The writer’s work is given to you between the covers of a book; the painter’s on a piece of flat canvas; the actor’s in the lineaments of his own face, the port of his own body, the various inflections of his own voice. In criticizing his work, you criticize also him. Max Beerbohm
The actor’s life is one of nagging
self-doubt. Some actors try to protect themselves from criticism by adopting an inviolable rule never to read reviews of their performances. If this is not enough protection there is recourse to
alcohol. John Barrymore, in real life and in the 1930’s movie Dinner at Eight, demonstrates the dangers of the alcohol cure. Lawyers also have a nagging self-doubt—and in a loose way
it is comparable to the actor’s. Both the lawyer in court and the actor on stage are within a medium that merges with the person. But let me say here that lawyers are not good actors. They are strictly amateurs, second-raters at best.The comparison of the skill 3
WAS IT ME OR MY CASE
THEY DIDN’T LIKE?
L E G A L S P E C T A T O R & M O R E
of an E. G. Marshall or a Gregory Peck conducting a trial in the movies and a working lawyer conducting a trial in real life proves unfavorable to the lawyer.Nevertheless, there is that loose connection. A bad play and a bad case bring criticism not only of the play and the client but also of the actor and the advocate. Even a good case presents dangers. There are cases that should have been won but are lost.Your adversary makes all the mistakes you hoped he would make.You deliver a marvelous closing argument.You lose. The first time it happens you put it aside as just one of those things. Let it happen twice and you wonder whether there is something about you, as a person, that judges and juries do not like.
To these uncertainties we add a new one: the instant discrediting of the lawyer by the troops of TV legal commentators
who know precisely what should have been done and would have been done if only the commentator had been...
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