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Bill Bay invites Litigation journal readers into ‘The Black Box’

March 20, 2013

Partner Bill Bay, the current chair of the ABA Section of Litigation, was featured in the Winter 2013 issue of Litigation journal. For “Opening Statement,”  a reoccurring feature reserved for the Section chair, Bay wrote a column, "The Black Box," that draws a connection between litigation and a particular style of theatre: the black box.
“It is a different kind of theater — smaller than the big stage,” Bay writes. “There’s no raised stage, no velvet curtain, no orchestra pit, no balcony, and no mezzanine. This is stripped-down, extremely intimate theater where the focus is on the story and the actors.”
Bay goes on to posit that most ligators do their lawyering in the black box. “The majority of the time, we’re not handling high-profile cases where TV trucks swarm the courthouse steps. Our names don’t appear above the marquee.
“We practice off the main stage before small audiences with no orchestra or elaborate sets. Like a playwright, our clients simply want their stories to be heard. So we take on the roles of actor and director to give life to those stories. Through the witnesses we present and the cadence and power of the words we choose to narrate the story, a human drama plays out on a small stage.”

The 60,000-member Section of Litigation is the largest in the ABA and the nation’s leading group for lawyers involved in litigation and trial practice.