21 Of The Best Songs About Lawyers And The Law

Written by Dan Farrant

There is a pretty decent number of songs that talk about lawyers or the profession of law. They portray the struggles of the underdog fighting for justice or the charisma of a courtroom titan. These songs offer different glimpses into this often mystified profession.

Through catchy melodies and lyrics, these songs explore themes of right and wrong, morality, and the pursuit of truth within the framework of the legal system.

In this article, join us as we explore 21 of the best songs about lawyers or the law throughout history. Each offers its own perspective on this fascinating intersection of music and the legal world. Let’s get started!

1. “…And Justice For All” By Metallica

We begin by diving into the world of heavy metal with Metallica‘s “…And Justice for All.” It is a powerful critique of the corruption and inequality that can sometimes exist in the legal system.

This eight-minute epic paints a grim picture of a justice system that has been tainted by greed and dishonesty. Through the use of hard-hitting lyrics and intense instrumentals, Metallica conveys their frustration and anger towards a system that fails to serve justice.

In addition to its powerful message, “…And Justice For All” is also a musical masterpiece. The intricate guitar riffs, thundering drums, and soaring vocals demonstrate the musicianship and talent of the band.

2. “Send Me To The ’Lectric Chair” By Bessie Smith

Next, we head to the realm of blues for Bessie Smith‘s rendition of “Send Me to the ’Lectric Chair.” This late 1920s tune dives deep into the judicial system, presenting a story from an unusual perspective.

In this song, the protagonist confesses to a crime and not only accepts her fate but insists on it. She implores the judge, “Send me to the ‘lectric chair,” expressing a readiness to face the ultimate penalty for her actions.

Interestingly, this daring narrative led to the song being banned from broadcast. It’s presumably due to its controversial subject matter. Despite this, or perhaps because of it, the song remains a significant piece in blues history.

3. “A Singer Must Die” By Leonard Cohen

From his 1974 album New Skin for the Old Ceremony, we have Leonard Cohen‘s “A Singer Must Die.” Its story unfolds in a courtroom setting where the singer stands accused.

The lyrics, “Now the courtroom is quiet, but who will confess? / Is it true you betrayed us? The answer is yes / Then read me the list of the crimes that are mine,” depict a dramatic confrontation between the singer and his accusers, possibly symbolic of critics or societal expectations.

The singer is being held accountable for the “lie in his voice.” This suggests that the artist must face consequences for the perceived insincerity or falseness in his performance. It could also be interpreted as a critique of the expectations placed on artists to conform to specific narratives or personas.

4. “Stupid Marriage” By The Specials

When it comes to songs that depict legal proceedings in a unique light, “Stupid Marriage” by The Specials stands out. This song, with its reggae beats and ska influences, tells a story that revolves around matrimonial law.

The lyrics of the song are structured as a courtroom drama. The narrator plays the role of a judge presiding over a marital dispute.

“Stupid Marriage” highlights the irony and futility of a loveless marriage. Here, the couple is more interested in fighting each other in court than trying to salvage their relationship.

5. “Legal Boys” By Elton John

Up next is Elton John with his “Legal Boys.” The track, which was released in 1982, takes a look at divorce lawyers and the role they play in the dissolution of marriages.

This song with “lawyer” in the lyrics centers around the aftermath of a breakup, where lawyers are involved to mediate the separation process.

It paints a picture of how lawyers can manipulate situations for their benefit. This leaves the parties involved feeling exploited and betrayed: “It says something for the legal boys / but nothing much for us.”

While the song may seem cynical, it offers an important perspective. It invites listeners to reflect on the often impersonal nature of legal proceedings and the emotional toll they can take on individuals.

6. “Will Your Lawyer Talk To God” By Kitty Wells

Up next, we have a track with “lawyer” in the title. “Will Your Lawyer Talk to God” by Kitty Wells is a country classic that explores faith, love, law, and the human condition.

The song is about a woman grappling with the end of her marriage and seeking solace in her faith. She questions whether her husband’s lawyer, who can speak to the court on his behalf, can also convey her husband’s regrets and pleas for forgiveness to a higher power.

The song articulates the emotional turmoil a person experiences when going through a divorce. It’s also a reminder that while the law can mediate disputes, it may not always address the emotional needs of those involved.

7. “Better Get A Lawyer” By The Cruel Sea

In the world of indie rock, the Australian band The Cruel Sea made quite a splash with their song “Better Get a Lawyer.” This track was released from their 1995 album Three Legged Dog.

The song’s storyline is about a person who gets himself in a bit of trouble. Realizing the gravity of what he did, the police advise him, “Better get a lawyer, son / better get a real good one.”

This track is a gritty portrayal of someone caught in the crosshairs of the law. It highlights the importance of having competent legal aid when faced with serious charges.

