledgeable on insurance lawsuits. They set up a small practice together. Rudy lands an insurance bad faith case. They file the case on behalf of the Black family, whose son is dying from leukemia. Had the family's claim for a bone marrow transplant with their insurance company not been denied, he could have been saved.
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Inexperienced as a litigator, Rudy has to argue the case against a group of diehard and hard-nosed lawyers headed by Drummond (Jon Voight), who won't stop short of bending the rules to win. At the trial, Drummond uses Rudy's inexperience against him. But Rudy's determination and superb cross-examination of the insurance company's president Keeley (Roy Scheider), cause the jury to find for the plaintiff, with a monetary compensation far exceeding expectations.
But when Keeley tries to leave the country and the insurance company declares itself bankrupt, thus avoiding having to pay punitive damages, there is no money for the family and no commission fee for Rudy. The Blacks are satisfied that they at least put the insurance company out of business, making it impossible for them to hurt other families. However, Rudy feels his success will lead to future client's unrealistic expectations, so he quits practicing law and instead goes to teach law, focusing on ethics.
Best part of story, including ending:
It gives you an insight in how practicing law can become unethical.
Best scene in story:
The cross-examination of the insurance company's president, that wins over the jury, is exciting to see.
Opinion about the main character:
Rudy Bailor comes from a bad background and he doesn't get corrupted or cynical by the bad law practice he sees around him. He remains an ethical person.