October 01, 2016

Five Ways to Infuse Your Client's Story with Emotional Impact and Persuasive Power

Doug Passon

1. Tell a Story

The title of this piece makes the bold assumption that lawyers understand that their job, first and foremost, is to tell a winning story. In law school, they teach us that “issue, rule, application and conclusion” are the keys to success. They are not. That is why, for example, in a criminal case, “the government did not meet its burden to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt” is rarely a winner. Since the beginning of human kind, we have been using story to communicate universal truths of life. The ability to artfully connect the theory of our case to one or more of these universal truths through story is the surest path to victory. Therefore, it is incumbent on every lawyer to embark on a new education, a total immersion in the wonderful world of story. Read books. See movies. If you love the theatre, go to a play. Watch television. Study the craft! Learn from those story professionals who have moved you in ways you never thought possible. The good news is you now have an excuse to spend an afternoon at the movies and mark it down as professional development!

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