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Storytelling for Law Students and Life

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By William Vogeler, Esq. on February 25, 2019 10:42 AM

Did you hear about the criminal defendant who punched out his lawyer in court?

The video got more views than most viral cat videos. Seriously, it was worth at least an honorable mention in the annals of courtroom stories.

A good story is priceless, and not just as a trial lawyer's tool. Storytelling is about life.

Storytelling Awards

In a first-ever national competition for law students, Brigham Young University law school is holding a storytelling competition in March. Ten finalists will receive an all-expense paid trip to the Utah.

It's not the Hollywood red carpet, but it includes a half-day seminar on storytelling and a trip to one of the state's iconic parks. The initiative is part of new program to help students embrace storytelling.

Every trial lawyer knows that storytelling is important in the courtroom. But the BYU program is more about life.

"We want to get the students to connect emotionally to the law," said Dean Gordon Smith. "We think if they do, it will inspire them to work harder to be good lawyers."

Storytelling Rules

Not everybody will get an award for storytelling this year. After all, the Oscars are over and the BYU competition is only open to law students.

But stories about the law and life happen every day. According to a 13-time time Oscar winner, great stories:

  • Communicate universally to others
  • Have clear structure and purpose
  • Feature a character to root for
  • Appeal to deep emotions
  • Are surprising an unexpected

Like when a client punches out his lawyer at the end of a case. It's not exactly a happy ending, but makes for a good story.

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