Wanted: DJ for JDs

By Mass. Lawyers Weekly Staff

Dolan Media Newswires

BOSTON, MA--There are only so many "I Fought the Law" references that lawyers can be expected to endure before seriously considering a career change just to obtain a more diverse soundtrack. (Heck, even tax collectors and meter maids get Beatles songs).

For counsel seeking a bit more lyrical variety to pair with their decidedly in-depth work, Lawyers Weekly suggests the following tunes as part of a meatier musical accompaniment to one's daily legal grind:

"A Church, a Courtroom and then Goodbye" by Patsy Cline (1955)


A simple but touchingly relatable tale of the heartbreak of divorce:

"The next scene was a crowded courtroom, and like strangers we sat side by side ... then the clerk wrote our story in the record -- a church, a courtroom and then goodbye ... We walked from that courtroom together, we shook hands and once again we cried ... then it was the end of our story -- a church, a courtroom and then goodbye."

OK, so more than a half-century later, an unhappy ending to an American marriage has become more the rule than the exception, but in an era when the divorce rate rested below 20 percent, it was a downright tearjerker.

"The Court Room" by Clarence Carter (1971)

This rarity can't be found on YouTube or ITunes, but you can hear it in this podcast.

Dyed-in-the-wool small town raconteur Carter spins a country funk rocker detailing the story of preacher man Joe Henry, accused by a young woman of "partaking of her lovely body" and seemingly about to fall victim to the fiery prosecutor, until:

"The foreman addressed the court and said, 'I've known the reverend all my life -- he got shot up so bad in the war that he couldn't even take a wife ... I swore I'd never tell a soul, but the reverend's life is on the line, and there ain't no way on God's green earth that he could commit this crime.'"

Ah, the ol' indisputable medical evidence, revealed just in the nick of time. All too rare, but then again so was rapping in 1971 (Carter was decidedly avant la lettre).

"The Trial" by Pink Floyd (1979)


A metaphorical trial, yes, but the endless conviction possibilities facing Roger Waters' paranoid anti-hero are far more chilling than breaking some rocks in the hot sun:

"I always said he'd come to no good in the end, Your Honor," barks the defendant's old schoolmaster. "I could have flayed him into shape, but my hands were tied -- the bleeding hearts and artists let him get away with murder -- Let me hammer him today!"

The witness will refrain from making any extraneous remarks, particularly violent threats against the defendant.

"Get Over It" by The Eagles (1994)


Not strictly a legal tune, but anytime Shakespeare gets a mention in a pop song, it's worth a listen:

"You say you haven't been the same since you had your little crash, but you might feel better if I gave you some cash ... The more I think about it, old Billy was right -- Let's kill all the lawyers, kill 'em tonight."

Leave it to certified curmudgeon Don Henley to channel the Bard in order to remind lawyers of the all-too-often thankless nature of their toil. Thanks a bunch, Desperado.

"Testify" by Common (2005)


Nothing like a good prosecutor's nightmare victory scenario to serve as a cautionary taleagainst overzealous conviction-seeking:

"Fear in her chest, her face in tears, had her man's back; he was facing years ... Guilty on all charges, she's shaking like she took it the hardest ... a spin artist, she brought her face up laughing -- that's when the prosecutor realized what happened."

Remember Edward Norton's turn in the courtroom drama "Primal Fear" as a manipulative murderer who feigned an alternate personality in court? Pfft. Common's villainess doesn't even require the mental disorder charade, just some crocodile tears.

Entire contents copyrighted © 2011 by Dolan Media Company. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is expressly forbidden.

Published: Mon, Aug 29, 2011


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