Summer Cinema

There's nothing like a deadly legal drama to tap our most potent emotions, rally us for the "good fight" and simply entertain us as lawyers--particularly for those of us in small departments, whose lonelier grind tends to generate a higher craving for escapist legal entertainment and inspiration. So summon yourself to a recliner one of these hot, lazy summer days and enjoy one or more of my all-time fun favorites:

My Cousin Vinny (1992)--Enjoy it for the goofy, escapist humor alone. Joe Pesci (a lawyer who has never won a case) and Marisa Tomei (his sassy girlfriend) are two black-clad, thick-accented New "Yawkers" who trek down to Alabama to defend a murder case. As Tomei sarcastically opines, referring to Pesci's glaring outsider status, "Oh yeah. You blend."

Elle uses her specialized knowledge of hair-perm science and ability to spot a gay witness (any man who recognizes "last season Prada shoes" must be gay) to show that key witnesses are lying, thus protecting her client's freedom and secret.

The Lesson: Intimate knowledge of all sorts of facts--no matter how seemingly useless--can sometimes do more for a case than the best "lawyerly" talents.


Michael Baroni

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