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Learn From Frank Underwood: 5 Legal Lessons From 'House of Cards'

By Brett Snider, Esq. | Last updated on

Oh hello there.

Sorry if that seemed informal, we're trying out more of that fourth-wall breaking that seems to work so well for Frank Underwood on Netflix's political thriller "House of Cards."

But there's more than just gravitas and Southern drawl to be gleaned from Netflix's ruthless pragmatist. Check out these five legal lessons we learned from watching "House of Cards'" Frank Underwood:

(Sidebar:**Season 1 spoilers may follow, but it's been about a year since Season 1 released, so deal with it.**)

1. Be Careful With the Media

As Frank demonstrates in his continued manipulation and subversion of media forces, reporters and broadcast media can be a great strength, or the sword you fall on.

Whether its online or on the air, lawyers can appear on scheduled shows to boost their public exposure. However, with more exposure comes the increased liability and stress that comes with an aggressive marketing campaign. However, like Frank Underwood, you should choose your words wisely to avoid making powerful enemies.

2. Work With Your Spouse

Frank and Claire Underwood are the conniving duo that you love to hate but they certainly get things done. You don't have to be working in the same firm to work with your spouse to be a more effective attorney. Sometimes all it takes is an offer of support or a sounding board for ideas.

Bonus: Perhaps your significant other can learn to do that wicked smile that Claire does across a dinner table -- Robin Wright won a Golden Globe for it.

3. Embrace Technology

"House of Cards" may mostly involve politicians in their mid-forties and up, but Frank Underwood isn't afraid to use his computer or his mobile device to get things done. You can start by working on some simple tips to becoming more in touch with the tech of 2014 (or at least 2013).

FYI, investing in burner phones is not a good idea.

4. Act With Confidence, Purpose

Frank's effectiveness as a politician is due largely to his ability to persuade, which is a lawyer's bread and butter. Part of the fun of "House of Cards" is watching an entire negotiation flow toward Frank's objectives with just the right application of assertiveness and confidence.

This doesn't mean charging in like a bull in a china shop, but it does mean having a strategy and executing it with certainty. Remember, choosing not to act is not always the same thing as doing nothing.

5. Eat BBQ for Breakfast

After a hard week of murdering people, Frank Underwood likes to start his day off with a plate of BBQ ribs from Freddy's. While this isn't necessarily the healthiest way to relax, Frank has the right idea. Lawyers can easily get burnt out unless they indulge in some sort of out-of-work recreation or consumption.

Although hopefully you're not worried about keeping your political web of lies from turning itself into your noose, some "me" time will go a long way. Frank chooses to eat ribs, share a cigarette secretly with his wife, and drink a nice glass of bourbon. He and Claire also run together, which may be a more healthy option for attorneys to emulate.

And one more tip for lawyers and for Frank Underwood: don't talk to yourself -- at least not out loud.

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