The Big Lebowski is a cultural phenomenon that has prompted academic research into the nature of cult cinema, provided fodder for a host of law review quotes, and motivated a tradition of fan festivals and midnight screenings. However, most viewers do not realize that The Big Lebowski also serves as an engaging training tool for military and national security attorneys.

Disguised as an impish play on film noir and hard-boiled detective fiction, The Big Lebowski’s unpretentious treatment of delicate topics contains poignant lessons for military and national security attorneys that include: (1) the risks facing national security attorneys when they lose focus on their professional and moral responsibilities, (2) the unexpected ways military attorneys should expect to encounter mental health concerns and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), (3) the importance of values and how they impact the success of a national security legal office, and (4) the role of the attorney in military operations. Military and national security attorneys who adopt the lessons of The Big Lebowski will be better lawyers and leaders.