Volume 35

The Funny Business

by Evelyn Hudson

Good attorneys are clowns. Or, at least, they should be. In this Article, I compare clowning and legal ethics. In so doing, I review elements of the ethics of clowning and the clown rules, and the lessons those provide to attorneys. I also consider aspects of clowning, such as world-creation, norm-inversion, clown logic, and the mythical matrix, all of which are instructive for the legal profession. Each of these elements contributes to an understanding of lawyering as a clown-like narrative project. This project provides a better lens for ethical analysis and reflection than past attempts at analogizing the lawyer’s role.

I therefore conclude that clowning offers the best comparison for Law as narrative, rather than acting or writing. Lessons from clowning provide attorneys with a provocative example by which they may address various issues in legal ethics, as well as engage more intimately with semiotics in practice.

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