All the World’s a Stage

Many of our clients and friends know that in my spare time I perform in amateur drama. I have recently performed in a successful outdoors production of William Shakespeare’s “The Merry Wives of Windsor” as the famous comic character John Falstaff. Here I am wearing the most ludicrous pair of horns in the finale:

It strikes me that this hobby of mine, enjoyable as it is, is also great experience and provides useful skills for when I represent clients at Oral Proceedings and other hearings.

When performing I have to learn my part fluently , learn the cue lines other actors give and, especially for playwrights like Shakespeare, completely understand the meaning of the lines, which are often in old or obscure language,  how they fit into the play as a whole and  how the character got to where he is in the play. I also need skills like improvisational skills, and of course the ability to project my voice and be clearly heard by an audience.

These translate directly to the skills an Attorney needs to present a case at a hearing. He or she must learn what the patent and its claims concerns thoroughly, no matter how complicated or arcane its subject matter, and know all the prior art available in order to know how the patent fits in and to be able to argue novelty and inventiveness. He/she must know his arguments thoroughly and robustly, like an actor knows his script. She/he must be able to be heard clearly and be able to concisely present her/his thoughts. But they must also be able to improvise quickly if a third party such as the representative of an opponent raises new issues or takes a new line of attack.

Shakespeare said “All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players”. I hope the above shows how skills learned for one type of stage have translated for me into skills used in another stage.

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