As an aspiring law firm student, you may have heard of the importance of storytelling in trial law. Kent Krabill, a successful trial lawyer at Lynn Pinker Hurst & Schwegmann, has built a solid reputation through his exceptional oratory skills and ability to craft compelling narratives. This article will delve into the significance of storytelling in trial law and how you can learn from Kent Krabill’s experiences to succeed as a lawyer.
Storytelling in Trial Law
Since the dawn of time, stories have played an essential role in connecting people to their culture and helping them understand their place in the world. In trial law, storytelling is grounded in facts rather than fiction. A case narrative’s primary function remains: to form a connection, create context, and convince the jury to accept one attorney’s version of the facts over another.
The Dallas Litigation Attorney explains that trial law is all about telling stories. Both sides use the available evidence to present their narratives, hoping to sway the jury in their favor. This connection with the jurors is crucial because they often make decisions based on impressions and feelings about their life experiences.
Building Compelling Case Narratives
To create an effective case narrative, you must select jurors whose personal narratives align with your case. Kent Krabill, who has a background in psychology and teaching as well as law, knows that the more a juror (or judge) can relate your case narrative to their experiences, the more likely they are to decide in your favor.
Constructing a story arc with a beginning, middle, and end is vital for engaging the jurors’ logical minds and emotions. According to attorney Phillip Miller, storytelling helps jurors focus and remember critical case facts and issues. It also provides them with a framework for evaluating which facts are relevant or irrelevant and understanding the motives of a party or key witness. Without a clear narrative, the case may be challenging for jurors to comprehend or remember.
When crafting your story, it’s essential to create dramatic tension and move the case forward by presenting relevant evidence and motives. The most effective legal storytellers excel at generating a sense of building toward an inevitable climax in incremental, increasingly stirring steps.
Closing arguments should serve as a summary of your case narrative, not the crux of your argument. A lawyer who waits until closing to make their case is like a comedian who tells the audience the punchline without setting up the joke, resulting in a flat and ineffective presentation.
Becoming a Great Trial Lawyer
To become a great trial lawyer, you must gain experience in trying cases. As the Dallas litigation attorney explains, every case at Lynn Pinker Hurst & Schwegmann is prepared for trial from day one, whether it makes it to a court or not. This approach ensures that each case is ready for trial, increasing the likelihood of success.
Unfortunately, many big-firm lawyers lack trial experience. They may be proficient in discovery and motion practice but have not had the opportunity to try cases. This lack of experience can hinder their effectiveness in the courtroom.
Learning from successful individuals like Dallas lawyer Kent Krabill and Clarence Darrow, the 20th century’s most legendary trial lawyer, can help you develop the skills necessary to succeed in the legal profession. Darrow once said, “The only real lawyers are trial lawyers, and trial lawyers try cases to juries.”
As a law firm student, understanding the importance of storytelling in the legal profession is critical to your success. By learning from Kent Krabill’s experiences and developing the skills necessary to create compelling narratives that connect with jurors, you can pave your way to a successful career in trial law. Read more about Kent Krabill here.