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The Legal Lessons of Harry Potter

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The world recently played host to one of the most financially important events in cinematic history, the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, the eighth and final film of the franchise. So, we have decided to take a look back at the films (and maybe the books a bit too) and see what lessons The Boy Who Lived can teach us about the practice of law. We can't hit you with an obliviate charm, so we have to warn you: spoiler alert.

 

It Takes A Long Time To Say Anything In Old Entish

Your Enemies Are Morons

Like most villains with incredible powers and an intense hatred of a single individual, Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters tend to engage in elaborate, ceremonial practices that invariably foil their plans. Barty Crouch Jr. (disguised as Mad Eye Moody) is tasked with abducting Harry Potter so his blood can be used in a spell to resurrect Voldemort. He decides the best way to do this is to turn the trophy of the Tri-Wizard Tournament into a portkey (for the uninitiated, it's a device that, when touched, will transport the user to some predetermined location). He has picked the one thing at Hogwarts Harry is least likely to touch. He could have picked one of Harry's books, his shoe, his pillow. Anything. He could have chosen just a random thing in his office and said "Harry, come bring that over to me." Hermione's knickers would have been a better choice. He could have petrified Harry and just carried him out in a box. Somehow, despite choosing the most illogical plan ever, Harry is abducted and Voldemort resurrected. Then, the dark lord insists on giving Harry his wand and letting him fight a duel, rather than just killing him. Naturally, since Harry is British, he is able to summon the spirit of James Bond and escape.

The lesson is that it doesn't really matter how deep of a hole you get yourself in to, you can always count on your opponents doing something so miraculously stupid that it all works out in the end.

 

All We Have To Decide Is What To Do With The Time That Is Given Us

Become A Master of Multitasking

In Year 3, Hermione is given a time turner by the Hogwarts administration. It is a device that allows her to turn back time a few hours, essentially creating a double of herself at that previous point, and becoming capable of being in two places at the same time. She uses this to attend classes with scheduling conflicts, because apparently the school thinks it more appropriate to give a young girl a device capable of driving her insane with the slightest misuse rather than find a teacher willing to tutor her after hours. But, the time turner comes in handy when it is needed to rescue Buckbeak, Sirius Black, and Harry himself. After it's finally used for something worthwhile, it is of course then confiscated by the school.

What you should take away from this is the tremendous power that comes from being in two places at once. If a client requires you to fly somewhere, and you do work for another client on that flight, well, both clients are getting something of value, go ahead and bill them both. Doing research that will be useful to two of your current clients? Well, it'd be silly to repeat the work, but in theory, you're doing the work for both of the clients. Two bills should be sent out for that. And hey, what if a client asks you something you've already researched the answer to? Just do a little temporal magic and "repeat" the work for the new client. You'll be swimming in galleons and knuts in no time.


Keep It Secret, Keep It Safe

You Can't Run, But You Can Hide

Very early on in the first book, Harry is presented with a cloak of invisibility that had previously belonged to his father. It is remarked that the cloak is extraordinary, far beyond the quality of other such cloaks, but no one really makes much of this fact until the Deathly Hallows. According to legend, the Hallows are artifacts which give the user certain powers over death; there is the Elder Wand, which will defeat all others in a duel; the Resurrection Stone, capable of bringing back the dead; and, the Cloak of Invisibility, hiding the user from Death.

Harry's cloak does not make him invulnerable, as Malfoy is able to petrify him while he's under it. But, it does render him immortal so long as he is out of Death's gaze. This lesson should not be lost on lawyers. If you want to survive, the best thing you can do is hide. If they can't find you, they can't fire you.

 

We Have The White Wizard, That Has To Count For Something

You Can Never Be Too Prepared

Harry's success throughout the series is not due much to his own intelligence or skills with magic, but rather his ability to muster up considerable resources to aid him. In order to battle the forces of darkness, he relies on his invisibility cloak, the Marauder's Map, Hermione (considered the smartest student at Hogwarts), a seemingly all-powerful elf, an endless supply of money left to him by his parents, and a destiny that has decided there is only one person in the world who can possibly kill him.

Even with all these resources, time and again Harry is barely able to carry the day. You have none of these things, not one. You're screwed.

[Read more from Lawyerlite]


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