In class, Darby and Callahan discuss the Bowers v. Hardwick case. This was a real Supreme Court case that ultimately vindicated a state's right to make homosexual activity illegal. Darby passionately argues that the Supreme Court was wrong. Ten years after this film was released, the case was reversed in Lawrence (& Garner) v. Texas, which found such laws to be Unconstitutional.
The Region 1 and Region 4 DVD release was a flip sided disc that contained the movie split into two parts. You had to eject the disc and turn it over to continue watching. When the Blu-ray disc was released on February 10th, 2009 it was the first time since its VHS release that somebody could watch the movie straight through without stopping it.
The President questions Cole's idea of addressing the nation while wearing a cardigan sweater; this is based on a real-life incident in which then-president Jimmy Carter addressed the nation in a cardigan during the height of the fuel shortages in the 1970s.
Although the Tulane Law School has moved to a new building since this film was released, the room where Julia Roberts and Sam Shepard meet for class early in the move is still a classroom: Jones Hall Rm. 102.
There were scenes filmed for the movie that showed Verheek in DC showing his colleagues 'The Pelican Brief'. These were cut from the final film but a brief glimpse of them is still visible in the theatrical trailer.
Not only were the Georgetown Law library scenes filmed on location in the main reading room and one of the study rooms on the third floor of the school's library, the scenes at the Registrar's Office and the Career Services Office, and of Denzel Washington and Julia Roberts talking in an open area outside of those offices, are all shot in the main building of the Law Center (McDonough Hall). You can see actual Georgetown Law security officers as extras in the background of the McDonough scenes.
According to director Alan J. Pakula, he made a prank on the set involving the then couple Julia Roberts and Lyle Lovett. Roberts was filming a scene where she is supposed to talk on the phone with the character played by John Heard. Pakula sent Heard's lines to Lovett (who was busy with his tour and away from where the film was being made) allowing him to speak to his wife. Roberts played the scene normally though she didn't recognized the voice over the phone and it was only after Pakula yelled "Cut!" that she knew it was Lovett who was acting with her.