It's CLE: Singing Lawyers Mix Legal Ethics and Monty Python

By Casey C. Sullivan, Esq. on August 04, 2015 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Legal ethics and musical theater, a match made in heaven? Well, not exactly, but at least one troupe of lawyers is looking to make legal ethics CLE programs a little less monotonous and a lot more entertaining by taking a note from Broadway.

A group of Texas lawyers calling themselves the Ethics Follies has been putting on musical legal ethics performances for years. Their most recently production was a riff off Monty Python's Spamalot, entitled, appropriately, Scamalot.

Who has time for such things, you ask? Well, in-house counsel apparently. The 17-member troupe is composed largely of members of the South/Central Texas Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel, according to the ABA Journal. The troupe was founded by Lee Cusenbary, G.C. to a San Antonio pharmaceutical company, and Mary Doggett, G.C. to the Encore Capital Group. The duo was inspired by seeing another lawyer's one man show. Who knew there were so many thespian esquires?

The group was so successful that they presented their shows to the general public. Yes, people in Texas are desperate enough for theater that non-lawyers will sit in on a legal ethics course, so long as it involves men in tights.

King Arthur's Quest for CLE Credits

The group recently performed Scamalot before the ABA's annual meeting in Chicago. Scamalot plays off Spamalot, itself a musical theater adaptation of "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," the 1975 classic British comedy. You remember the film -- it's the one with the "Knights who say Ni," the taunting French guards, and the dancing Knights of the Round Table.

This time around, Knights who say Ni have been supplemented with ethical lessons on confidentiality and cloud computing, commingling of funds, client conflicts, and the like. As the knights say, "The Holy Grail means the ethical treatment of our clients and each other." (Hey, it's a CLE class, not Shakespeare.)

If you can't make it to one of Ethics Follies productions, however, don't worry. Monty Python and the Holy Grail is about to be re-released in theaters for its 40th anniversary -- as a sing-a-long. Think Rocky Horror Picture Show-style productions, this time celebrating John Cleese, instead of Tim Curry or Susan Sarandon. The Holy Grail will not come with CLE credits, however.

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