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Shakespeare for Lawyers Part 2: Rhetorical Power in the Courtroom

Presented by Michael DeBliss III

(322 Ratings)
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Course Description

Length: 1h 23min    Published: 11/15/2023    
While it’s true that the quote, “Let’s kill all the lawyers” came from the stroke of Shakespeare’s pen in Henry VI, Part 2, Act IV, Scene 2, there are many things that we, as lawyers, can learn from the Bard. There is a striking similarity between the Elizabethan theater of the 16th and early 17th centuries and the courtroom, perhaps because the courtroom hasn’t changed much since its origins back in the late 1700s. In the same way that Shakespeare’s plays were performed on a stage before live audiences without video cameras, green screens, animation, and special effects, so too is a trial. It is for this reason that Shakespeare’s text was meant to be heard more than it was meant to be seen. In this way, Shakespeare’s text is like sheet music. Until the actors breathe life into the words on stage, they are nothing more than blots of ink on paper. This is just as true for our written arguments. Until we get up before a jury and speak the words, they are empty, hollow, and devoid of life – like a stuffed animal. This speaks to the importance of delivery. Remarkably, the lawyer who stands before a jury finds himself in the very same position as that of a Shakespearean actor: he or she must rely exclusively on their words, their voice, and their bodies, including their gestures and their mannerisms, to tell the story. If we are to be zealous advocates for our clients, there is no better time than now to learn the tools and devices that made William Shakespeare the greatest dramatist of all time. So we must learn to harness the tools that the actors of Shakespeare’s day used to move audiences, chief among them the power of rhetoric.
Learning Objectives
* How to avoid overstressing the words
* Learn the power of rhetoric
* Know how to aim for a natural truthfulness
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Presented By:

Michael DeBliss III

Bloomfield, NJ

973-783-7000

mjdeblis@deblislaw.com

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