Hey, Boo: Harper Lee & To Kill A Mockingbird – Movies For Lawyers – The Act Of Communication Point Of View
Ask attorneys what book and movie were their greatest influencers in choosing to become a lawyer and 9 out of 10 respond TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. Now there is a fantastic documentary in limited release in theaters but available for sale on DVD on the author, book and film. The filmmaker is veteran Mary McDonagh Murphy and its title is HEY, BOO: HARPER LEE & TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD.
For every attorney who wanted to become Atticus, related to Scout, grew up in the shadow of Boo Radley, or wanted so badly to see that nothing bad ever happened to another Tom Robinson, this film acts as a “must take” journey. Murphy goes into great depth about the back story of Harper Lee and her writing of her great and only novel. She gives us further insight into all the characters, including her father who was the basis for Atticus. We hear from a host of folks, including her sister who still practices the law in her late 90s! There are “behind the scenes” tales of what went on during the filming told by Mary Badham who played Scout.
But for me, it is the commentary by “others” that offers attorneys the most valuable lessons. First, there is the commentary on the politics of the time (Andrew Young, Oprah Winfrey, and Tom Brokaw). The interplay between the book, the movie and the civil rights movement is so moving. It reminds everyone who has the privilege of working for justice how great an impact our cases can have.
Second, there is the commentary by the writers who are forever influenced and affected by the book. I kept thinking about how attorneys will talk about a great trial lawyer who was a mentor with stunning examples of what made him or her so good. Here, you are experiencing other writers talking about this master writer and her masterwork (a work that is influencing a 6th grader today who is going to become a lawyer just like you did!).
I can think of no greater master class in storytelling that I could send you to right here and right now. It is simply delicious. It will inevitably make you look at your own storytelling as a trial lawyer on a whole new level. Why? Because they are all talking about the storytelling skills of a work you think you know as well as you know your own heart. Just wait. You’ll learn even more.
TIP: Can you list the qualities that make you a good trial lawyer? Did you get them from trying to be like Atticus?