I am writing a screenplay that has a court room sequence. Since I find it hard to write lawyer lingo, I figured that I could write the sequence in a voice over and have the actors do their thing as I write it out or as the director sees fit.


I hate to burst your bubble, but those lengthy courtroom sequences every week on "Law and Order" — the ones where Sam Waterston cleverly gets the witness to screw up on the stand — someone actually has to write all of those. Every word, every comma. Waterston is a talented actor, but he doesn’t come up with a single thing he says. Neither does the director. It’s all in the script, and it’s really, really hard to write.

The same holds true for every line spoken in every movie you’ve ever seen, with the exception of a few improvised comedies and Dogma experiments.

If you find it impossibly difficult to write lawyer lingo, I can think of a few options:

  1. restructure the story so you don’t need the courtroom stuff at all,

  2. get someone to help you, or

  3. tell a different story, one without lawyers.