A Few Good (and Angry) Men (and Woman)
SCREENING JUSTICE - THE CINEMA OF LAW, R. Strickland, et al., eds., p. 607, 2006
14 Pages Posted: 20 Jan 2007 Last revised: 16 Nov 2007
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.
Keywords: emotions, anger, lawyers, legal profession, professionalism
JEL Classification: K41, K42, L84
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation