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A Whole New Mind: Story

Story is the fundamental instrument of thought. For thousands of years, humans have been using stories to transmit important ideas and concepts. The past fifty years have emphasized information. Those who had access to the most information succeeded. However, the internet has made information democratic. Information is no longer limited to the elite. Because information can be accessed by anyone, the ability to present information in a persuasive or engaging manner is what will set individuals apart from others.

How story applies to law

Legal research can be outsourced. In fact, many firms are doing so. Because of West and Lexis Nexis, legal research can be done by someone in India at anytime. You won’t be able to get by in a law career with just research. The best lawyers are excellent story tellers. Think about it. Writing a trial brief is essentially telling a story, as well as arguing before a jury. The way you present your client’s case will determine how persuasive it is. Yes, facts are necessary, but they are not sufficient. If you can’t tell a good story, it’s going to be hard to convince a judge or a jury that your side should win.

What can you do

1. Write a mini saga. A mini saga is a 50 word story with a beginning, middle, and an end.
2. Experiment with digital storytelling. Use Powerpoint, but go beyond the bullet points. One of my favorite digital story telling programs is Microsoft Photostory. You can also check out Fray and City Stories to get some ideas for digital stories.
3. Start a story telling group. Our society has lost the art of storytelling during the last century. Get some friends together and bring it back. Each week gather together and assign someone to be the master storyteller.
4. Books to read.
Story: Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principles of Screenwriting, by Robert McKee
Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art, by Robert McCloud.
The Hero with a Thousand Faces, by Joseph Campbell.