Advocacy to Zealousness: Learning Lawyering Skills from Classic Films includes 26 skills, listed in alphabetical order and appearing in separate chapters, which should ideally be in every lawyer’s toolbox. Each is an example of professionalism, and all are possible for every current or future lawyer to attain or sharpen. They also speak to our needs in the legal profession in the new millennium. Interspersed throughout the text are subtle references to diversity, both in the practice of law, as well as in various film references and storylines.
Each chapter includes a discussion of the skill and its use for lawyers, a synopsis of the film associated with the skill, film discussion questions, and brief exercises for improvement. The format encourages readers to either methodically review each chapter in alphabetical order, or skip around as needs and interests dictate. The book concludes with a comprehensive index.
Images, be they positive or negative, are powerful and long lasting. Those found in popular films are often our only points of reference until we meet the real thing — or assume the role ourselves. Many professors already use film clips in their classes, but, until Advocacy to Zealousness, there was no singular point of reference for films selected solely for the purpose of fostering and sharpening lawyering skills. Legal skills training needn’t be dry or cumbersome. With creativity and planning, it can instead be educational, memorable, and enjoyable — while also remaining comprehensive and relevant — thereby enhancing the practice of law and the legal profession as a whole.
Anders spent more than three years sharpening the list of lawyering skills, and she researched and analyzed 327 films to select the 26 that are included in the book. Every film selected was released before the adoption of the modern film rating system in 1968, which facilitates showing them in a variety of classroom settings because they lack the expletives, nudity, and graphic violence frequently found in modern films. Additionally, each film is available in DVD format, and most feature diverse characters in leading or supporting roles.
“That Kelly Lynn Anders employs film classics to teach (or reinforce) critical trial skills in her latest book, Advocacy to Zealousness, should not be surprising. Movies are just stories on film. But trial lawyers are typically the weavers of the story, not the intended audience. So when Anders deftly turns the tables by using cinematic storytelling as a tool, the result is both surprising and entertaining. While primarily written for law students and academics, this book is an enjoyable read for all lawyers, imparting knowledge to the novice and sharpening the skills of the seasoned practitioner. ...[T]he book's most useful feature is its list of "Exercises for Improvement" at the end of every chapter, offering concrete techniques for mastering each skill.” — Kenneth J. Allen, Trial magazine (January 2013)
“Anders has…done a fine job selecting the films. Her descriptions are clear and the reader should be able to establish whether the film discussed is one that warrants attention and potential presentation to a class…. Some of the films selected, such as To Kill a Mockingbird, are among those typically selected for discussions about portrayals of lawyers in popular film, but many, such as Gentleman’s Agreement, may offer refreshing material to those who teach a law and film class or who use films to animate classroom discussions.” — J Thomas Parker, Law and Politics Book Review (Vol. 23 No. 1)
“Lawyers—particularly those who teach—look for innovative ways to present points they want to convey. Kelly Lynn Anders’ new book invites thinking about new approaches t