Monday, December 1, 2014

The Juror-Engaging Power of Story: Beyond the Individual

Research has demonstrated repeatedly the power of story-telling. Indeed, it's easy for most attorneys to tell the story of their injured client or the malfunction of a product. Stories of individuals, plaintiff or defense, are also fairly easy to summon. But when it comes to businesses, companies or corporations, lawyers too often forget the power of story, and give but the driest of facts.

Yet it is story that will engage the jurors, story that will enable them to relate to your corporate/business client, story that will give them points of identification to their own lives, to their experience.

I remember waiting in a corporate reception area for the attorney and client I was to work with that day. All around the walls were photographs, plaques, and other corporate memorabilia. When I asked the attorney and client for the story of the corporation, as opposed to the facts of its incorporation, they were at a loss. So I told them the story, as I had gleaned it from all that was portrayed in the reception area. Both were amazed that I could weave a story from so little. But it wasn't so little! Those photographs and plaques gave the heart of the corporation, its community involvement, the background on why it was founded in the first place.

There was more, of course, but my telling primed the pump.

Don't let your business or corporate clients be story-less entities. There is a story behind every venture, and that's how you engage juror sympathy. Look for the story, mine for it, it is well worth the effort.