Why Lawyers Should Play Magic the Gathering


Why Lawyers Should Play Magic the Gathering

Here, in America, lawyers have gotten a bad reputation for being shady. Many jokes have cast them in a bad light as money hungry or overly ambitious and arrogant people. “Better Call Saul” is a great example of how many would view a typical lawyer. Saul Goodman is a greedy, underhanded and amoral character. But Saul uses various stratagems both in and out of court to further his goals. Some of these strategies are not strictly legal, but we can forgive him because he is a likable character.

Real life lawyers have to deal with real life cases that incorporate complex rules and legal definitions. Strategies and style can outweigh substance, take for example, the Kasey Anthony Case. In that case, they were able to divert attention away from the defendant’s history of lies by focusing on other factors like her father. We did not like the outcome but it was effective for the defense. I imagine that a team of defense lawyers has to come up with the positives and negatives of each case in order to best evaluate their starting position. They then have to do the same for the opposition and come up with an acceptable game plan. There is also an element of chance that can come into play. The jury is probably the biggest gamble of them all, as they can be a bit unpredictable. But during the case, the Judge can allow or disallow evidence which could drastically alter the disposition of the defense and they have to make changes to their plans. These types of tactics and random chance is why I think lawyers could benefit from playing a little card game called “Magic: The Gathering”.

Magic is a card game that was released in 1993 and became a hit in gaming circles and was the first really big collectible card game of the 90s. Others, like “Yu-Gi-Oh” followed, but Magic has weathered the fad bubble and is still a staple of gaming conventions. Tournaments are held to find the best players in their respective categories. In fact, there is a series of video games “Magic: The Gathering – Duels of the Planeswalkers”, that is doing very well on multiple platforms.

The game has become popular due to its balance of both strategy and chance. Players have to use the hands they are dealt to activate their powers or summon minions to battle with their opponents. They must decide on how offensive or defensive they should be on any given round. For example, to use most of the powers you must activate the correct type of “mana” that is available to cast spells or summon beasts to fight for you. There are also differing types of mages that you can play that favor offensive or defensive types of play.

Rules are simple but a bit more complicated then say, “Texas Hold’em”. Poker is a bit more one dimensional in comparison to Magic, because in poker, everyone plays with the same cards and are trying to achieve the same types of high ranking hands. In Magic, each player has his own deck that he builds before he begins play. This is somewhat like a pretrial strategy that lawyer might begin with to determine the strength of his offense and defense in the case. Rules are also a bit ad hoc as many of the individual cards determine play. Many of the cases a lawyer gets involved with have their own precedents and set of rules. In both cases, the lawyer and the player must decide on how best to build his case/deck to optimize his chances.

During play, cards are drawn at random so the player could end up with something useful or a card that is more like a burden. The player must continually account for this random chance and make adjustments accordingly with the knowledge of his particular deck. Lawyers must also make changes as the judge or a witness may alter the strategies the lawyer wishes to incorporate. Both the elements of gameplay and comprehension are practices during the game that make it a good exercise for lawyers to do.