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Nothing is better than a good story. You don't need to be a trial lawyer to know this, but you wouldn't be a very good trial lawyer if you didn't. There is a reason trial lawyers are favored dinner party guests: if the food is a flop, the energy level low, and the people in attendance do not have much in common, there will at least be a good story for entertainment. Good trial lawyers have the gift of gab and a bounty of endless material.

Criminal trial lawyers have it even better. They don't just recount tales involving conflict and cash; their stories are about life and death and liberty. They are the stories of television shows and movies.

Also, there is the ethic of lawyer-client trust and confidentiality. How can a criminal defender and compulsive storyteller live comfortably with an ethic that is destined, if not designed, to infringe on storytelling? There is a growing concern, in clinical legal education and elsewhere, about telling client stories, mostly because of the potential exploitation of clients and, secondarily, because it encroaches on client confidentiality. But, what makes these client stories, and not lawyer stories? So long as the lawyer is mindful of client privacy--by changing client names, dates, and places and altering other identifying details--the author believes one can be an accomplished lawyer storyteller and still protect client confidences and secrets.

Publication Citation

8 UDC/DCSL L. Rev. 255-268 (2005)