Question of the week

What storytelling lessons have you learned during your legal career?

  • Print

Bruce Springsteen./Jack Fordyce (

In the September 2018 issue of the ABA Journal, Philip N. Meyer writes about how the show Springsteen on Broadway gives lawyers three storytelling ideas.

A 50-time Grammy Award nominee—and 20-time winner—the rock icon clearly left an impression on Meyer.

“I was struck by Springsteen’s physicality and by his strength and self-possession. He had performed the same show for many months by then. Night after night he had said these same words over and over, had sung the identical songs,” Meyer wrote. “Yet Springsteen was immersed in the moment. As he put it, ‘People come to see you be completely present. Anytime you’re trying to do that, it takes a lot of energy.’”

Being completely present was one of the takeaways Meyer noted. Another was the need to making the complex simple. A final one was to recognize that stories are reinventions and narrative truth turns on lifelikeness.

“The Boss,” who turns 69 later this month, also offered some sage advice for lawyers as well as wanna-be rock stars: “You will need to depend upon more than your instincts. You will need to develop some craft and creative intelligence that will lead you farther when things get dicey.”

This week, we’d like to ask you: What storytelling lessons have you learned during your legal career? Did someone from music or the arts influence you and how did that happen? What storytelling lessons would you pass on to someone new to the industry?

Answer in the questions.

Read the answers to last week’s question: How do you deal with people who interrupt conversations?

Featured answer:

Posted by Working Lawyer: “I interrupt them right away and say, ‘you go.’ The trick is to keep the expression and tone genial. They seem to get the message. 90% stop right away and say, ‘Oh. No. You finish.’ The second time they interrupt, I say, ‘You go. I’ll wait.’ That stops 100% of people. Most don’t recidivate. A couple do, but they are real deviants.”

Do you have an idea for a future question of the week? If so, contact us.

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.