by: Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm
From “To Kill A Mockingbird,” all the way to “My Cousin Vinnie,” the world of cinema is filled with great trial stories. In virtually all of them, the heart of the drama is played out in a courtroom, in front of a jury, through powerful openings, closings, and witness examinations. In that context, the new movie, “The Social Network,” is an oddity. The movie, chronicling the invention and development of Facebook, along with its attendant lawsuits, is notable in the fact that it lacks a trial. Instead, the drama is played out in the depositions leading up to…spoiler alert…settlement.
In that regard, and in an age in which more than 98% of federal civil disputes never reach the point of resolution in front of a jury, that may make “The Social Network” one of the most realistic of all legal dramas. But it must have been a question that the writers and director addressed at an early stage: “how do we maintain the drama and move the story forward without the central device of a trial?" How they answered that question and created a very good movie in the process carries a few pointers about managing your message during the discovery phase of your trial.