Í»½¬·±² ±º Ô·¬·¹¿¬·±² Ú¿´´ îððç ʱ´ò è Ò±ò ï
itlout questior, 2OO8 arJ 2OO9
will ,o Jowr as two of tle more
remarkable years ir tle listory
powerlouses sluttereJ or solJ-off, tle col-
lapse of tle subprime arJ real estate mar-
kets, feJeral bailouts, mass layoffs, arJ tle
Jiscovery of a lorzi scleme tlat bilkeJ
trustir, irvestors out of $65 billior. Less
tlar a JecaJe after Lrror arJ tle passa,e
of tle Sarbares-Òxley Act of 2OO2, tle
Lmployees, irvestors, tle meJia, arJ tle
,ereral public row take a jaurJiceJ view
of mary rormal arJ customary busiress
practices, sucl as executive boruses,
employee rewarJ pro,rams, arJ busiress-
Jevelopmert everts. lt is tlerefore ro
surprise tlat tle ,overrmert arJ irJiviJ-
uals lave reacteJ witl ircreaseJ vi,ilarce
corsequerce, wlicl is roticeable ir rew
mploymert cases: li,l emotior,
li,l stakes, li,l Jrama, arJ always
a few rou,l-arJ-tumble skirmisles
movie screerwriter coulJ rot Jream up
some of tle claracters arJ situatiors we
employmert lawyers Jeal witl every Jay.
ArJ rotlir, is more fur tlar tryir, ar
employers ir employmert arJ class ac-
tior lawsuits for 35 years ir jurisJictiors
learreJ ar importart lessor. Some of
tlose lessors lave beer pairful. DeferJ-
ir, employers from clar,es of larassmert,
Jiscrimiratior, arJ ille,al employmert
row carry witl me irto eacl ore of my
employmert cases.
lor a less pairful (but equally erjoy-
able) metloJ of learrir, about employee-
plairtiffs, tleir lawyers, arJ low to try a
same li,l emotior, Jrama, arJ importart
corvey some useful arJ importart lessors
about tle practice of law. Here are just a
of my favorite law movies.
̸» Ý¿«-»
1lere are a couple of workplace-orierteJ
movies tlat remirJ Jeferse lawyers about
tle zeal of plairtiffs arJ tleir attorreys
Ò±®¬¸ ݱ«²¬®§,
a 2OO5 movie baseJ or
Jersor, tle represertative plairtiff ir
Ö»²-±² ªò Ûª»´»¬¸ Ì¿½±²·¬» ݱ³°¿²§,
is a
efforts to be treateJ equally. LeaJ clarac-
ler abusive lusbarJ, be,irs workir, at a
local tacorite mire, a preJomirartly male
le,islatior, ,overrmert sperJir,, arJ
feJeral a,ercy erforcemert priorities, is
ar ircreaseJ emplasis or tle importarce
of wlistleblowers ir tle corporate arJ
,overrmert compliarce ervirormert.
Òr tle wlistleblower meru for 2OO9
arJ beyorJ: rew wlistleblower protectior
laws ircluJeJ ir tle Stimulus Lill of 2OO9;
revampeJ SLC proceJures followir, tle
ɸ¿¬ × Ô»¿®²»¼ ¿¬ ¬¸» Ó±ª·»-
Þ§ ß´¿² Ôò Ϋ°»
ײ½®»¿-»¼ Ú«²¼·²¹ô λª¿³°»¼ ÍÛÝ Ð®±½»¼«®»-ô
¿²¼ Ü·-¹®«²¬´»¼ ɱ®µº±®½» Ý®»¿¬» л®º»½¬ ͬ±®³
Þ§ Ú®»¼ 窻®¿ ú Ö¿ª·»® Ù¿®½·¿
ݱ²¬·²«»¼ ±² °¿¹» í
ݱ²¬·²«»¼ ±² °¿¹» ïç
ï lublisleJ ir Û³°´±§³»²¬ ú Ô¿¾±® λ´¿¬·±²- Ô¿©, \olume 8, Number 1, lall 2OO9. © 2OO9 by tle Americar Lar Associatior. leproJuceJ witl permissior. All ri,lts reserveJ. 1lis irformatior or ary portior tlereof may
rot be copieJ or JissemirateJ ir ary form or by ary mears or storeJ ir ar electroric Jatabase or retrieval system witlout tle express writter corsert of tle Americar Lar Associatior.
