Thursday, April 28, 2016

Praises for My Cousin Vinny as a Teaching Tool for Law Students and Young Lawyers (4/28/16)

In December 2015, I finished many years of teaching at the University of Houston Law School.  My courses for most of that time were Tax Procedure and Tax Fraud and Money Laundering (Tax Crimes for short).  In those courses, I recommended to those interested in doing serious trial work that they watch the movie My Cousin Vinny several times.  There are some interesting trial techniques.  Even when exaggerated, they make important points.  For that reason, I have sometimes referred to My Cousin Vinny in blog entries.  (The collected blog entries mentioning the movie are here.)

I was thus quite interested to see this article:  Nick Vedala, New Jersey’s US attorney praises accuracy of 'My Cousin Vinny’ ( 4/28/16), here.  One good excerpt is:
Fishman specifically referenced a scene from the movie in which Pesci’s character questions a witness who says he saw the murder in question occur. In that scene, the argument comes down to the preparation of grits, with Pesci uttering the famous line, “Are we to believe that boiling water soaks into a grit faster in your kitchen than anywhere else on the face of the Earth?” 
“I have taught trial techniques for 15 years using that because his cross [examination] is terrific," Fishman said. “Go back and watch it and see. It’s over the top, it’s outrageous, but the way he does it is great.”
JAT Note: Great cross-examination from a random fact Pesci aka Vinny learned earlier in the movie.  And while on grits, there is a saying in the South that a day without grits is a day wasted.  Taking that expression to heart, I enjoyed grits for dinner last night at the Old Ivy Inn (actually the menu item was shrimp and grits, but I got the chef to make the grits far removed from the shrimp; very good.)  And, this morning, Irene made me grits.  Good living here in Charlottesville.

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