Law Professors

Former child actor says being a law professor is like improv theater


Case Western Reserve law professor Charles Korsmo came up with a plan to get out of school when he was a child. It involved trying out to appear on a TV show.

He got the part. Korsmo was known then as Charlie Korsmo. The child actor played the son of Richard Dreyfus in What About Bob, the son of Robin Williams in Hook, The Kid in Warren Beatty’s Dick Tracy and Chris O’Donnell’s brother in Men Don’t Leave, according to an article on the Case Western law school website and Time, which named him one of the “top 10 wicked smart actors” in a 2012 story.

Korsmo gave up acting for “a normal teenage life” and went on to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he got a degree in physics, he told the Case Western law school newspaper the Docket. After working at the Environmental Protection Agency and with a House of Representatives committee, he decided that a law degree would help him in policy work. He has an interest in corporate law, stemming from his practice experience at Sullivan & Cromwell.

The Docket asked Korsmo whether acting has influenced his career. “I’m sure it has,” Korsmo replied. “It is really helpful to have a bit of a performance background as a lawyer, at least in theory. It helps because you don’t get stage fright, and it’s much easier to be persuasive in a real manner. And, as a professor, it’s kind of like giving a live theatrical performance four times a week. I get to write my own script, but you never know what people are going to ask. So really, it’s more like improv theater.”

Hat tip to the Cleveland Scene.

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