8. “I Fought The Law” By The Clash

Diving into the realm of punk rock, we have next The Clash‘s “I Fought the Law.” Though originally written by Sonny Curtis of The Crickets, The Clash’s 1979 cover added an energetic twist to the song, making it a definitive anthem of the punk rock era.

“I Fought the Law” tells a straightforward yet compelling story. It’s about a young man who chooses a life of crime, only to face the inevitable consequences. He breaks the law, and, in the end, the law wins.

The song’s theme is encapsulated in the catchy, repetitive chorus: “I fought the law, and the law won.” This line is a clear reminder of the struggle against authority and the often futile nature of such a fight.

9. “Sue Me, Sue You Blues” By George Harrison

In the music world, many artists and bands have experienced a legal dispute or two. It is this experience that brought about “Sue Me, Sue You Blues” by George Harrison, released on his 1973 album Living in the Material World.

“Sue Me, Sue You Blues” delves into the legal battles that plagued The Beatles in the early ’70s. Through the lyrics, Harrison expresses his frustration and disillusionment with the situation.

The lines “You serve me and I’ll serve you … / We’re gonna play the sue me, sue you blues” effectively represent the cycle of lawsuits and counter-lawsuits that characterized this period in The Beatles’ history.

10. “Lawyers, Guns And Money” By Warren Zevon

Sometimes, music provides a window into the wild and unpredictable nature of life. This is certainly true for “Lawyers, Guns and Money” by the talented Warren Zevon. Part of his album Excitable Boy, this song spins an intriguing tale of unexpected circumstances and desperate measures.

It tells the story of a man who finds himself in a series of unfortunate and dangerous situations. First, he goes home with a waitress who turns out to be with the Russian mafia. Then, he lands in Havana and gets caught up in a high-stakes poker game.

In each instance, the protagonist pleads for help in the form of lawyers, guns, and money. This highlights the desperate lengths one might go when backed into a corner.

11. “The Law” By Reach

Up next is an intense track by the band Reach called “The Law,” from their album The Promise of a Life. With its hard-hitting sound and lyrics, the song delivers a thought-provoking message about the human condition.

“The Law” delves into the darker side of humanity and society. It discusses the concept of law in a metaphorical sense. It mentions the “law” as the “escape, salvation, the mother of lies” and “creator of chaos.”

This line presents an intriguing paradox. The law, typically associated with order and justice, is portrayed as the source of chaos and deceit. It highlights the duality of human nature and the complexities of societal structures.

12. “Breaking The Law” By Judas Priest

Now be transported back to the early 1980s, a time when music was about more than just rhythm and melody. It was about challenging norms and about expressing unfiltered emotion. One song that beautifully encapsulates this spirit is “Breaking the Law” by Judas Priest.

“Breaking the Law” is a wild ride from start to finish. It tells a tale of the frustration and desperation of a person pushed to the edge by societal pressures and unemployment.

The protagonist, feeling unheard and unseen, resorts to breaking the law as a form of rebellion, making a bold statement against the system that has let him down. While we don’t condone his actions, it is a reality for many who feel trapped and powerless in real life.

13. “The Ballad Of Bonnie & Clyde” By Georgie Fame

Recorded by Georgie Fame, “The Ballad of Bonnie & Clyde” weaves a condensed biography of this infamous duo, starting from their fateful meeting to their tragic, violent end.

Clyde, fresh out of prison, returns to a life of crime, robbing banks with reckless abandon. He crosses paths with Bonnie, a waitress, who becomes his partner in crime. Their story showcases their fearless approach toward life and the law and how they lived by their own rules.

The lyrics, “Bonnie and Clyde got to be public enemy number one / running and hiding from every American lawman’s gun,” encapsulate the duo’s constant evasion of the law and their status as notorious criminals.

14. “Philadelphia Lawyer” By Woody Guthrie

Folk and country singer Woody Guthrie gives us a humorous story in “Philadelphia Lawyer.” The narrative revolves around a lawyer from Philadelphia who falls in love with a Hollywood maid. Their romance unfolds in Reno, Nevada.

The song is essentially about the lawyer’s promise to the maid. He offers to help her get a divorce from her husband, enticing her with the bright lights of the city. However, things take a turn when the maid’s cowboy lover becomes jealous and causes a fatal accident.

“Philadelphia Lawyer” is a classic example of the “cowboy love triangle” theme that was common in folk and country music. It’s a light-hearted take on the subject, with Guthrie’s trademark wit and storytelling abilities shining through.

15. “Lawyer Clark Blues” By Sleepy John Estes

Now, our list won’t be complete without “Lawyer Clark Blues” by Sleepy John Estes. Why? Because the track is literally about a lawyer, specifically one named Clark.

Unlike many songs that portray lawyers in a negative light, this song applauds Lawyer Clark and his professional accomplishments. The lyrics describe his offices, his residence on Century Road, and even a beautiful lake within his property.

