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Law students write, perform musical

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At the end of the 2011 spring semester, the Student Bar Association at Indiana University Maurer School of Law invited Professor Ryan Scott to give the Last Lecture. Scott brought a keyboard and played a song for the students, and he followed his performance with a proposal. In his lecture, Scott made the case that the next school year, the law students should put on a musical. This proposed musical would be the first original musical production in the history of the law school. Scott participated in a student-run musical while attending the University of Minnesota Law School, and he found it to be one of the most rewarding experiences of his law school career.

“Students come to law school with all sorts of talents and interesting backgrounds, and they don’t always have the opportunities to showcase these talents,” Scott said. Giving students the opportunity to write, direct, produce and perform in a production such as this musical was a way to help the students find a means of expressing their creativity and finding some balance between their academic and personal lives.

“If you can’t find balance in your law school career, I think you lose something important,” Scott said.

At the beginning of the 2011 fall semester, an email of interest was circulated to IU law students from Scott to see who might want to participate in the show. A call-out meeting followed. Although about 70 students attended that meeting, only about half ended up participating.

The schedule of tasks for staging the musical was created with the year’s academic schedule in mind. The writing of the musical was completed during the fall, and the performance was to be held in the spring semester so that it would be over before final exams. Drew Tharp, one of the directors of the show, was happy with his decision to participate, even after he decided to take the bar exam early in February.

“There were a few times I was worried about making the commitment,” he said, but “the musical was stress relief. It was a nice break from studying for the bar.”

iu law school Karen Wrenbeck as “Minnie Minaj,” Ken Burleson as “Gary Trotter,” and EJ Henricks as “Lebron Sneazley” perform in the student-written law school musical. (IBJ Photo/Kate Buckley)

The students who participated in the musical appreciated the camaraderie and fun it provided. Darrian Campbell, who was both a writer and director of the show, found value in expressing his creativity through writing.

“I’m thankful to have something outside of the rigors of law school to relieve [the] stress,” he said.

Karen Wrenbeck, who was both a producer and an actor in the show, liked how it helped her interact with more of the student body.

“I don’t know that I would have met all these awesome, hilarious 1Ls” if not for her participation in the musical, she said.

“Gary Trotter and the Parody Exception: The Law School Musical,” ran on March 2 and 3 in the law school’s Moot Courtroom. The student-written show, which was a parody of the “Harry Potter” books, followed the exploits of Gary Trotter as he is accepted into Mogwarts, a magical law school.

Opening night was a success. Parodies of both pop songs and show tunes were performed energetically by the show’s cast and musical team, such as “Network ’til the world ends,” a spoof of a Britney Spears song. Jokes comparing law school to high school, and songs about writing briefs and memos and the glamour of living in southern Indiana had the audience laughing in the courtroom and talking at intermission about how funny the show was.

Next year, Campbell said, the students will try to make sure early in the process that more of the school is aware of the musical. Even though about 35 students participated, he said some law students approached him the week leading up to the premiere, saying they wished they had heard about the show earlier so they could have participated. Considering how full the house was both nights, the students might also need a larger venue next year.•

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  • Next Starkid?
    Any chance I could see this musical on youtube?
  • Law school musical
    Glad to read of the law school musical.The students AND faculty at Valparaiso Law School have performed many successful musical parodies combined with a formal fundraising dinner for alumni. Perhaps their experience might be explored when planning future Mauer Law School performances.

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  1. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

  2. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  3. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

  4. When I hear 'Juvenile Lawyer' I think of an attorney helping a high school aged kid through the court system for a poor decision; like smashing mailboxes. Thank you for opening up my eyes to the bigger picture of the need for juvenile attorneys. It made me sad, but also fascinated, when it was explained, in the sixth paragraph, that parents making poor decisions (such as drug abuse) can cause situations where children need legal representation and aid from a lawyer.

  5. Some in the Hoosier legal elite consider this prayer recommended by the AG seditious, not to mention the Saint who pledged loyalty to God over King and went to the axe for so doing: "Thomas More, counselor of law and statesman of integrity, merry martyr and most human of saints: Pray that, for the glory of God and in the pursuit of His justice, I may be trustworthy with confidences, keen in study, accurate in analysis, correct in conclusion, able in argument, loyal to clients, honest with all, courteous to adversaries, ever attentive to conscience. Sit with me at my desk and listen with me to my clients' tales. Read with me in my library and stand always beside me so that today I shall not, to win a point, lose my soul. Pray that my family may find in me what yours found in you: friendship and courage, cheerfulness and charity, diligence in duties, counsel in adversity, patience in pain—their good servant, and God's first. Amen."

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