Wellness Wednesday: Judge Garland & My Cousin Vinny

Today, three of my favorite topics collide:

  1. A lawyer’s duty of competence
  2. My Cousin Vinny
  3. Attorney Wellness

To me, attorney wellness is much more than the staggering rates at which behavioral health issues affect lawyers, their non-lawyer assistants, judges, and law students.  Well-being also includes enjoying the light moments whenever possible.

The very first rule in the Rules of Professional Conduct requires lawyers to provide clients with competent representation.  It’s widely recognized that Vincent Gambini’s cross-examinations in My Cousin Vinny more than satisfied the duty of competence.

As I’ve previously blogged:

  • “Many great legal minds have mentioned the movie.  For proof, scroll down to the “critical reception” section of the film’s Wikipedia page.  There, alongside references to Justice Scalia and Judge Posner, you’ll see a quote from Alberto Bernabe.  A frequent member of this blog’s #fiveforfriday Honor Roll, Professor Bernabe is also the author of My Cousin Vinny: a story about legal education.  The post links to a fantastic post on Abnormal Use that honored the movie’s 20th Anniversary and that includes other great links to articles on the movie and the legal ethics issues raised in it.”

Time to add another great legal mind to the list: Judge Merrick Garland.

Yesterday, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuited issued this opinion.  Judge Garland opened the opinion as follows:

  • “In 1992, Vincent Gambini taught a master class in cross-examination.  Trial
    counsel for the National Labor Relations Board and the National Union of Healthcare Workers apparently paid attention.”

Keith Lee of LawyerSmack is one of the best follows on Twitter.  Yesterday, he commented on Judge Garland’s references to My Cousin Vinny.  Lee’s tweet thread is here.  AboveTheLaw blogged on both Judge Garland’s opinion and Lee’s tweets.

If you’re a fan of the movie, I recommend the opinion, Lee’s tweets, and the ATL blog.

Personally, I thank all three for contributing to my well-being, while also incorporating the duty of competence.

Image result for my cousin vinny

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