Tony Serra underlines why the best persuasion comes from believing in your client and cause
J. Tony Serra. Sketch placed in public domain by the artist, Paulette Frankel.
Law schools teach about arguing a case effectively from both sides of the issue, and, with some exceptions, conforming to the prevailing legal and governmental power structure, and continuing the archaic and undemocratic practice of placing Esquire after other lawyers’ names in court filings and correspondence.
True, one makes a more effective argument by seeing and feeling the matter from all relevant sides. However, a lawyer prepares and argues most effectively when s/he has passion and love for his client and total devotion to the cause being pursued. That is exemplified excellently by legendary San Francisco lawyer Tony Serra. Here are some great videos and other links covering Tony:
– On Sixty Minutes from way back when, including an excerpt from his closing argument in a criminal case.
– Excerpts from Semantic Warrior The Life & Times of Tony Serra”
– Another Tony Serra interview.
– Los Angeles Times’s 1990 article on Serra’s team’s obtaining an acquittal in the retrial of Hooty Crow acquittal. The article says that Tony’s jury placed “their trust in this attorney whose soulful oratory seemed less a device than a heartfelt expression of belief in his client.”
– Short video on Tony’s cultural defense of Hooty Crow, focusing on the many years of oppression of Native Americans.
In reviewing these links, are you able to be anything but deeply moved?