Working Hardly: The Wisdom of Alan Shore
I’m not actually sure whether the wisdom of Alan Shore from Boston Legal can be practically applied to daily life as a lawyer, but a law firm that will allow me to dress up as a flamingo is the type of firm I aspire to work for, and I’d love to have a best friend called Denny Crane. Practical or not, here are some of my favourite lessons from Alan Shore…
1. How to respond to process servers
“You Alan Shore?”
“Not if you’re a process server”
2. Prepare a Persuasive Closing Argument (and Learn the word ‘Schadenfreude’)
“Schadenfreude. From the German words, Schaden and Freude, damage and joy. It means to take spiteful, malicious delight in the misfortune of others. We used to dismiss this as simply an ugly side of human nature, but it is much, much more than that.
“Recently a Stanford professor actually captured Schadenfreude on a brain scan. It’s a physiological medical phenomenon. When we see others fall it sometimes causes a chemical to be released in the dorsal striatum of the brain, which actually causes us to feel pleasure.
“If you watch the news or read the papers, which of course you don’t because the Judge said not to, but if you did, you would see the undeniable delicious joy of the media and the public over Kelly Nolan’s plight. I have no doubt that you want Kelly Nolan to be punished. She married for money, she had an affair, she carried on naked in the pool with her boyfriend. She’s cold, materialistic, unlikable, and it might bring you all pleasure to see her go to jail.
“But as for evidence to establish that she committed a murder beyond all reasonable doubt? It just isn’t there. The only possible route to a guilty verdict here is Schadenfreude.”
3. Sometimes, there are more important things in life
“My New Year’s resolution…is to appreciate my friends every day and catch more fish”
4. On Working Late
“I always feel slightly sick to my stomach when I work alone in the office late at night”
“I thought you liked being alone”
“Oh, I love being alone. I just prefer to be alone where there’s other people around”
5. Eat Donuts
“I suppose coming to a lawyer’s office can’t be much fun”
“Actually, everyone seems friendly here.”
“Well, they’re given an unlimited supply of donuts”
6. Is law for you?
“You’ll recall I once advised you fleeing the practice of law because it’s an ugly occupation which calls opponents participants to do ugly things. I’m very accomplished to the practice of law, Jerry.”
7. Getting even is awesome
“To err is human, but to get even? THAT is divine.”
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