Attorney Brings Second Play to S.F. Stage

No matter how well trial lawyers perform, they never get called for encores. David Rouda does.

Following his triumph last season at the San Francisco Fringe Festival, Rouda returns to the stage Sept. 7 to direct his second original play, “Pomp & Circumstance.”

Billed as a “comedic legal drama,” the performance revolves around Max, a prominent trial attorney in the twilight of his career, and his son Zack, a junior associate at the firm who is struggling to step out of his father’s shadow and make a name for himself.

If the subject matter seems like it might be personal to Rouda, that’s because it is. While writing the play, the 39-year-old personal injury lawyer drew on his own experience as the nephew of Ronald Rouda, a name partner at the firm Rouda, Feder, Tietjen & Zanobini who was once voted California Trial Lawyer of the Year.

“What would it be like to be the son of a man who has that big a center of gravity?” Rouda wondered, describing how he crafted his two leading roles.

While continuing his solo practice, Rouda ventured into the entertainment business a few years ago, teaming up with an agent and submitting scripts for TV dramas, including “Law & Order.” Success came more quickly in Rouda’s stage debut when, a year ago at the Fringe, he captured the Critics’ Award for a three-person production called Sperm Warfare.

This time around, Rouda brings a 15-member cast, including Oakland solo Rick Baskin.

“You can tell it’s written by a lawyer, because the courtroom scenes are very realistic,” Baskin said.

Realistic, eh? How often do you hear of cases involving Orthodox Jewish men who practice abstinence, yet sue for loss of consortium following a very personal injury induced by too much Viagra? (Didn’t think so.)

Matthew Hirsch

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