Trial lawyers have a great resource in the blog, wyzgaonwords, from Diane Wyzga. Diane is a friend and an outstanding storyteller and litigation consultant. She is passionately committed to the study of storytelling and the application of this knowledge to help lawyers understand best how to tell a story. Diane has been an enormous help to us in conducting focus groups and crafting stories to best communicate our case to juries.
Using Diane’s work with us in focus groups, we have been able to reject certain stories that seemed plausible before we did the focus groups, and craft stories that addressed the points that really mattered to the focus groups. This has been invaluable to us.
The concept of storytelling is not new, of course. I had a philosophy professor, a man I deeply admired, who was fond of saying that there’s been no really new intellectual discoveries since the Greeks. He was (mostly) joking, but we can read a fairly sophisticated analysis of storytelling in the ancient Greeks, perhaps most clearly in Aristotle’s Poetics.
But it seems that law school, with its heavy (and probably necessary) emphasis on facts and well-defined issues, can sometimes dampen our enthusiasm or willingness to communicate through story rather than a "stack of facts." The art of storytelling is sometimes lost on us lawyers, and it’s exciting that we are experiencing a renewal of interest in the art of storytelling.
For me, the study of storytelling is an ongoing, exciting and sometimes difficult process, as I try to create a story with the right perspective, the right sequence, the right point of view, the right beginning and the right ending, never knowing for sure if it is exactly right. Diane is a leader in the resurgence of storytelling as an important form of communication, particularly for lawyers. Please take moment to check out her blog.