Lawyer Man

Lawyer Man is a 1932 American pre-Code drama film directed by William Dieterle, based on the novel by Max Trell. The film stars William Powell and Joan Blondell. It was produced by Warner Bros. By the time of the release, several actors were credited in the studio, but were not seen in the film. These include Edward Arnold, Harold Huber and Henry Armetta.

Lawyer Man
Theatrical poster
Directed byWilliam Dieterle
Written byBook:
Max Trell
Rian James
James Seymour
StarringWilliam Powell
Joan Blondell
CinematographyRobert Kurrle
Edited byThomas Pratt
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • December 24, 1932 (1932-12-24) (New York City)
Running time
68 minutes
CountryUnited States


Anton Adam is a lawyer from the Lower East Side of New York who has just got a client acquitted against the well-established uptown attorney Granville Bentley. Bentley admires Adam's work as a litigator and offers the poorer lawyer a partnership. Adam accepts. Adam's faithful secretary Olga Michaels isn't delighted to see Adam make the move. Adam had meanwhile turned down an offer to work for local party boss Gilmurry.

Adam's downfall comes when he meets the beautiful actress Virginia St. Johns, who is introduced as a woman whose fiance, associated with Gilmurry, has abandoned her. She provides Adam with love letters that he believes will win her a large amount in a breach of promise suit. Adam sues Dr. Gresham, but Virginia soon phones Adam to say she wants to drop the suit. Adam heatedly responds that the case has gone too far to stop now, which Virginia records. The love letters are stolen from Adam's desk. Now Adam is taken to court and must face a tough jury that eventually deadlocks. He loses his reputation and his partnership with Bentley and decides to become the ruthless attorney that the public imagines him to be.

Adam eventually gets Gilmurry to recommend him for a position as an assistant district attorney, where he gets his revenge by prosecuting Gresham and his corrupt brother, a judge, for fraud against the city. Gilmurry then offers Adam the open judgeship, but Adam turns him down rather than become a party hack. With only his admiring secretary by his side, Anton returns to his old neighborhood to reestablish an honest legal practice. The film's title comes from what a neighborhood boy calls Adam.


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