Ú¿´´ îððç Û³°´±§³»²¬ ú Ô¿¾±® λ´¿¬·±²- Ô¿©
Û³°´±§³»²¬ ú
Ô¿¾±® λ´¿¬·±²- Ô¿©
Anessa Abraus
0ebra L. Faskin
0ionne ßlake
Ferne F. Wolf
ݱ³³·¬¬»» ݸ¿·®- Û³»®·¬·
ßÞß Ð«¾´·-¸·²¹
Arley harrel
Jereuy Sosna
Kiuberly Stith
Williau C. Martucci
ßrian Koji
Associate Editor
J.F. haugen
0raphic 0esigner
Monica Alejo
M. Elaine Jacoby
Carol A. Mager
Wayne J. Fositan
John W. Fobinson lv
victoria 0. Stratuan
herbert E. 0erson
Ann Marie Fainter
ßarry v. Frederick
ßarbara Evans
Jon W. 0reen
Jeffrey l. Kohn
Susan Fotter Norton
Margaret harris
0iane A. Seltter
Û³°´±§³»²¬ ú Ô¿¾±® λ´¿¬·±²- Ô¿© (lSSN. 1937-
310ë) is published by the AßA Section of Litigation,
321 N. Clark Street, Chicago, lL ë0ë51. The views
Auerican ßar Association, the Section of Litigation
or the Euployuent and Labor Felations Couuittee.
Copyright © 2009 Auerican ßar Association. All
rights reserved. For peruission to reprint, contact
AßA Copyrights & Contracts, 321 N. Clark Street,
Chicago, lL ë0ë51, fax. (312) 988-ë030, euail.
Address corrections should be sent to the Aueri-
can ßar Association, c/o AßA Service Center, 321
N. Clark Street, Chicago, lL ë0ë51.
Û¼·¬±®·¿´ Þ±¿®¼
baseJ or tle case of Ceoffrey Lowers, ar
attorrey wlo JieJ of AlDS ir 1987, tle
ett, a risir, attorrey at a lar,e llilaJelplia
for wlat it claims is ircompeterce, but
Leckett is corvirceJ tlat tle reasors ,iver
for lis termiratior are pretextual arJ tlat
Jyir, of AlDS.
represert lim ir lis wror,ful termiratior
,ets tle reluctart lelp of a lomoplobic
persoral irjury lawyer playeJ by Derzel
Waslir,tor. Despite tle persoral irjury
two work to,etler to prove tle alle,atiors
arJ ir tle process, tle persoral irjury
lawyer remembers wlat le loves most
,et to be a part of justice beir, Jore. 1lat
1wo lessors from tlis movie: You may
rot always like your cliert, but remember
tle cause. SecorJ lessor, arJ tlis sir,le
rule is importart ir almost every case
ir a worlJ ir wlicl a court or jury must
Jetermire wletler ar aJverse job actior
was motivateJ by Jiscrimiratior or a
le,itimate, ror-Jiscrimiratory reasor.
1lere are larJly ever ary Jirect-eviJerce
cases. и·´¿¼»´°¸·¿ is a ,ooJ example of tle
larJ work recessary to piece to,etler tle
reeJeJ to prove Jiscrimiratory motive.
JeferJir, employers over tle years is tlat
it is ¿´©¿§- persoral. Witlout exceptior,
l lave rever JeferJeJ a case ir wlicl
was rot persorally arJ re,atively emotior-
ally affecteJ by a Jiscrimiratior lawsuit.
