MATLOCK, Benjamin Layton
618 Peachtree Street
Atlanta, GA 30303 (Willow Springs)
Ben is a Harvard-educated attorney. Born in
the town of Mount Harlan, Georgia, Ben is
widowed, wears the same old light grey/white
suit everywhere (wrinkles and all) and
exudes a down-home demeanor that hides his
sly courtroom abilities. Ben's favorite food
is a hot dog. In fact, the password to his
home security system is "HOTDOG." As a
hobby, Ben collects old coins.
In between cases, Ben likes to polish his shoes
(tops and bottoms) and maybe pick up a banjo or
guitar to strum a comforting tune to pass the
time away. He also likes to go fishing and
to make fudge.
Ben law firm is called Matlock & Matlock. He
charges a retainer fee of $100,000 per case. And
although his clients tend to be wealthy and high
profile individuals, when they visit Matlock,
none of them are permitted to smoke in his
office, not even his "best paying clients."
Ben shares his legal workload with his attorney
daughter and partner Charlene Matlock. Their
support staff included Sarah, Ben's law clerk
(replaced by Cassie Phillips); and Tyler Hudson,
a stock market investor who did Ben’s legwork.
When Tyler left the firm, a former police deputy
named Conrad McMasters took over his
responsibilities as the firm's investigator. Ben
later used an attractive investigator named
Jerri Stone to help with his cases.
Latecomers to Matlock's firm were Michelle
Thomas who replaced Charlene when she moved to
Philadelphia to set up her own practice in 1987;
and Cliff Lewis, a recent law school graduate
whom Matlock hired as a favor to his friend
Billy Lewis, Ben's old nemesis (Cliff blames Ben
for breaking his sister Lucy's heart although
Ben claims they split amicably years earlier).
In 1992, Ben's other daughter Lee Ann McIntyre,
a prosecutor from Philadelphia moved to Atlanta
after separating from her husband and became a
partner in the firm of Matlock & McIntyre. Other
Matlock relatives included Ben's father Charlie
Matlock, the owner of a gas station (now
deceased); Ben's cousin, Diana Huntington; Ben's
uncle, Bink; and Ben's nephew, Irwin Bruckner, a
certified genius at the Mansbridge Institute
whom Ben defended when he was charged with
Generally, Ben's clients were innocent, but the
evidence against them always seemed to be so
convincing that even Ben had to think seriously
about whether he wanted to defend the person.
But when Ben took a case, you can bet that he
will get his client off. Many of the cases
involved clever frame-ups. Matlock once told a
client: "Every year I look for the nastiest,
hatefulest, meanest man to represent and this
year you're it."
Matlock tried his first case in 1962 when he
defended a black cook accused of murdering a
white sheriff. Of course, Ben won that case and
continued to win most of his cases thereafter.
When Ben did lose a case (which was rarely), he
kept tabs on his convicted clients and continued
to research evidence that would exonerate them.
Ben did lose a case in small claims court in
1962 when he sued a women who sold him a faulty
refrigerator for $68.42.
Most of the Ben's cases deal with high profile
clients involving wealthy people who can afford
his $100,000 retainer fee, but occasionally, he
will take a case pro bono when he feels the case
warrants his talents and he believes the person
charged with a crime is truly innocent. But
although altruistic, Ben is still a shrewd
businessman and in the end, he would always
arrange some sort of payment plan. Once, in
exchange for his services, Ben made his client
paint his house. And to be sure, Ben checked out
the final job to make sure he got his monies
In court, Ben's attempts to weave a convincing
argument sometimes irritates the judge on the
bench. When the judge queries Ben about his
circuitous line of questioning, Ben always
reassures the judge saying "Give me a minute,
your honor and I'll make the connection."
Matlock's "Male" Friends
Ben stiffest competition was a feisty redheaded
attorney named Julie Marsh, who hailed from
Nebraska and now worked for the D.A.'s office in
Atlanta. Ben considered her "the wildest, most
ruthless prosecutor" in the state. Of course,
Ben became romantically interested with Julie,
whose abilities equaled his own. Among her many
talents, Julie was an expert in jewelry.
A sampling of Ben's typical cases included:
- a gambler accused of killing blackmailing
- a man charged with murdering a newspaper
- a wife accused of shooting her
- a union boss accused of murdering a rival.
- a health spa client accused of killing an
amorous aerobics instructor.
- a stripper charged with murder of her
- a husband suspected of killing his wealthy
- a son of a wealthy businessman, (now an
Army private) charged with murdering an
- a cop accused of taking bribes from, and
then killing a fence.
- a son of an American businessman living in
London convicted of his father's murder.
- a blind sculptor accused of murdering the
man responsible for his blindness.
- a sexually harassed young lawyer accused
of murdering her boss.
- a client charged with murder of a popular
romantic advice columnist.
- a Vietnamese immigrant charged with the
murder of a bigoted fisherman.
- an emotionally unstable heiress charged
with murder; a rare-coin dealer accused of
murdering a thieving employee.
- a mentally handicapped stable hand accused
of murdering the manager of a Thoroughbred
- a man accused of murdering a duck hunter
who "accidentally" shot his brother.
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