A study of the image of lawyers on television, and more broadly popular culture, is important because "on that image may rest part of the willingness of law students to become lawyers."34 Research into the intersection of popular culture and law is important if we are to understand the motivations and expectations of our law students. The more we understand them, the better we can teach and explore with them their constructions oflegal identity. Although the stage of final conclusions has not yet been reached, having only completed a pilot study, what has been considered in this paper is a speculation that television helps to reinforce the positive view students have of their chosen careers. Metaphorically, students ideally want to wear the chastity belt and run from the scarlet letter. To them, a lawyer must ethically be without reproach and must have an unswerving interest in humanity. They disassociate themselves from all that the red letter symbolises, and in contrast identify with and aspire to the virtuous altruism of serving the community in fighting for justice and upholding ethical standards. And yet, underlying such pure desires is a latent recognition that an ethical approach to lawyering is not easily delineated, and that remaining true to the chastity belt may not always be appropriate. While such an exploration beyond the black and white approach to ethical lawyering is to be encouraged among our developing law students, it should be remembered that also lying dormant beneath altruistic desires is the attraction of the high lifestyle, money and status. It lies concealed just waiting for the right moment to overtake their nobility and selflessness and abuse the students' penchant for moral pluck. If this does indeed happen, then just like the bearer of any scarlet letter who would have been aware of the consequences of her sin, the student may very well ask themselves whether the success and notoriety they achieve will have been worth the risk.
ANZSRC / FoR Code