Saturday, August 29, 2009

the narrative of argument

Linda Edwards has written a very thoughtful article on Once Upon a Time in Law:  Myth, Metaphor, and Authority, which you can get to just by clicking on the title here.  Here's her abstract:

"We have long accepted the role of narrative in fact statements and jury arguments, but in the inner sanctum of analyzing legal authority? Surely not. Yet cases, statutes, rules, and doctrines all have stories of their own. When we talk about legal authority, using our best formal logic, we are actually swimming in a sea of narrative, oblivious to the water around us. As the old Buddhist saying goes, 'we don’t know who discovered the ocean, but it probably wasn’t a fish.'

"This article teases out several familiar archetypes hidden in discussions of cases and statutes. In the midst of seemingly routine law talk are stories of birth and death, battle and betrayal, tricksters and champions. These stories are simultaneously true and false, world-shaping yet always incomplete. Their unnoticed influence over the law’s development can be powerful. But we so seldom question familiar narratives, and these archetypes practically run in our veins. We should learn to recognize and interrogate these stories, attuned to their truths, alert to their limitations, and ready when necessary to seek other more accurate and complete stories for the law."  

hat tip:  Terri Pollmann


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» Telling the law’s story from the (new) legal writer
All advocates should know that good storytelling is powerfully persuasive. Certainly our clients have stories that we should search for and tell. But what we may not realize is that the law itself has its own stories. And when our... [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 5, 2009 10:41:29 AM


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