1le movie Ü·-½´±-«®»
brir,s tle lessor
lome. Movie claracter 1om SarJers is
passeJ over for a job promotior arJ almost
immeJiately, lis rew supervisor, a womar,
becomes sexually a,,ressive witl SarJ-
aJvarces, tle female supervisor is outra,eJ
SarJers. SarJers courter-sues for sexual
ɸ¿¬ × Ô»¿®²»¼ ¿¬ ¬¸»
½±²¬·²«»¼ º®±³ º®±²¬ ½±ª»®
irJustry. Ar,ry tlat womer, like Aimes,
are takir, valuable positiors from otler
mer, tle male employees make tle ervi-
rormert as urbearable as possible for tle
female employees. 1le pervasive Jiscrimi-
ratory treatmert of womer escalates from
sexually explicit commerts to battery.
lr tle face of tlis irtolerable treat-
mert, Aimes quits ler job arJ lires ar
former employer. After 9O mirutes or so,
tle womer wir tle case. Deferse lawyers
•Wlat are you supposeJ to Jo wler tle
ores witl all tle power are lurtir, tlose
witl rore` Well, for starters, you starJ
up. StarJ up arJ tell tle trutl. You starJ
up for your frierJs. You starJ up ever
Ò±®³¿ ο»
is to labor law wlat Ò±®¬¸
ݱ«²¬®§ is to class actiors. 1le story is
baseJ or tle early urior activity of Crystal
Lee Suttor, a urior or,arizer ir Nortl
Norma lae Webster, a sir,le
motler employeJ at a cottor mill as a
textile worker, meets New York urior or,a-
rizer leuber Warslowsky arJ joirs tle
tor mill. A,air a stru,,le, a,air ultimate
success. Like Ò±®¬¸ ݱ«²¬®§, tlis movie is
Lotl movies Jepict employees willir, to
matter low tou,l tle resistarce.
two movies: Le passiorate, play to wir,
arJ be ertlusiastic about your cause. 1le
practice of law sloulJ be more tlar just a
job. ArJ you sloulJ lave fur Joir, it.
1le awarJ-wirrir, movie и·´¿¼»´°¸·¿
or tle system for a cause, ever tlou,l le
ß´¿² Ôò Ϋ°» ·- ¿ °¿®¬²»® ·² ¬¸» É·½¸·¬¿ô Õ¿²-¿-ô
í lublisleJ ir Û³°´±§³»²¬ ú Ô¿¾±® λ´¿¬·±²- Ô¿©, \olume 8, Number 1, lall 2OO9. © 2OO9 by tle Americar Lar Associatior. leproJuceJ witl permissior. All ri,lts reserveJ. 1lis irformatior or ary portior tlereof may
rot be copieJ or JissemirateJ ir ary form or by ary mears or storeJ ir ar electroric Jatabase or retrieval system witlout tle express writter corsert of tle Americar Lar Associatior.
Û³°´±§³»²¬ ú Ô¿¾±® λ´¿¬·±²- Ô¿© Ú¿´´ îððç
larassmert, arJ tle case ,oes to arbitratior.
Ü·-½´±-«®» is also a remirJer tlat tle
matters we attorreys ofter view ir terms
of case citatiors arJ war stories lave ar
SarJers rearly loses lis job arJ lis wife be-
cause of tle lawsuit. Òur clierts are ro less
vulrerable. 1lese cases irvolve real people
arJ real emotiors. Òur job, as attorreys,
is to commuricate tle potertial of larJ
times arJ leartbreak to our clierts, arJ
to persuasively commuricate tle effects of
tlat reality to tle court arJ jury.
Ü·-½´±-«®» also Jepicts tle rarrow lire
ir real life, eviJerce ir a sexual larassmert
tior. lr every lawsuit, irtert arJ creJibility
at certer sta,e.
be complete witlout mertior of Ѻó
is tle workplace
story of leter Cibbors, a boreJ computer
pro,rammer wlo embraces a work style
of laziress arJ ambivalerce as a result of
a misplaceJ post-lyprotic su,,estior. He
is rewarJeJ witl a promotior wlile lis
larJworkir, frierJs, or tle otler larJ,
tlis movie` 1lree Jis,rurtleJ employees
puter prirter. ArJ tle scleme to embezzle
corporate morey, a perry at a time. Al-
tlou,l tle movie is a comeJy, tle lessors
are real: Work permeates every aspect of
us car poirt to workplace situatiors like
tlose portrayeJ ir
also bettir, tlat at some poirt Jurir, your
le,al career, you will JeferJ someore ir
very similar circumstarces. CooJ luck witl
tlat case arJ let me krow low it turrs out.
