Becoming an Ace Attorney

The closest (hopefully) we’ll ever get to being in court

The re-release of Apollo Justice for the Nintendo 3DS gives me a perfect opportunity to bring up some of the important lessons the series has taught us about the law.

In the strange world of Japanifornia, the courts are a place not only of finding guilt, but of putting on the most incredible, often bizarre displays of justice possible. Your arguments are only as good as the flair with which you give them. Just look at their outfits: who but the most desperate performer would wear these suits?

Apollo Justice

I have a degree in criminal law, so I thought I knew about the law (it’s true, and also extremely convenient right now). But you never really know justice until you hear it from Apollo Justice. Here are some of the things I learned:

  • The chain of evidence I always heard so much about is probably a necklace or something. Real lawyers keep their evidence hidden until they can reveal it to the court in a loud, dramatic fashion. This is especially true if you’re the prosecutor and you’re holding the updated medical report you know will destroy the defense’s case.
  • Bailiffs aren’t really security guards. Their main duty is to keep out busybodies, Larry Butz, and anyone else who wants to interrupt the trial. It’s unclear what those people say to the bailiffs that lets them inside, so I assume that bailiffs watch the trial closely and then let in anyone who can totally derail the trial at the opportune moment.
  • Lawyers will often use magical jewelry as a way of getting information from witnesses. It’s so common, in fact, that defense attorneys prefer using magic jewelry whenever possible. No one ever questions their sudden bursts of insight, so it’s gotta be a common practice.
  • I had been told that you had to have a list of witnesses prepared beforehand so that both sides could prepare, but that seems completely unnecessary. It’s much better to save it so you can announce them during the trial with maximum effect. People can also demand they become witnesses if they have something to say or want the attention. Sometimes their revelations are so incredible they can literally blow you away. Sometimes it’s Larry Butz again.
  • There are no rules as to who is allowed to be a witness. If a parrot or a ventriloquist dummy may help your case, it’d be foolish not to bring them onto the stand. While the judge/prosecution may mock your choice initially, it’ll make your victory that much sweeter.
  • Always interrupt. Shout ‘Hold It’ at every piece of witness testimony, even if you don’t know what you’re going to say next. Hopefully you’ll think of something to say as you’re shouting. Lucky lawyers are childhood friends with the prosecution, so the prosecution will chime in when you need it most.
  • That clock will help you solve the case. Don’t ask why. Clocks are extremely dangerous.

These are only some of the things I learned from the games. The series is an indispensable learning tool for anyone looking to become a lawyer themself, and I would highly recommend it for anyone trying to study for exams. Your grades, of course, are your own fault because I can’t control what you learn. I think it helps if you practice a few times before the big day. I mean, it always seems like all of the ‘Ace Attorneys’ could have used some rehearsing ahead of time.

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Kate Reis
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