Bringing the

Life Back to
the Law

  • The Fifth is Strict – Part 2

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  • Acting For All

    These last two years have been the greatest years of my life. I’ve spent them training as an actor at a renowned conservatory in New York. During this time, I became fascinated with how the creative world of acting overlaps with the courtroom and how the connections between these two disciplines can be exploited for the good of my clients. Share Pin http://www.theaterofthecourtroom.com/acting-for-all/#U2FuZHlfTWVpc25 In this blog, I want to pull back the curtain and share with you how the tools and techniques that are at the core of acting can be used in the courtroom to bring the human element to the jury. What has been ingrained in me since day one is that there is no one “way” to approach acting. There are as many different approaches to the craft of acting as there are actors. What works for one actor may not work for anothe Share on Facebook Share Share on TwitterTweet Share on Google Plus Share Share on LinkedIn Share

  • Why Acting for Lawyers (blog)?

    The similarities between theater and the courtroom are stark. On a primitive level, just as there are no “do-overs” on stage, there are no “do-overs” in the courtroom. At its core, theater is rooted in the idea that “art expresses human experience.” The same is true for trials. The very essence of a trial is a story – the story of a human experience. The goal of the attorney is to draw the jury into a re-constructed reality of past events such that they “see” what happened even though they were not present to witness the original event. The attorney is the producer of that event as well as the writer, director, and the actor in that event. A play is also a live event with story at its core. The goal of the actor is to transform personal experience into a universal and recognizable form of expression that has the ability to change something in the spectator. Actors must g Share on Facebook Share Share on TwitterTweet Share on Google Plus Share Share on LinkedIn Share

  • Impulses: The Genesis of all Creativity

    The genesis of all creativity is the impulse. This is a bold statement and one that I suspect may even be challenged by cynics. What I hope to accomplish in this blog is to offer an explanation beginning with a “bread and butter” definition of an impulse. An impulse is an urge to do something. We’ve been experiencing impulses our entire lives. For example, when you reach into the microwave with your bare hands to remove a hot plate what happens? You yell, “Ouch!” Or, when you feel an itch on your upper lip, what do you have an urge to do? Scratch it! What do these two examples have in common? You don’t have to stop and think about it. It’s an instinctive reaction. In other words, you can’t think an impulse. It’s natural and organic. Developing a connection to your impulses is one of life’s greatest treasures. Very simply, impulses are more honest than thoughts. Thoughts a Share on Facebook Share Share on TwitterTweet Share on Google Plus Share Share on LinkedIn Share

  • The Power of Vulnerability

    We’ve all heard the word vulnerable. Emotional vulnerability is a loaded term that means different things to different people. For me, vulnerable means being open, dropping my guard, and letting others “in.” At the same time, it means being able to admit what I am feeling in the moment, no matter how uncomfortable or awkward that might be. Vulnerable actors are able to show their weakness, fear, shame, embarrassment, joy and sadness. Even when they play characters with coarse exteriors. They can do more than rant and rave and indicate. They make us feel for them. In acting, there is an implicit agreement that actors have with the audience that they are going to let them see what’s going on inside of them. By this I can personally attest to the fact that it does not just refer to some things; but to everything. As my acting instructor says, “An actor’s [not t Share on Facebook Share Share on TwitterTweet Share on Google Plus Share Share on LinkedIn Share

  • Getting Inside the Mind of the Jury

    “We operate under a jury system in this country and, as much as we complain about it, we have to admit that we know of no better system (except possibly flipping a coin).” – David Barry In banking, compliance officers are taught to “know their customer.” In the courtroom, trial lawyers must “know their jury.” Debunking A Widely-Held Myth About How Juries Make Decisions As shocking as this might sound, no matter how many times a judge instructs a jury to view the evidence objectively and dispassionately, jurors do “not accumulate facts, one after another, in order to arrive at a conclusion.” They are not computers. Nor do they deconstruct the jury instructions like a scribe deciphering the “Dead Sea Scrolls.” They do not probe the jury instructions with a Share on Facebook Share Share on TwitterTweet Share on Google Plus Share Share on LinkedIn Share

  • Winning The Battle for the Jury’s Attention

    In order to have any chance at winning the minds and hearts of the jury, you have to fight a war – the war for the jury’s attention. Like it or not, we are in the midst of an attention war. We need to confront the reality that the jury’s attention can no longer be taken for granted. We have to change our way of thinking to focus on gaining attention before we can leave lasting impressions. The jury’s attention must be the currency that every trial lawyer trades in. We live in an age where we are bombarded by information. Walk one block in New York City and your senses will be overloaded by billboards, large neon flashing signs, and window displays that dazzle. All of this is competing for our attention at the same time. The average person has to be able to separate the wheat from the chaff in order to avoid avoid going into anaphylactic shock. This explains why attention s Share on Facebook Share Share on TwitterTweet Share on Google Plus Share Share on LinkedIn Share

  • The True Meaning Behind Words

    A recent study conducted at a major university found the following: Only seven percent of what we communicate are the actual words that we speak. As much as 93% of what we communicate is non-verbal communication (i.e., body language). As an actor, this comes as no surprise to me. Stella Adler, the legendary actress and acting instructor was famously quoted as saying, “Acting is in everything but the words.” We don’t always say what we mean. Nor do we always mean what we say. The sound of a person’s voice – including the tone, syntax, and inflection – reveals more information about what is being said and the person saying it than the words themselves. For example, begin with the words, “I am the happiest person in the world.” You can say these words like a computer – slow, mechanical, and devoid of any emotion – and they will be thoro Share on Facebook Share Share on TwitterTweet Share on Google Plus Share Share on LinkedIn Share

  • Authenticity: Being True to You [Blog]

    We’ve all witnessed lawyers who can hold a jury spell-bound hanging on every word that they say. We strive to be like them, even going so far as to imitate them. In doing so, we may even abandon our own traits in order to take on the gestures, body language, mannerisms – even tone of voice – of our idols. Imitating your idols is not a mortal sin. After all, nobody is born with a style or voice. We don’t come out of the womb knowing who we are. In the beginning, we learn by pretending to be our idols. At some point, however, we must advance past imitation to emulation. This is not a distinction without a difference. Imitation is about copying. Emulation is when imitation goes one step further, breaking through into your own thing. The biggest tragedy in my mind is when a person gets stuck in the imitation rut, unable to jump the chasm betw Share on Facebook Share Share on TwitterTweet Share on Google Plus Share Share on LinkedIn Share

  • The Emergence of You

    Acting is the art of self-revelation. Every artist reveals themselves in their work. I like to refer to this as “the emergence of you.” For example, Ray Charles is present in his music. Picasso is present in his paintings. Ernest Hemingway is present in his writings. To understand this concept, I turn to the world of acting. It’s a fallacy to think that an actor becomes the character. After all, the actor is the character. An actor brings all parts of himself to the role. As Marlon Brando once said, “You bring part of yourself to every character. But some parts are closer to us than others.” This is what Elia Kazan meant by finding the character inside of yourself. Stored within each of us is the history of everything we have ever said, done, thought and felt and every emotional connection we have ever made with those we Share on Facebook Share Share on TwitterTweet Share on Google Plus Share Share on LinkedIn Share

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