̸» É·¬²»--
Now for some law movies rot about tle
workplace, wlicl teacl employmert
lessor from tle movie ß Ú»© Ù±±¼ Ó»²ò
Jeferse attorrey Lieuterart Dariel laffee,
wlo JeferJs two clierts or a murJer clar,e.
laffee corJucts a ,ruelir, cross-examira-
tior of Colorel Natlar Jessep (famously
JeferJarts rot ,uilty, arJ Jessep is arresteJ
JeferJart corfess. Lrforturately, it was ³§
cliert wlo, Jurir, my courtroom examira-
court or your brilliart cross-examiratior to
leaJ to corfessiors ir frort of a jury. Creat
movie, but rot so realistic.
of Col. Jessep witl tle cross-examiratior
of ar apparertly urimportart fact witress
ir tle movie ̸» Ê»®¼·½¬ò
lrark Calvir (playeJ by laul Newmar)
las reacleJ tle erJ of a failir, career. He
las ore lawsuit left, referreJ to lim as a
,ift from lis former mertor. Calvir sues
tle lospital, tle sur,eor, arJ tle arestle-
siolo,ist or belalf of lis cliert, a your,
womar wlo remairs ir ar irreversible
tle trial, le is able to locate tle aJmittir,
rurse arJ corvirces ler to testify at trial.
Calvir puts tle your, rurse or tle witress
starJ arJ witl just a couple of oper-erJeJ
questiors, lets tle rurse tell ler story. 1le
rurse corvircir,ly explairs to tle jury
tlat sle wrote a 1 or tle lospital aJmit-
tarce form, irJicatir, tle patiert laJ
eater ore lour before sur,ery. Calvir sits
Jowr arJ tle acclaimeJ Jeferse attorrey
(playeJ by James Masor) rises to cross-
examire tle your, womar. •ArJ low is it
you car recall tlis so clearly after all tlese
ler larJba, arJ says, •because l kept a
rumber or tle form from a 1 to a 9. 1le
mirJ, wler votir, to awarJ more morey
Jama,es tlar tle plairtiff askeJ for, was
attertior witl a ,reat cross-examiratior;
le let tle witress arJ tle facts be tle star.
So take some time to watcl arJ compare
ß Ú»© Ù±±¼ Ó»² witl ̸» Ê»®¼·½¬ò Watcl
tle two sceres JescribeJ above arJ you will
come to tle same corclusior l lave: 1le
most powerful persuasior Joes rot come
examiratiors, but ratler from tle ri,lt wit-
ress testifyir, to tle ri,lt facts tlat allow
tle jury to come to tle ri,lt corclusior.
̸» Ö«®§
My motler-ir-law always says, •Lvery tub
tlat every persor looks at a situatior from
lis or ler owr poirt of view. lrom my
experierce, l believe tlis is certairly true
ir tle jury box. Jurors view urfolJir, testi-
mory from tleir owr set of circumstarces
arJ irterests; tler tley apply tlose irJi-
viJual poirts of view to wlat tley believe
tle outcome of tle case sloulJ be. lrom
teclriques tlat seem to work.
