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From the roving lights to the thundering music to the lifelines — and even a Regis wannabe — Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education plans a unique program in July based on the “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire” television show. In a departure for the normally serious educational group, the July 11 “Who Wants To Be a Trial Lawyer” seminar promises to be fun, entertaining, oh and educational, say organizers. “This is different from what we normally do. There’s no question we’re billing this as entertainment and education,” said Jonathan C. Small, associate director for programs at Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education (MCLE). With the show’s popularity so embedded in today’s culture, it’s a natural vehicle for educating lawyers, who by their nature are competitive, organizers say. Boston trial lawyer Richard M. Zielinski, who will don a monochromatic outfit and serve as host “Regis Philbin,” said you can’t go anywhere today without some reference to the show, even in legal circles. Recently at a deposition, Zielinski heard an attorney ask a witness “is that your final answer,” a reference to the line that real host Regis Philbin has put into the lexicon. “Lawyers will be engaged, entertained and have a good time,” Zielinski said. “As a result, they’ll retain more. It won’t be just another ‘talking head’ seminar.” The program, which costs $95 to attend, will be held at MCLE’s headquarters in Boston from 5 to 7 p.m. A cocktail reception will begin at 4 p.m. Up to 10 contestants will be selected at random from the audience. Each will have an opportunity to answer about eight multiple-choice questions dealing specifically with trial procedure issues. The questions will get harder as the contestant correctly answers them. In a brochure about the seminar, one sample question reads: In Superior Court, jurors are drawn from which of the following sources? a. Voter registration lists b. Registry of Motor Vehicles c. Census lists compiled by cities/towns d. None of the above Another sample question reads: The literal translation of motion “in limine” is? a. Motion “to limit” b. Motion “on the threshold” c. Motion “to illuminate” d. None of the above Zielinski, with the help of a summer associate at his Boston firm of Hill & Barlow and an MCLE intern, has compiled the nearly 100 multiple-choice questions, all having to do with the trial of cases. Various prizes will be awarded to contestants, depending on how well they do. MCLE says it is sparing no expense to provide an atmosphere very much like the show. Besides the lighting and music, audience members will be equipped with electronic responders so they can serve as a “lifeline” for contestants who need help with the answers. The program’s panel of lawyers and judges will also act as a lifeline, comparable to the real show’s “phone a friend” option to get help in answering questions. Panelists include Boston lawyers Leo V. Boyle and Joan A. Lukey, and U.S. District Court Judge Robert B. Collings and Superior Court Judge Paul A. Chernoff. In between contestants, panel members will offer mini-lectures on different aspects of trial work, including jury selection, opening statements, direct and cross-examination, evidence and closing argument. Attendees may not walk away a millionaire, but they may become more effective trial lawyers.

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