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4 Reasons why Mike Ross is a terrible lawyer

Posted: 17th August 2016

OK, I know.  Firstly Mike Ross is a fictional TV character from the US-set, legal-drama TV series, Suits.  Secondly he is currently incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institute in Connecticut.  And thirdly he hasn’t graduated from university, nor does he actually have a law degree.

However major stumbling blocks aside, there are four good reasons why, despite the designer suits, the sharp haircut and the Visconti messenger bag, Mike would be a terrible lawyer.


A great lawyer is able to think logically, make reasonable judgments based on information presented and act in the best interests of the client.  Integrity is key, particularly in cases where a lawyer’s own moral viewpoint differs from his professional obligations.  Despite this, we have continually seen Mike mope and sulk when he is allocated a case which he just doesn’t think is fair for the other side.  He changes sides more often than a politician.  And is it just me, or does he somehow turn every case into a humanitarian issue which is vaguely related to his parents’/grandmother’s death?


Mike Ross similarly lacks honesty.  Even if we ignore his massive whopper about the extent of his qualifications, he still lacks candour in more of his dealings.  Although he has always been Robin to Harvey Specter’s Batman, there was that brief spell (when out of favour with his mentor) where he worked for Harvey’s nemesis, Louis Litt.  When it became clear that Harvey wanted him back, Mike dropped Louis like a warm bag of sick.  Mike should have been honest and faced up to Louis at this point, confirming to him why, when and how the Batman/Robin bro-mance was back on.  As Louis famously once said, “Revenge is the best revenge” and I have no doubt that Mike’s dishonesty with Louis will not be forgotten (by Louis).

Interpersonal skills

Successful lawyers are mostly personable, persuasive and likeable.  It is easy to get on with your colleagues and helpful if you are liked by clients too.  Lawyers should follow the three rule client-principle: Be polite.  Be interested.  And be interesting.  Mike unfortunately does none of these things.  He is, in fact, one of the most dislikeable characters in the programme.  To everyone other than his mentor, Harvey, he is condescending and rude.  Whilst a successful lawyer does not have to be a team player, it is helpful if there is an ability to play as part of a team.  Mike’s relationship with the firm’s Manager Partner, Jessica, is downright toxic.  I have lost track of which one is currently blackmailing the other.  However whichever way you look at it, tactically, a little dose of charm with the Managing Partner would not have gone amiss.

Good judgment

His first mistake was agreeing to play the associate charade with Harvey.  However his decision to continue with this lie, involve others and put them all at risk too demonstrates extremely poor judgment.  It seems that more and more people are finding out about his untruths.  At the end of season 2, Jessica finds out.  At the end of season 3, Rachel finds out. By series 4, Louis finds out.  It is no surprise that the matter reached the trial courts so quickly.  Let’s face it.  Mike’s fraud is as much of a secret as Taylor Swift’s love life.

Harvey once told Mike, “Sometimes good guys gotta do bad things to make the bad guys pay.”  I guess that Mike never realised he would ultimately end up a bad guy on the other side of the (12 foot, high security, mesh, perimeter prison) fence.

So, in conclusion, if you are an aspiring lawyer, eager for a role model, forget about Mike Ross.  Photographic memory and stylish haircut aside, he is Mike Dross.  Instead set your sights on a higher target.  You could be the next Harvey Specter.  Or even the future, Louis Litt.

Business Comment

Business Comment is the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce’s bi-monthly magazine. It provides insight on Edinburgh’s vibrant business community, with features on the city’s key sectors, interviews with leading figures and news on new business developments in the capital.
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