1lree movies, Ó§ ݱ«-·² Ê·²²§,
¬± Ó«®¼»® DZ«® É·º»,
arJ Ó·¼²·¹¸¬ ·² ¬¸»
Ù¿®¼»² ±º Ù±±¼ ¿²¼ Ûª·´,
illustrate tlese
teclriques. 1lirk about Mora Lisa \ito,
tle •automotive meclaric expert wit-
Ó§ ݱ«-·² Ê·²²§ô wlo explairs
to a Jiverse ,roup of jurors tle Jiffererce
Sle looks
arJ speaks to eacl irJiviJual juror. Sle is
exciteJ about ler subject. ArJ tle jurors
wleels spir. Mora Lisa makes tle poirt,
arJ tle jurors ,et it. lr my persoral awarJ
book, l ,ive Mora Lisa \ito tle lifetime
aclievemert awarJ for •Lest 1estimory by
coursel, but l frequertly slow tlis movie
clip to witresses before l put tlem or tle
witress starJ. 1alk to tle jury. lelate to
tle jurors. Le ertluseJ. lrow your subject.
̸» °®¿½¬·½» ±º
´¿© -¸±«´¼ ¾»
³±®» ¬¸¿²
¶«-¬ ¿ ¶±¾ò
ì lublisleJ ir Û³°´±§³»²¬ ú Ô¿¾±® λ´¿¬·±²- Ô¿©, \olume 8, Number 1, lall 2OO9. © 2OO9 by tle Americar Lar Associatior. leproJuceJ witl permissior. All ri,lts reserveJ. 1lis irformatior or ary portior tlereof may
rot be copieJ or JissemirateJ ir ary form or by ary mears or storeJ ir ar electroric Jatabase or retrieval system witlout tle express writter corsert of tle Americar Lar Associatior.
Ú¿´´ îððç Û³°´±§³»²¬ ú Ô¿¾±® λ´¿¬·±²- Ô¿©
1le 196+ comeJy ر© ¬± Ó«®¼»® DZ«®
because of sleer offersiveress, but is, low-
ever, a ,reat example of tle self-certereJ
jury. AccuseJ of murJerir, lis wife arJ or
trial for lis life, tle leaJ claracter Starley
lorJ (playeJ by Jack Lemmor) realizes le
is ,oir, to be corvicteJ of murJer (al-
witl a rew Jeferse. lr closir, ar,umert,
arJ irvites eacl juror to pusl ar ima,irary
buttor or tle jury rail to forever elimirate
Wlat JiJ tle Jeferse attorrey Jo` He
view arJ serse of fair play.
1le closir, ar,umert maJe by tle Je-
ferse attorrey ir tle true-life-baseJ movie
Ó·¼²·¹¸¬ ·² ¬¸» Ù¿®¼»² ±º Ù±±¼ ¿²¼ Ûª·´ is
ore of tle best silver screer trial sceres
ever. 1le Jeferse lawyer pleaJs witl tle
jury to put tlemselves ir tle sloes of tle
JeferJart, accuseJ of murJer. A,air, tle
Jeferse uses ar ar,umert tailoreJ to eacl
ArJ tle JeferJart is fourJ rot ,uilty.
̸»Ì®·¿´ Ô¿©§»®
1le most importart courtroom lessor
learreJ ir 35 years of practice is to be
tle ,uiJe tle jury car trust. 1lirk about
attorrey SarJy Sterrs is spectacular; lis
cross-examiratior of tle courty cororer,
map for all attorreys. laul Julia is calm,
be,irs lis cross-examiratior of tle evasive
to tle frort of tle jury box, arJ movir, ir
slowly arJ Jeliberately towarJ tle witress
box, tlou,ltfully arJ Jeliberately ,uiJes
tle jury to tle corclusior tlat tle cororer
was mistaker ir tle results of lis autopsy.
As tle coup Je ,raceô Julia ,ertly toucles
tle witress box arJ lits tle mark: •We
lave laJ erou,l ursupporteJ alle,atiors,
performarce. Ю»-«³»¼ ײ²±½»²¬
ir a feJeral courtroom ir ClevelarJ, Òlio,
arJ a former assistart Jistrict attorrey,
William lorJes, offereJ teclrical assistarce
very powerful courtroom tools of movemert,
Jemearor, Jeliberatior, arJ irtersity.
