Attorney Michael Cannon leaves his Boston law firm to become director of the Neighborhood Law Office, where he guides three law students on a case involving two visiting musicians accused of robbing and beating up a cab driver.
After letting off some steam, intern Dr. Vince Sabowski drives by a car accident. He pulls a boy from the car against the express wishes of the boy's father. When sued for ignoring the father, he goes to the legal clinic for help.
A teenage boy comes to Aaron's office, begging for him to take the case of his older brother, who is serving time for second degree murder after a plea bargaining agreement. The boy insists his brother is totally innocent, but the lawyer who represented him is a well respected civil rights attorney who has since been appointed a judge. Despite this, the law firm begins to believe that on this occasion he did not give his client his best defense.
The firm defends a young unmarried couple who are in danger of losing custody of their young son because of their refusal to get married and the condition of the apartment they are sharing with several other unconventional young people.
Aaron goes up against a landlord who is refusing to provide necessary repairs to his tenants, people Aaron grew up with. He also has to deal with Barrett, who is questioning whether the law is really the field Aaron wants for himself.
Aaron is appointed to defend young Dan Fulton, who is charged with possession after marijuana is found in his car on a traffic stop. Dan's father insists that he plead guilty, but Dan refuses, insisting on his innocence.
Aaron runs into one of his first clients, who is still bitter with him for failing to successfully defend him from drug possession charges. The young musician, now out on parole, still maintains his innocence, and Aaron is shocked by the conditions of his parole: he cannot associate with any other musicians, cannot go outside a very restricted area, and cannot associate with any drug addicts---even his own wife.
The wife of a young cop asks Aaron to take the case of her husband, who's been charged with beating a suspect. Aaron is reluctant, but soon agrees to defend the officer, who is unwilling to tell the full story for fear of going against his partner, whom he idolizes.
A Vietnam veteran is charged with murdering the developer who he blames for his homelessness. The man admits to breaking into the developer's office, but cannot remember killing the man. Aaron believes the man may be totally innocent, and manages to convince Barrett of the possibility as well.
Aaron takes the case of a young minister who is fighting efforts by the child protective services to take away the ten orphaned children he has been taking care of and place them in separate foster homes. Fearing he may lose, the minister soon pulls out of the suit and makes a deal with the agency, but the kids have other ideas and still want to fight to stay together.
Aaron defends a high school basketball star against charges of vandalism and assault on a custodian. But his biggest obstacle may be not the prosecution but the school, and the boy's sister, who are so determined that he go on to a college scholarship that it casts doubt on their testimonies in his favor.
Aaron is assigned to assist the district attorney, and one of his first cases there involves a man charged with damage to property and injuring a bystander. But Aaron feels the young man is potentially dangerous and that he should either receive a harsher sentence or get psychiatric help.
A former law school classmate of Aaron's, now working at a community action group, shows up at his apartment with a bullet wound. She claims she was shot by the city building inspector who was breaking into her group's office, though it turns out she was shot by her own gun. Aaron takes her case even though her story seems too far-fetched to be believed.
Despite Barrett's misgivings, Aaron believes and is determined to defend a former client who now is accused of petty theft from the couple she was working for. He believes she is being set up, with the help of a young man she claims to have helped escape to Canada to evade the draft.
Aaron is assigned to work with a famous and flamboyant defense attorney who is defending two young people for murder. Though he resents it at first when the prosecutor tries to get him to separate the female defendant's trial from the male's, Aaron soon feels differently about this after he learns of evidence which would clearly establish the young woman's innocence. But both she and the defense attorney are unwilling to agree to separate trials.
Aaron defends an old friend from law school who was found with dynamite in a box in his house. He claims the box was not his, and has a witness who can vouch for him, but when Aaron finds out she is lying for him, it takes the case in a tragic new direction.
Chris Blake is threatened with a suit for allegedly encouraging the editors of a high school student newspaper to discuss sexual matters. But things get even worse when one of the students working on the paper accuses Chris of rape, and claims that he is the father of her unborn baby.
Aaron gets a call from a former girlfriend, who has become a heroin addict, is in jail and needs someone to bail her out. He hocks pretty much everything he has and raises the money. Everyone believes she is a lost cause, but Aaron is determined to help her get clean and turn her life around. Complications ensue.