Do music and art make one a better lawyer? 

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Nov 04, 2015 Do music and art make one a better lawyer? 

In the sterile, windowless, and often chilling surroundings of a courtroom, the imagination is needed to make the place come alive for justice. I like to replace the framed paintings of unsmiling judges and the appearance of armed police with the antics of R. Crumb, the juxtapositions of Joseph Kosuth, and the endless imagination of Santana Miyazaki. I like to replace the unsettling sound of clicking handcuffs and slamming celldoors with the sounds of Dizzy Gillespie’s be-bop, John Coltrane’s Love Supreme, Van Morrison’s “Moondance“, and Cecil Taylor being Cecil Taylor.

For nine years, I formally studied music through trumpet-playing, finally reaching the point of four years of in-depth musical improvisation. This always serves me well for improvising in the courtroom. Music and art need not be complex to be powerful, as exemplified by Count BasieBen Katchor and Bill Griffith. Whatever keeps the powerful passion and fire in our hearts and bellies is what is key.


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