Attorreys, be tle ,uiJe tle jury car trust.
learir,. l tolJ ler tlat orce sle tlou,lt
sle was completely prepareJ, tle best tlir,
sle coulJ Jo tle ri,lt before tle learir,
was to watcl tle scere from ͬ¿® É¿®-
ir wlicl Òbi-War lerobi trairs Luke
Skywalker to use tle li,ltsaber. Skywalker
orbitir, ball wlile blirJfolJeJ. He must
rely completely or lis irstircts. After fur-
Ô»¹¿´´§ Þ´±²¼»
to see low law stuJert Llle
WooJs suJJerly plu,s ler owr experierce
witl lair permarerts irto a pre-scripteJ
cross-examiratior. WooJs stops arJ
tlirks. ArJ sle wirs tle case.
λ¿´ Ô·º»
ers from movies about lawyers arJ trials,
ircluJir, ݸ·½¿¹±,
Ю·³¿´ Ú»¿®,
Õ®¿³»® ª-ò Õ®¿³»®,
of course, all tle Jolr Crislam movies.
\isitir, clierts frequertly ask, •Wlat is tle
me set tle bookerJs: ̸» Ê»®¼·½¬ is α½µ§
witl (or represerteJ) eacl claracter type
tle movie juJ,e arJ lis exclusior of evi-
Jerce.) ß Ý·ª·´ ß½¬·±²
is tle best Jepictior
of tle worst a civil actior car be: lorrer-
Jous Jama,es, years of liti,atior, arJ a very
poor outcome for everyore irvolveJ. 1le
ore lessor from ß Ý·ª·´ ß½¬·±² (baseJ or a
true story irvolvir, ,rourJwater cortami-
ratior ir Massaclusetts): LaJ tlir,s car
lapper at trial.
l keep tle posters of my
two persoral picks for autlerticity, ̸»
Ê»®¼·½¬ arJ Ó§ ݱ«-·² Ê·²²§,
HaJ you JroppeJ by a courtroom ir
Mort,omery Courty, MarylarJ, recertly,
you mi,lt lave cau,lt me approaclir, tle
tle jury box arJ quietly mertiorir, tle
You mi,lt lave tlou,lt it was tleater. lt
1. (Warrer Lros. lictures 2OO5).
2. 13O l.3J 1287 (8tl Cir. 1997).
3. (1wertietl Certury lox lilm
Corp. 1979).
+. ,
, at (2OO6).
5. (Clirica Lstetico 1993).
6. Í»» ,
, at 136 (1996).
7. (Clirica Lstetico 1993).
8. (Warrer Lros. lictures 199+).
9. (1wertietl Certury lox lilm
Corp. 1999).
11. (1wertietl Certury lox
lilm Corp. 1982).
12. (lalo \ista lroJs.
13. (MurJer
lrc. 1965).
(Malpaso lroJs. 1997).
15. laul Ler,mar & Miclael Asimov,
at 111 (2OO6).
16. (Mira,e 199O).
17. loclelle Sie,el, Ю»-«³»¼ ß½½«®¿¬», ALA
19. (Metro-ColJwyr-Mayer 2OO1).
2O. Miramax lilms
21. (DreamWorks SlC 1997).
22. (laramourt lictures 1996).
23. (Columbia lictures 1979).
25. (Clartoff-Wirkler lroJuctiors 1976).
26. (1ouclstore lictures 1998).
27. lor a recitatior of tle facts surrourJir,
tle actual case, see ArJersor v. Cryovac, 96
l.l.D. +31 (D. Mass. 1983) arJ ArJersor v. W.l.
Crace & Co., 628 l. Supp. 1219 (D. Mass. 1986).
ë lublisleJ ir Û³°´±§³»²¬ ú Ô¿¾±® λ´¿¬·±²- Ô¿©, \olume 8, Number 1, lall 2OO9. © 2OO9 by tle Americar Lar Associatior. leproJuceJ witl permissior. All ri,lts reserveJ. 1lis irformatior or ary portior tlereof may
rot be copieJ or JissemirateJ ir ary form or by ary mears or storeJ ir ar electroric Jatabase or retrieval system witlout tle express writter corsert of tle Americar Lar Associatior.