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The Next Three Days – Movies For Lawyers – The Act Of Communication Point Of View


The thing about spending time on the road is you can watch movies in your hotel room that you don’t have time to catch up with in the movie theater because you spend time on the road. Okay, I’ll admit it – I never would have chosen to see THE NEXT THREE DAYS either on the road or in my hotel room…but…I was lucky enough this trip to have Alan in my hotel room.  So we watched it together.

It is a fascinating study for lawyers, I think, on how not to tell a story. What is left out of the plot line makes it difficult to follow – and often what is left in is a bit odd.  I kept thinking about how hard it is to put together a trial story. How hard it is to maintain suspense, not tell all the details, but set the pathway clearly so that the jurors can follow it.

Watching an actor like Russell Crowe acting his brains out and not knowing why is very sobering. Why? Because somewhere in a court right now there is an attorney heavily emotionally invested in a story and a jury who doesn’t know what the heck is going on.

TIP: Check and re-check that your trial story is easily followed, clear, and “hole free” for your jurors.


The film also brought up, for me, the challenge of expectations.

I bought the film because I usually love Paul Haggis, I think his is truly an original, gifted voice. I really like Russell Crowe and from all previews and what I had seen, the film seemed like an action movie with a strong human story. So, I went into this with certain expectations. And mostly, I was left wondering, HUH??!!

It wasn’t a bad experience, and yes some of my expectations were fulfilled. But, overall, I was so disappointed. I wanted more. I EXPECTED more.

When an attorney takes on a certain case, or has established a certain reputation…or when her client has a reputation that creates expectations in the public mind, there is a bar established that must be met.

If the story or the lawyer or the client or the case is somehow incongruent with those expectations, does not rise to that bar, then the jury will translate their disappointment into a decision against you. It’s a tricky and delicate thing.

Tip: Manage the expectations of the jury. Or meet them. Expectations can be resentments waiting to happen.

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