Generally lawyers aren’t actors, some may be temperamental, others may fancy themselves as an A-list attorney, but generally attorneys don’t have much in the way of theatrical training.  It’s been said a jury trial is just one big dog-and-pony show, and those at Actors-at-law, Inc. would surely agree.

Actors-at-law, Inc. provide trial attorneys with professional actors to read a deposition for a witness who is unable to attend trial.  Legally, a witness generally needs to attend a trial and be subject to both direct examination and cross examination.  However, there are times when a witness is unable to come to court (such as when they die).  In cases where a witness cannot come to court, there is generally a reading of the deposition. 

What Is A Deposition?

A deposition is used during “discovery” in order for the opposing counsel to gather facts about the case.  For example, if there is a claim for breach of contract and the person bringing the lawsuit states that one of the defendant’s workers was instructed to do something illegal, the person bringing the claim would want to ask that worker questions.  Generally, a deposition is attended by both sides and is usually recorded by tape or video-tape, sometimes it is recorded by a court reporter.  These depositions are sworn statements and can be used against you in court.

Why Is This Service Different?

What makes Actors-at-law unique is that they take an otherwise mundane reading of a deposition (since the deposition generally has to be read to the court in order to make it part of the official record) and turns it into a tool for the attorney.  After speaking with Ellen Jacoby, one of the casting directors at Actors-at-law, she said the appeal to an attorney is not only with the presentation itself, since the main goal at a jury trial is to try to “make the jury like you,” but in many cases, it’s cheaper than hiring a new expert witness.  Jacoby continued that by tapping into a deep collection of acting talent, she could find the right reader to strike a chord with the jury (do you want someone within a certain age, certain looks, or a certain speech pattern – for my money, I want a Morgan Freeman impersonator).

What do you think, is it right for a jury to hear from an actor reading a script?  Should more attorneys utilize this service?  Have you been looking for a good Attorney?