A trial lawyer, who is proficient at his or her craft, has many outstanding skills. They are a tremendous storyteller, who can weave a set of, sometimes, mundane facts into an engaging and persuadable narrative. Their active listening skills and abilities help them adjust when sensing the tone, inflection or the slightest non-verbal communication. They have a set of techniques and tools that can help them direct and manage a witness, judge and jury. A skilled lawyer juggles many hats all at once.
“In the courtroom, nothing is scripted.”
– Haus of Improv
An improvisational actor, who is proficient at his or her craft, has many outstanding skills. They are a tremendous storyteller, who can weave a set of, sometimes, small ideas into an engaging and entertaining narrative. Their active listening skills and abilities help them adjust when sensing a change in tone, inflection or the slightest non-verbal communication. They have a set of techniques and tools at their disposal that help them direct and manage their scene partners, show format and audience. An improvisational actor juggles many hats all at once.
Whether one is litigating a case in the courtroom, obtaining a deposition or consulting with a client, the training methods and skills used by improvisational actors directly relate to the skills that can positively impact a lawyer’s ability to thrive in these environments.
What are these improvisational acting skills? It is the ability to read the temperament and point-of-view of a courtroom of your listeners. It is mentally slowing down what is happening around you so that you can see natural patterns and navigate comfortably. It is having the skills to make a seemingly unpredictable environment predictable and limit the possible outcomes in any given situation. It is having the confidence in your own abilities to react effectively and decisively. It is the confidence to embrace and disarm fear.
These are the skills that successful lawyers seek to obtain. They are also the same skills that every competent improvisational actor works diligently to master. There is a tremendous amount of crossover of skills that trial lawyers and improvisational actors need. It is no wonder why lawyers who are looking for training methods to give them an edge are choosing improvisational acting courses to sharpen and enhance these skills.