A Few Good (and Angry) Men (and Woman)
University of Miami - School of Law
SCREENING JUSTICE - THE CINEMA OF LAW, R. Strickland, et al., eds., p. 607, 2006
University of Miami Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2007-09
I discuss the privilege of lawyers to display anger and to evoke anger in others. For example, in this film's dramatic climax, an angry lawyer angers a witness during cross-examination, who angrily confesses. I consider the uses of anger in acting like a lawyer as well as the emotional lives of lawyers.
I also discuss the normalizing of the angry lawyer. In A Few Good Men, anger is accepted as necessary to motivate lawyers to perform at their best. As with some athletes, there are unfortunate spillover effects. But, A Few Good Men instantiates cultural norms that reinforce angry lawyers.
These norms both help foster the incivility crisis in the legal profession and inhibit efforts to mitigate it. I argue that recognizing and attacking these norms must be part of the legal profession's response to the incivility crisis.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 14
Keywords: emotions, anger, lawyers, legal profession, professionalism
JEL Classification: K41, K42, L84
Date posted: January 20, 2007 ; Last revised: November 16, 2007