Asking lawyers about Star Trek is a bit like asking bike mechanics what their favorite beer is. Even if it’s not their area of professional expertise, they have lots of clear, well thought-out opinions on the subject. One day last month, I put out a quick call for Trek-minded attorneys, and they flooded in. Within minutes, this actual e-mail message landed in my inbox.
I suddenly had five people e-mailing me saying I had to chat with you! I aver that I am a lawyer who defines himself first and foremost as a Starfleet officer. May I help?
Christian W. Waugh
Waugh Law, P.A.
Sent from my Starfleet Communicator
I should add that this guy goes by the handle @AdmiralWaugh on Twitter. I knew I had hit on something great.
As a Trek fan—I’m a child of the 1980s, TNG was my first foray into the universe—and someone who reports frequently about legal issues, I wanted to honor the 50th anniversary of the series with a look at the legal issues at play across Star Trek. Sure, entire books have already been written on this subject, but this was boldly going into terra nullis for yours truly.
After reviewing various episodes (research, I swear!), I was reminded of how many Picard-as-counsel episodes there are. Court-style procedurals are no rarity across the various series and movies.
According to a recent panel discussion at Comic Con (SDCC) entitled “Star Trek: Where Lawyers Boldly Go,” there are a number of landmark legal-themed episodes ranging from TOS “Court Martial,” to TNG’s “Measure of a Man,” to DS9’s “Tribunal,” to Enterprise’s “Judgment.” This panel, …