Lawyerology.com

I'm a Lawyer, not an Actor!

I am sure every lawyer has watched a legal movie or two where they were moved by an actor’s performance in the fictional trial.  In my case, a few come to mind: Matt Damon in The Rainmaker, Matthew McConaughey in A Time to Kill, Paul Newman in The Verdict and, of course, Tom Cruise in A Few Good Men.  Why are these actors who have no legal training and are certainly not trial lawyers so persuasive?  The simple answer: that is what they are trained to do.  All good actors are persuasive, believable and, most of all, REAL.  Legal training is not required to develop any of those characteristics, talents, or skills.  In fact legal training, including law school, internships and the daily practice does little, if anything, to develop those skills at all. Please do not shout “WHAT ABOUT TRIAL ADOCACY CLASS.” Regardless of how innovative trial advocacy classes can be, they are still primarily taught by lawyers.  If there are trial advocacy courses taught by acting teachers, please comment and point them out. They are few and far between.  The thing is, being a trial lawyer is an art, not a science and training in the arts is an invaluable component of the training of an effective trial lawyer.  Some of you are now probably thinking or saying “wait a minute, I do just fine and I have never had any theatrical training!” I am not saying that one cannot be an effective trial lawyer without theatrical training, what I am saying is that theatrical training will help make any trial lawyer more effective.  I am speaking from first-hand experience on this having spent nearly two years at the Lee Strasberg Institute in New York City before even applying to law school. I credit that training with the development of many of the skills I use in the courtroom to this day…