Storytelling—what it is, why it matters, how to do it—is not a metaphor for legal advocacy. It is legal advocacy itself, and it is not limited to jury trials or court appearances: It relates to every aspect of a lawyer’s work. The practice of law is the business of persuasion, and storytelling is the most effective means of persuading. But just recognizing the centrality of storytelling to the legal profession is not enough. Lawyers should also study the basic structure and elements that apply to stories, how they work and why, as well as the principles that have guided great storytellers for thousands of years. This presentation shows how to convey legal information in a cogent, persuasive way to the client who needs the help, to opposing counsel, and to the decision-maker who has the final say.
Jonathan Shapiro has spent the last 15 years writing and producing some of television’s most iconic shows, including The Blacklist, The Practice, Life and Boston Legal. An Emmy, Peabody, and Humanitas Awards winner, he and David E. Kelley are the creators and executive producers of Goliath, a legal thriller set to air on Amazon in 2016. In addition to his work in television, he is also the author of two recent books: the memoir “Liars, Lawyers, and the Art of Storytelling” (ABA Publishing) and the novel “Deadly Force” (Ankerwycke Press). For the last two years, he was Of Counsel for litigation at the Kirkland & Ellis law firm. Prior to writing for television, Jonathan spent a decade as a federal prosecutor and as an adjunct law professor at Loyola Law School and the University of Southern California’s Gould School of Law. He is a member and the former chairman of the California Commission on Government Economy and Efficiency, as well as the founder and director of the Public Counsel Emergency for Torture Victims. He is a graduate of Harvard University, a Rhodes Scholar at Oriel College, Oxford University, and received his law degree from the University of California, Berkeley.