Robert A. Clifford, founder and senior partner of Clifford Law Offices, will team up again with Dan Webb of Winston & Strawn to participate in The Trial of Socrates, held on May 22, 2023, and sponsored by the National Hellenic Museum (NHM).
Ten years ago, Clifford and Webb defended Socrates on charges of corrupting young people with his ideas and disrespecting the Greek gods. In the real trial in 399 B.C., Socrates was put to death by hemlock, although in the mock People v. Socrates trial, while he was also found guilty, his life was spared. Sarah F. King, partner at Clifford Law Offices, will be joining the prosecutorial team.
Patrick Collins, partner at King & Spalding, Tinos Diamantatos of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, and Julie Porter of Salvatore Prescott Porter & Porter, PLLC, will be defending Socrates, the trial teams switching roles from 10 years ago.
Actor and The Second City alum John Kapelos (The Shape of Water, The Umbrella Academy, The Breakfast Club, Forever Knight) will portray Socrates.
The event will begin at 7 p.m. on May 22 at the Harris Theatre, 205 E. Randolph, Chicago. Early bird tickets are $80 until April 30, with single tickets increasing to $100 on May 1. Student tickets are $50. Attorneys can register to receive one hour of continuing legal education credit on-site. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the National Hellenic Museum’s website or call 312-655-1234.
“We are proud to present the eighth installment of our popular NHM Trial Series. Utilizing some of today’s premier legal minds in a contemporary courtroom setting, the Trial of Socrates will continue our exploration of how the ancient Greeks grappled with timeless controversies that continue to shape modern society,” said NHM Trustee Konstantinos Armiros, counsel at Saul Ewing LLP. “This is a rare opportunity for people to see some of the best attorneys in the nation argue a historic case with unscripted, authentic drama and legal acumen.”
NHM Director of Research and Content, Catherine Kelaidis, Ph.D., said, “The Trial of Socrates forces us to confront some of the most difficult questions about democracy and liberty, including what limits free societies can put in place to protect themselves while still maintaining their freedom. There are no easy or obvious answers to these questions, hence why we are still asking them 2,500 years after Socrates’ death.”
Socrates’ trial has fascinated and troubled generations who have struggled to comprehend the death of one of history’s greatest philosophers at the hands of a lawful jury. Convicted in Athens in 399 B.C. of impiety and corrupting the youth, Socrates’ pursuit of wisdom was seen as a threat to the survival of Athenian democracy. NHM’s The Trial of Socrates invites audiences to consider anew the fragility of democracy, the limits of freedom, and the imperfection of human justice. Guests at the Trial are invited to participate by exploring the arguments of each side and submitting their “guilty” or “not guilty” vote to literally tip the scale and make their verdict heard, in the style of the courts of ancient Athens.
The dynamic NHM Trial Series highlights the enduring relevance and value of Greek thought and history. It has grown both in reputation and following since its inception in 2013. In 2016, NHM’s The Trial of Antigone was broadcast on WTTW-TV (PBS, Chicago) and in May 2017 it was nominated for a Midwest regional Emmy. Subsequent NHM Trial Series events also aired on public television and received regional Emmy nominations. Since 2017, the annual event has been qualified by the Illinois Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission (IARDC) for continuing legal education (CLE) credit.