3 Things Lawyers Can Learn from 'Star Wars'

By Mark Wilson, Esq. on May 04, 2015 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

If you're wondering why today is Star Wars Day, consider that it's May 4th and then make a list of all the terrible "Star Wars"-based puns you can think of based on that.

There aren't any lawyers in A Galaxy Far, Far Away, but that doesn't mean lawyers couldn't learn a thing or two from George Lucas' universe. Here are some takeaways for you -- from the original trilogy, of course.

Newer Isn't Always Better

"This is the weapon of a Jedi Knight. Not as clumsy or random as a blaster; an elegant weapon for a more civilized age."

When Obi-Wan Kenobi describes a light saber to Luke Skywalker, Han Solo has a healthy laugh about "simple tricks and nonsense"; i.e., Jedi Knights. There's a tendency to think that old things need to be replaced with something new. In the law, however, just the opposite is true: Much of the so-called training we receive in law school doesn't prepare us for too much of anything. It's experience that makes a lawyer good.

Actions Have Consequences

"This one a long time have I watched. All his life has he looked away -- to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was. Hmm? What he was doing. Hmph."

Trying to come up with reasons why he can't train Luke to be a Jedi Knight, Yoda concludes that Luke is too impetuous to be trained. Jedi need to be calm and rational. Luke is ambitious, to be sure -- but sometimes he presses forward without realizing the consequences of his actions.

A successful lawyer has to be strategic and calculating, thinking through not only the consequence of what she does in terms of the client, but also in terms of what she does professionally. Yoda, for example, would never tolerate a lawyer who insults opposing counsel in the middle of court, just out of range of the judge's hearing.

The Dark Side Isn't as Powerful as You Think

"But beware of the Dark Side. Anger, fear, aggression; the Dark Side of the Force are they. Easily they flow, quick to join you in a fight. If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will, as it did Obi-Wan's apprentice."

Sure, The Emperor has all that fancy force lightning, but where did that get him? Just as the Dark Side destroys everything good, it soon destroys itself. Makes sense, right? The Dark Side doesn't really create anything -- except maybe for Death Stars.

As in the law, you can take the sneaky, unethical approach to get quick gains, but ultimately, your credibility will suffer. Judges and opposing counsel hate going up against "that guy" whose citations need to be checked and who uses every technical objection in his arsenal to make your life difficult. (There are just some days when you want to pick that guy up and hurl him down a deep shaft.)

And May the Fourth be with you.

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