The Practice focused on the law firm of Robert Donnell and Associates (later becoming Donnell, Young, Dole, & Frutt, and ultimately Young, Frutt, & Berluti). Plots typically featured the firm's involvement in various high-profile criminal and civil cases that often mirror current events. Conflict between legal ethics and personal morality was a recurring theme. Some episodes contained light comedy. Kelley claimed that he conceived the show as something of a rebuttal to L.A. Law (for which he wrote) and its romanticized treatment of the American legal system and legal proceedings.
Eleanor defends a man accused of killing his wife and unborn son. He contests that it was suicide. Eugene and Jimmy defend a woman who shot a crack dealer on her street. Alan Shore comes to Eleanor looking for a job after he was fired for embezzlement. He is given a case where a woman files charges against a homeless man who ""Halle Berry'd"" her (came out of nowhere and kissed her). He uses insurance fraud to coerce her into dropping the charges.
Alan Shore agrees to help friend Sheila Carlisle, a successful attorney who claims God speaks to her, and who has subsequently been fired from her law firm for being mentally incompetent. Meanwhile there are startling new developments in the case of Brad Stanfield, whom Ellenor and Jamie are defending for allegedly poisoning his pregnant wife.
Eccentric attorney Sheila Carlisle, whom Alan Shore hired on a temporary basis without consulting anyone else, takes on a lawsuit on behalf of the firm; and Ellenor finds herself in a moral dilemma when faced with the truth about her client.
Alan Shore is troubled by Sheila Carlisle's increasingly erratic behavior and fears for her mental - and legal - competence. Meanwhile, Shore is ordered by the court to represent a man who refuses to divulge his identity for fear that the unsavory nature of his crime will be made public
A complex murder case implicating a white supremacist embroils Eugene; malpractice fears haunt Jamie; the defense of accused killer Roland Huff embattles Shore, whose tactics astonish Tara and precipitate a run-in with a judge.
Eugene and Jimmy's defense of the leader of a white supremacist group takes an unexpected turn when surprising new developments come to light. Meanwhile, Shore continues in his quest to free Roland Huff from prison, and Jamie and Eugene must come to terms with their differences.
A rape case rattles Jimmy, ill-prepared to defend a client who maintains his innocence despite overwhelming evidence against him. Also, ethics violations catch up to Shore, who has a showdown with Eugene.
Alan Shore uses questionable, if not illegal, tactics in representing his clients — Ted Grayson, a mentally unstable man accused of murder, and Karen Evanson, a woman who claims her husband's suicide was induced by a prescription drug.
Alan Shore defends a twelve-year-old girl who is trying to escape an arranged marriage in her home country. Meanwhile, Eugene tries to help a man who is seeking justice for the brutal murder of his wife.
Alan Shore uses unorthodox tactics when he's appointed by the court to defend a young man accused of murder. Meanwhile, Tara must try her first case when she's thrown into covering Shore's previously scheduled client.
When the police torture a man they believe shot one of their own, Eugene, barely able to contain his emotion, takes the lead in seeking justice.
Jimmy Berluti and Jamie Stringer defend an elderly man, Walter Josephson, who is accused of killing a member of the local Irish mob, and Alan Shore agrees to help a friend — by any means necessary — who discovers his wife is cheating on him.
When his best friend from childhood is accused of murdering his mistress, Alan Shore returns home to defend him.
An ongoing, sensational murder case besets Shore with pre-trial anxieties centering on jury selection; a hostile judge; a priest's confession; and suspicions of malpractice that involve a manipulative witness for the prosecution.
Fireworks erupt at Dr. Stewart's trial when shocking testimony is elicited from the defendant's strong-willed mother, a conflicted priest and a crackpot.
There are major shake-ups at the firm, as tensions rise between Eugene and Alan Shore. Meanwhile, the firm takes the case of a young man who is suing the doctor he feels is responsible for the death of his wife during childbirth.
Tensions between Shore and Eugene rise to the boiling point when Shore retains the services of a high-profile law firm to go head-to-head with Young, Frutt & Berluti in the face of his abrupt firing from the firm.
Eugene and his firm stand against Alan Shore and his ""new"" firm. The entire episode revolves around Eugene, Ellenor, and Jimmy testifing that Alan doesn't deserve the amount of money Alan proposed. Can Ellenor really testify against her friend? How will Alan go against his old firm?
Friction at the firm gets to Jimmy, who's torn between loyalties and principles. Meanwhile, tension besets Shore as he crosses swords with his brilliant but erratic new boss, whose behavior raises questions of competence.
Eugene is presented with an offer he finds hard to refuse, and Ellenor is shocked when she hears the news, knowing full well that any departure by Eugene would mean the beginning of the end of the practice. Meanwhile, Jimmy is confronted by crooked lawyer Lenny Pascatore), who claims that the neighborhood only has room for one practicing attorney. Across town at Crane, Poole & Schmidt, Denny Crane ruffles some feathers by making Tara his personal paralegal, and Hannah Rose enlists Shore's help in handling an assault case involving two hockey players.
Eugene considers an exciting new offer for his future... could this mean the end of the practice? Meanwhile, Jimmy is shaken by an ominous run-in with neighborhood lawyer Lenny Pescatore, as their turf war heats up, and Ellenor clashes with sexy and ruthless attorney Hannah Rose of Crane Poole & Schmidt.
How it all ends for the cast: The Firm Closes, Eugene becomes a Judge, Jimmy and Jaime become Neighbourhood Lawyers with their own firm, Ellanor takes a hiatus from practicing law to raise her daughter, Alan Shore hooks up with Sally and continues working for Denny Crane. The final shot is of old music playing as the camera moves through the firm's offices which are packed up and all the lights are still on. Bobby Donell is sitting at his old desk crying. Despite all he had said he was the only person not to move on