32 ABA Journal Storytelling articles.
Litigation unfolds upon a stage in the theater of the courtroom. And while combative, compulsive and closed litigation stories are constrained and shaped by evidentiary and legal rules and the meticulous presentation of factual evidence, lawyers are nevertheless the producers, directors and set designers of their own theatrical courtroom dramas.
Jun 1, 2020 12:50 AM CDT
Being a good judge can be lonely and emotionally excruciating. In the remarkable book Tough Cases, 13 trial judges candidly recount their most difficult cases.
Jun 1, 2019 1:20 AM CDT
For me, the most important law songs, the ones that are closest to my heart, are often not about lawyers at all but instead about themes of justice and injustice. The most remarkable of these songs are by our two greatest folk poets: Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan.
Apr 1, 2019 1:30 AM CDT
With winter’s chill now in full force, I recall sitting in a beach chair in late August on a spit of sand on the rocky Maine coast reading Walter Isaacson’s…
Jan 1, 2019 2:20 AM CST
Jerome Bruner, who died in 2016 at the age of 100, was one of most influential psychologists and interdisciplinary thinkers of the 20th century. Late in his career, Bruner became fascinated with the law. Trial lawyers employ the power of storytelling to, in Bruner’s words, go beyond the information given.
Nov 1, 2018 1:35 AM CDT
Bruce Springsteen pares his 500-page autobiography and more than 50 years of songs into three acts with a clear narrative arc.
Sep 1, 2018 2:10 AM CDT
An appellate prosecutor and a president show how precise timing and use of prolonged silences can enhance presentations and give arguments greater impact.
Jul 1, 2018 1:25 AM CDT
Civil rights attorney, writer and law professor Bryan Stevenson, author of the best-selling Just Mercy, employs well-told stories to reveal the plight of people trapped in the criminal justice system.
May 1, 2018 1:30 AM CDT
Stories—in books and in life—are the ax that cracks open the frozen sea inside us.
Feb 1, 2018 2:10 AM CST
Justice requires great artistry. The narrative arc of our constitutional law saga is full of surprise, mystery and plot reversals.
Dec 1, 2017 1:15 AM CST
Interrogatories ferret out the facts of an opponent’s case before giving notice about taking a deposition.
Nov 1, 2017 1:15 AM CDT
The storylines that capture the popular imagination these days, at least in politics and commercial movies, assuage our losses and momentarily fill our neediness with, at least, the promise of victorious outcomes.
Aug 1, 2017 1:15 AM CDT
I tell students in my first-year classes the practice of law anticipates the interaction between law and facts; legal doctrine matters only as applied to “the facts.” If we exist exclusively in a hall of mirrors where there are no actual facts but only alternative facts, then there may be judgment but not justice.
Many students find my perspective naive. One of my students put it this way: “As a general rule, the justice system seems to favor the ‘knowable’ version of the truth. Lawyers tend to believe the opposite.”
Jun 1, 2017 2:30 AM CDT
Bob Dylan is, by far, the most-cited songwriter or popular artist in American judicial opinions. And these citations are not merely add-ons or throwaways.
Apr 1, 2017 2:50 AM CDT
Trial lawyers, like literary artists, know how to pose the right questions. They construct the staging, especially in courtroom scenes, that directs their audience—jurors and judges, and sometimes the public—toward intended readings of dramatic subtext.
Jan 1, 2017 2:20 AM CST