Counsellor at Law Reviews
John Barrymore plays George Simon, now a rich and powerful attorney who grew up poor. (The movie summary on IMDB, practically the only supplemental information they have for this film, says he's Jewish, but I missed it.) He has married well. He is generally successful in his cases; he works a wide range of them, apparently preferring not to focus on any one branch of the law like a normal big-city lawyer. We see a client he's gotten off for murder. We see him interact with a woman from the Old Neighbourhood, who needs help with her wild anarchist son.
And we see him deal with the aftermath of having faked an alibi for an old client. Obviously, the client cannot be retried for the crime; that would be double jeopardy. However, it is really, really not good for a lawyer to do that. The Bar Association takes a dim view of it, as does, you know, the law. Obstruction of justice and suborning perjury, they call it. Jack McCoy would shout at him. Then again, Jack McCoy shouts at [i]everyone[/i], so that doesn't mean much.
I didn't really get into this movie much. I can't fault Barrymore for it; I can't fault William Wyler, the director. I think it must be the script. There is one moment of passion--where the anarchist (Harry Becker, played by Vincent Sherman, himself investigated by HUAC) criticizes George Simon for abandoning his roots to be the kind of lawyer who has an office in the Empire State Building. However, even when Simon is about to hurl himself out his office window, he doesn't seem all that worked up about anything. His wife leaves for Europe until he sorts out his problems; he doesn't care.
He does, it seems, care about his work. The needs of a client are what drive him away from that window. Perhaps that's the point. It would be nice to believe there was one.