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John DeRose needed a hooker. The attorney from Burr Ridge, Ill. had a trial in which a confidential informant — a streetwalker by trade — was being used against his client. And since the woman was not available to testify, he needed a stand-in to read her evidentiary deposition. So, DeRose called on Ian Harris, founder of Law Actors, a Chicago-based service that provides actors to law firms to read testimony of witnesses during trials. The actress Harris provided was so convincing the ladies on the jury couldn’t even look at her. Be it a hooker, a private detective, a doctor, a corporate executive or a sexual harassment victim, having the actors available is their specialty. Harris might be lacking a legal background, but Harris’s company has filled a niche area lawyers find useful in trial presentations. In the years since Harris started the company, his stable of performers has grown to 200. All work part-time as independent contractors for a fee of $100 an hour. Both Harris and DeRose said that judges and juries find the use of actors in a trial to be entertaining. And it spices up what could otherwise be a dull reading of a transcript.

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