Drafting the Vivid Story with Roy Peter Clark

This piece by writing guru Roy Peter Clark provides a very useful analysis of a fine NPR report. For lawyers, life isn’t as simple as “the best story wins”, but it surely helps if you can tell the more compelling story. In trial, the format makes our challenge more akin to drama, with the question and answer mode of witness examination. But we do have opportunities for direct narration, such as in a demand letter, in an opening argument, or in closing. As in the story of the Oklahoma tornado related below, plaintiff’s trial lawyers often have to tell the story of a client who’s suffered a disaster. To the extent that we can relate a client’s story compellingly, we can influence insurance adjusters, judges, and jurors with the result that will greatly increase the potential for recovery. Thus, honing our skills in these areas should bring tangible rewards. Clark provides a fine model how to tell a vivid, compelling story.


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