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Channeling Your Inner Cousin Vinny for Trial and Law Practice

By William Vogeler, Esq. on August 14, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

If you haven't heard of attorney Vinny Gambini, you haven't lived long enough.

He is the best trial lawyer Hollywood never made, played by Joe Pesci with a lot of help from legal assistant Marisa Tomei. That is just one critic's opinion, but everybody can agree that My Cousin Vinny was hilarious.

Not only that, he beat a murder rap for his nephew. Just saying, a little humor can go a long way in the courtroom and in the practice of law.

'Strategically Placed Humor'

Vinny wasn't a real lawyer, but so what. Trials aren't real life, either. They are presentations about life.

In either case, life is better with a little humor. Roberta Liebenberg, a senior partner with Fine, Kaplan and Black, said "strategically placed humor" is very important.

Liebenberg told the ABA Journal that humor can drive home a point and engage a judge and jury. A fun-filled workplace can also increase productivity.

"Research also shows that people who are humorous are consistently evaluated as more confident and more competent," Liebenberg said.

No Lawyer or Parrot Jokes

The hard part about using humor at work is that not everybody will think you're funny. Many stand-up lawyers have died up there.

Michael Adler, for example, kind of bombed on Twitter:

"Just settled a divorce over visitation of a parrot. Neither may teach it negative phrases about the other. I went to law school for this."

Turns out the joke was on him because Lady Lawya had tweeted that one months earlier. Turns out timing is everything.

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