By: Rick Acker, Novelist and Attorney
I’ve been writing legal thrillers for ten years and litigating for over twenty. As you might guess, that means I get lots of questions about how to write legal scenes. Often I’m asked about how to make legal scenes accurate and effective. However, Dennis Kearney did a nice job last month explaining how to do things right when writing legal scenes. I’m here to help you spot things you may be doing wrong—probably because you saw someone else do them wrong in a book or on a TV or movie screen.
Here are the top ten most common mistakes I’ve seen, and I’ll share my thoughts on them:
- Screaming, crying,
speechifyinglawyers who don’t go to jail. It makes great TV: the impassioned advocate giving a stirring impromptu speech as she walks around the courtroom, while the judge impotently pounds his gavel. But it never happens. After about three words, the judge would warn the lawyer. If she didn’t shut up, the judge wouldn’t get flustered and bang away with his gavel. He’d simply turn to the bailiff and tell him to remove the eloquent attorney from the courtroom and take her to the lockup.
- Surprise witnesses and evidence. Surprise witnesses or evidence is like car crashes: They’re rare, and they generally don’t happen unless someone makes a serious mistake. The reason is simple: discovery. The opposing lawyers get to ask each other all sorts of questions, and only an incompetent lawyer will fail to ask what witnesses the other side plans to put on the stand and what exhibits they plan to put into evidence.
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Read the full article HERE!
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