Throughout the song, the narrator conveys admiration and respect for Lawyer Clark. He seems to embody success and prestige in the eyes of the singer: “Mr.Clark is a good lawyer, he good as I ever seen.”

16. “The Trial” By Pink Floyd

From Pink Floyd‘s 1979 concept album The Wall, we have “The Trial.” The song continues the story of a character named Pink, who puts himself on trial in his mind. The various characters in the trial are exaggerated aspects of Pink’s personality.

In simple terms, “The Trial” is about Pink facing his guilt and isolation. He’s been building a metaphorical wall around himself to keep out the world, and now he’s judging himself for it.

The song uses the concept of a (mental) trial to judge Pink’s actions and decisions. Each character in the song represents a part of Pink’s life that has contributed to his isolation and emotional struggles.

17. “Martial Law” By Lou Reed

Up next is “Martial Law” by the legendary musician Lou Reed. This song, like many of Reed’s works, can be seen as a poetic narrative set to music.

The lyrics revolve around the marshall of a town who wants to set boundaries and establish order in a chaotic situation. Along with his cop friend “from the eighth precinct,” they declare martial law.

The lines “What’s a girl like you doing with that lamp? / You better drop that down on the floor / and son, that isn’t very smart / kicking a hole in that door” suggest that a riot might be occurring, and the good marshal is trying to maintain peace and order.

18. “Law Man” By Jefferson Airplane

In the early ’70s, Jefferson Airplane released the album Bark, and in it is the track “Law Man.” As the title suggests, the song is about a law man.

The lyrics reflect a certain tension between an individual and this law enforcer, which is clear from the very beginning. It’s a kind of rebellious anthem reflecting the anti-establishment sentiment prevalent during the time the song was released.

In the song, it seems like the protagonist is standing up to the “law man,” stating that they’re not afraid of them. This could be seen as a metaphor for standing up against oppressive systems or unfair rules.

19. “This Side Of The Law” By Johnny Cash

Up next, “This Side of the Law” by Johnny Cash takes us into the constant struggle that exists within the law and how these conflicting sides often blur the line between what’s legal and what’s just.

The song raises some thought-provoking questions: Who is right? Who is wrong? Who is weak? Who is strong? These inquiries make the listener question the complexities of the law and its interpretation.

The beauty of Cash’s music lies in its ability to make the listener think, reflect, and question. And “This Side of the Law” does just that — it compels you to ponder over the profound questions it raises about our societal norms and values.

20. “Don’t Be A Lawyer” By Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Cast Ft. Burl Moseley

Penultimate on our list is a fun and catchy tune from the TV Show Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. “Don’t Be a Lawyer” is a playful jab at the legal profession, delivered through a lively rhythm and tongue-in-cheek lyrics.

The central character, Jim, portrayed by Burl Moseley, advises against becoming a lawyer. His reasoning? The stress, the long hours, the lack of job satisfaction, and the realization that law might not be as glamorous or rewarding as it appears on TV shows.

By the end of the song, you’ll find yourself not only tapping your feet to the rhythm. So, if you’re pondering your future career, or if you just want to enjoy a good tune, give “Don’t Be a Lawyer” a listen.

21. “Our Lawyer Made Us Change The Name Of This Song So We Wouldn’t Get Sued” By Fall Out Boys

Concluding this list is a unique song by Fall Out Boy. Its title is quite a mouthful: “Our Lawyer Made Us Change the Name of This Song So We Wouldn’t Get Sued.”

The original song title was a direct reference to David Ruffin, the lead singer of The Temptations. The band had to change it to avoid potential legal issues, hence the current title.

This song is a witty commentary on the trappings of fame and the music industry’s legal system. It’s a cautionary tale about the pitfalls of stardom, particularly the tendency of the music industry and fans to prioritize image and popularity over an artist’s talent or substance.

Throughout the song, Fall Out Boy uses sarcasm and satire as literary tools, using humor to highlight the absurdity of their situation. The title itself is a form of self-deprecating humor. It acknowledges the band’s brush with potential legal trouble in a playful manner.

Summing Up Our List Of Lawyers And Law Songs

And that’s a wrap on our list of lawyer and law songs. Each one gives us a unique musical perspective on justice, crime, and the intricacies of our legal system.

From classic ballads to contemporary hits, these songs reflect the diverse experiences and emotions tied to the law.

As our exploration comes to an end, we invite you to share any songs we may have overlooked. We’ll be sure to add your recommendations here!

Photo of author

Dan Farrant, the founder of Hello Music Theory, has been teaching music for over 15 years, helping hundreds of thousands of students unlock the joy of music. He graduated from The Royal Academy of Music in 2012 and then launched Hello Music Theory in 2014. He plays the guitar, piano, bass guitar and double bass and loves teaching music theory.