There comes a time in a mature law practice when an associate asks “when’s Karaoke?” It’s a fascinating question, full of appropriate cultural and generational minefields. Newer “hip” associates are eager to jump in. Partners less so. In an era of Glee and Dancing With the Stars, Karaoke is now seen as a modern way to enhance the delivery of legal services, a noticeable step above the old standby of hiring a stripper or a singing telegram. Clients now want to be entertained, especially if they’re about to get a bill that is the equivalent of a what they spend on a weeklong Bahamian vacation.
But, what’s appropriate? With such a wide selection of digitized Karaoke tracks, how do you pick what’s appropriate for, say, a real estate closing or, more seriously, a jailhouse consult? Here are four things to consider.
Closing, Not Opening. Don’t blow your wad early in trial, at the opening. An opening statement is not the place to bring out “I’m Too Sexy for My Shirt.” Play it cool and wait for the close. If trial goes well, use the closing argument to burnish your client’s case and end with a memorable tune the jury can take back and hum along with in deliberations. With one exception, we’re unaware of any reported decision anywhere that has disapproved of a Karaoke-based closing argument. Why not be a pioneer?
Play it Safe. Using Karaoke in your practice is not as easy as it sounds. There are hundreds of thousands of Karaoke tracks, most of them terrible and many of them inappropriate for a law practice. Play it safe. Stick with the standards, such as Barry Manilow, Bruce Hornsby, Lionel Richie or Jason Mraz. If you want to push the envelope a bit, one great way is to belt out “Send in the Clowns” in the lobby of your office while waiting for opposing counsel and his client to show up for a deposition. Still don’t know what to pick? Do this. Anything prior to 1979.
Personalize, Personalize, Personalize. Though it certainly resembles Karaoke, a Karaoke-based practice does not stick to the true Karaoke model. Being a lawyer, you will need to change the words to suit your needs. Personalize the lyrics to the specific legal situation. Changing the lyrics to Vangelis’s “Chariots of Fire” to “Chariots of a Liar” is a great example.
Practice, Practice, Practice. You cannot just pick a song and belt it out to a client or perform it extemporaneously at a deposition. Like good appellate attorneys, you need to practice. Gather staff around on a bi-weekly “Karaoke day” and take turns at the Karaoke machine. Set the scene, though, so that there is proper context for your performance and singing. Otherwise, it’s totally non-billable.
While we tell you to play it safe with song selection, this is not the time to play it safe with your career. If you want to advance, you need to understand and use modern media. Break out of your dead-end transactional cocoon. Move ahead. Pick just one of the songs on our list below, all of which are great first choices to initiate a new direction in your career. If a preferred song is not on the list, let us know what it is and we’ll add it here as a resource for other lawyers.
[box type=”note” style=”rounded” border=”full”]Karaoke-Based Law Practice Song List
Have You Never Been Mellow | Olivia Newton-John
Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song | B.J. Thomas
You’re Having My Baby | Paul Anka and Odia Coates
Atomic Dog | George Clinton
I Shot the Sheriff | Eric Clapton
Private Eyes | Darryl Hall and John Oates
She Works Hard for the Money | Donna Summer
Chariots of Fire | Vangelis