Some people actually believe Jimmy Smits is a lawyer. He's played the role so many times, TV viewers have begun to believe he's the real deal.
"People often ask, 'would you mind being a keynote speaker at the blankety blank bar association?' Uh no!," Smits told ABC News, joking that he'd have nothing to offer. "I depend on great writers to make up for all of those insufficiencies that Jimmy has because I'm not Jimmy. I'm a character."
"It's great to hear from a now attorney say 'I was going to law school when "L.A. Law" had come out. And that's one of the reasons I'm a lawyer now', that does something to you," he added.
Smits is currently starring as attorney Elijah Strait in the primetime legal drama series "Bluff City Law."
"He doesn't have that bounce that idealistic young attorney on 'L.A. Law' had," Smits said the character he plays. "This guy is a rock. He's esteemed in the community, a pillar of the Memphis society."
The series is being shot entirely in Memphis, the so-called Bluff City. Smits said its important that the storylines are reflective of the community.
"It made so much sense to us wanting to deal with a show that dealt with law in its purest form," Smits, 64, told Peter Travers, "being a voice for the voiceless, dealing with social justice causes, and not wanting to be in these big metropolitan areas to show a different side of America and maybe a place that hasn't been shown. You've gotta be there. Because it becomes not just a backdrop to have the Memphis Bridge."
Watch the full interview with Peter Travers and Jimmy Smits in the video above.