'The Lincoln Lawyer' makes it clear from the start that we're miles -- or at least zip codes -- away from most buttoned-up courtroom dramas. Defense attorney Mick Haller (Matthew McConaughey) uses the backseat of his old Lincoln as a makeshift office as his driver Earl (Laurence Mason) takes him back and forth across town to appointments. Some of Mick's meetings are conducted curbside, such as when a gang of bikers forces his car aside for a quick chat about a friend in the clink. Smooth as butter, Mick doubles his price and weighs the envelope of cash in his hand, thanks the leader of the pack and puts the envelope in his suit jacket.
"Aren't you going to count it?" asks the biker.
"I just did," says Mick with that famous McConaughey grin, and the deal is done. The town car moves smoothly back into traffic, and the bikers disperse.
The streets of Los Angeles are Mick's office and his element, yet despite Mick's tendency to play fast and loose with the law, he has his own code of ethics. While he's definitely cool with paying off bailiffs or similar shady practices, he feels just as strong about representing people that are generally thought of expendable by society. Mick is tormented by the possibility that his former client Jesus Martinez (Michael Peña) is on death row for a crime he might not have committed, but he isn't too concerned about the murderer that he got off on technicalities and police error. He did his job; it's the police and the DA that screwed that one up. Mick's also a doting father and a caring ex-husband who has a rather complicated relationship with his ex-wife Maggie, a prosecutor played by Marisa Tomei.