lawyer as storyteller
Jerome Bruner, Making Stories: Law, Literature, Life 3-13 (Harvard University Press, 2002)
Sam Schrager, The Trial Lawyer's Art 1-16 (Temple University Press, 1999)
"Introductory notes on narrative jurisprudence" [distributed on the first day of class]
Portfolio Writing: Tell a story of how you found your way to this course.
Portfolio Writing2: Tell a story of how you found your way to law school.
[For commentary on the recommended Portfolo Writings, see: Portfolio Writings]
Bruner, pp. 13-62
Gerry Spence, Win Your Case 85-96 (New York: St. Martin's Press, 2005)
Portfolio Writing3: What do you find in Jerome Bruner's Making Stories about stories and how you might use them as a lawyer that you think worth exploring?
Portfolio Writing4: One way you might want to write about "the lawyer as storyteller" is by reflecting on how legal education engages, or fails to engage, your story sensibilities and imagination.
As background for this portfolio writing, you might want to read:
Jerome Bruner, Making Stories: Law, Literature, Life 63-107 (Harvard University Press, 2002)(on the "narrative creation of self" and a return to the question, "so why narrative?") Bruner' introduces what will follow in the question that he poses early in the book: "[W]hat shall we make of the endless forms of narrative through which we construct (and maintain a self)?" .
Web Resources: I encourage you to begin using the Narrative and Story Resources page of the course website
Portfolio Writing5: With so much attention to stories and narratives in the academic disciplines and in the professions, one would expect opposition. In this writing you might try to use what you've learned from Jerome Bruner and from what you already know about stories to respond to the critics.
For Class Discussion (February 15): We'll work with the packet of readings you were given on "narrative medicine." Consider this question: What does the turn to narrative in medicine tell us, by way of translation, about the legal profession, the practice of law, and the use of narratives in our work and our lives as lawyers? Can you rewrite Rita Charon's descriptions of "narrative medicine" as a prolegomenon for "legal storytelling"?
In my extractions from the assigned readings for the Narrative Medicine webpage, I have drawn upon several Rita Charon articles that were not assigned reading. Charon repeats and expands on some of her central ideas in these articles. You may find them helpful as I do.
For this assignment, assume that you are an archaeologist digging at the the ruins of a large site known to have been frequented by lawyers. There have been many archaeological excavations of other lawyer sites, and now, mounting evidence suggests that lawyers, a good many of them at least, were fond of stories and made use of stories their work. What you want to do now is see if you can, by way of the shards and remains you find on various websites, reconstruct what it was that lawyers were doing in their "turn to stories."
If lawyers are going to use stories, and suggest to their fellow lawyers that they are more effective when they use them, then we can expect lawyers to want to learn more about stories and how to put them to use. Legal educators are going to take up this endeavor, along with trial consultants. Let's take a look at a few of the trial consultants, and see what they tell us about lawyer storytelling:
We'll discuss Gerry Spence's Win Your Case. Please read pp. 3-101 in the Spence book.
Gerry Spence, Win Your Case: Read pp. 112-126 (voir dire)
Spence & Voir Dire Resources
Gerry Spence, Win Your Case: Read pp. 127-148 (opening statement)
Statement in the Case of Jessie Misskelley
Opening Statement in the Jessie Misskelley case
Assignment 9 & 10: Closing Arguments
Gerry Spence, Win Your Case: Read pp. 223-280 (closing arguments)
Closing Statement in the Jessie Misskelley Case :: pt.2
Statement in the Jessie Misskelley Case
State's Final Closing
As we focus our attention on the story-based trial advocacy of Gerry Spence, you may find it helpful to compare Spence's perspective with that of other story-oriented trial lawyers and legal scholars. Of particular interest is the work of Philip Meyer, especially Meyer's article on closing arguments: Desperate for Love: Analysis of a Defendant's Closing Argument to a Jury, 18 Vt. L. Rev. 721 (1994).
[Meyer continued to explore his original thesis in Desperate for Love II: Further Reflections on the Interpretation of Legal and Popular Storytelling in Closing Arguments to a Jury in a Complex Criminal Case, 30 U.S.F. L. Rev. 931 (1996) and Desperate for Love III: Rethinking Closing Arguments as Stories, 50 S.C. L. Rev. 715 (1999)][See also: Philip N. Meyer, Making the Narrative Move: Observations Based Upon Reading Gerry Spence's Closing Argument in The Estate of Karen Silkwood v. Kerr McGee, Inc., 9 Clinical Law Rev. 229 (2002). You will also find of interest two additional articles by Meyer: Why a Jury Trial Is More Like a Movie Than a Novel, 28 J.L. Soc'y 133 (2001); Will You Please Be Quiet, Please: Lawyers Learning to Listen to Stories, 18 Vt. L. Rev. 567 (1994)]