August 20, 2017 Articles

The Art of Storytelling: How to Use War Stories to Teach Enduring Trial Lessons

By Carmen D. Caruso

Trying cases is the art of storytelling. When we stand in front of juries, judges, or arbitrators, we tell our client's story in the best light and in the most interesting light to hold the decision-makers' attention, and hopefully lead them to the conclusion we desire even before we say the conclusion out loud.

Learning the craft of trial practice depends on storytelling.

I like to tell a war story I call "A Tree Grows in Paris." It comes from a 60-day trial way back in the early 1980s in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois. Shortly after this trial concluded, I passed the bar and worked for the law firm that won the trial. Soon enough this story was burned into my memory. In telling this story, my future partners were teaching us neophytes some invaluable lessons.

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