Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Storytelling is for Business Lawyers, Too

A number of years ago, I attended the Biennial Conference on Applied Legal Storytelling.  It was a super event.  I came out of the conference with amazing ideas for teaching and scholarship.  I am thinking of taking my spring research project (on friends and family insider trading) to the conference in 2019.  Will you come join me?

Typically, the conference principally attracts legal writing instructors and clinicians. But more of us should be jumping on this bandwagon.   Storytelling and narrative more generally—which are (of course) a part of all advocacy and dispute resolution—also are used in transaction-building and negotiation.  Accordingly, I am hoping that some of you will consider attending the conference with me this coming summer.  Here are the details from the call for proposals.

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Call for Proposals

Seventh Biennial Conference on Applied Legal Storytelling

Boulder, Colorado, July 9–11 2019

Hosted by the University of Colorado School of Law,
University of Denver Sturm College of Law, and University of Wyoming School of Law, and coordinated by the Rocky Mountain Legal Writing Scholarship Group

This is the call for proposals for the seventh biennial conference on Applied Legal Storytelling. We are offering two deadlines for submitting proposals: January 21, 2019 (priority deadline) and March 11, 2019 (extended deadline).

About the Conference

The Applied Legal Storytelling Conference brings together academics, judges, andpractitioners. The conference has previously convened in 2007 (London), 2009 (Portland),2011 (Denver), 2013 (London), Seattle (2015), and Washington D.C. (2017). We are veryexcited to bring it back to the Mountain West (Boulder) in July 2019.

Applied Legal Storytelling (AppLS) examines the use of stories—and of storytelling or narrative elements—in law practice, legal education, and the law.

This definition is intentionally broad in order to allow people creativity in the way theythink and present on the topic. Such topics may include: the ways in which fiction-writing techniques or narrative theory can inform legal storytelling; stories in the law, or law as stories; legal storytelling and metaphor; client story advocacy; legal storytelling and cognitive science; and ethical considerations in legal storytelling.

In an effort to continue the storytelling conversation for this seventh conference, and to welcome new attendees, we are providing resources for those interested in submitting a proposal and who wish to generate ideas or respond to others’. The first is a list of topicsfrom past conferences, available athttps://www.lwionline.org/sites/default/files/TopicsfrompastAppLSconferences.pdf. The second is a link to a bibliography on AppLS, including articles that have emerged from previous storytelling conferences, available at http://www.alwd.org/wp-contentuploads20151108-rideout_article2015-pdf/. We are also happy to answer questions and offer you suggestions—if you are a newcomer and interested in becoming involved, please reach out.

Presentation Formats

The conference will include 60-minute and 30-minute time slots. For the 60-minute time slots, we welcome interactive, panel or roundtable presentation proposals, as well asother format types. For the 30-minute time slots, we envision presenters adopting something like the 14–18 minute TED-style format of rehearsed presentations that center on one idea conveyed through narrative, with reserved time for audience questions. On the proposal form, please indicate either a preference for a particular format or your willingness that we accept your proposal in any of the formats and time constraints.

Submitting a Proposal

Complete the Proposal Form found here: https://goo.gl/forms/PzommIqzYDoF3wJV2).


To allow greater flexibility for those interested in submitting a proposal, the Program Committee has established two submission deadlines:

  • The Priority Deadline for submissions is January 21, 2019. The Program Committee willreview all proposals received by this date by the third week of February.

  • The Committee will also consider proposals submitted by the Extended Deadline, March 11, 2019, and will review these proposals by the first week of April.

Proposal format

Please use the format provided at the end of this proposal. We ask for a short summary of fewer than 60 words for use in the conference app, as well as a narrative description of your proposal for selection purposes (500 words, maximum).

Selection process

The Program Committee will review the proposals and respond according to the submission date. Those who submitted proposals by the Priority Deadline (Jan. 21) will be notified by the end of February if their proposal has been accepted. Those who submittedtheir proposal by the Extended Deadline (Mar. 11), will be notified by mid-April.

Conference Structure and Registration

The conference will take place from July 9 to July 11, 2019, at the University of Colorado School of Law in Boulder, Colorado. Like previous AppLS conferences, this conference will be collegial, inclusive, and supportive of your work.

The 2019 conference will begin with registration and a reception early in the evening of July 9 at the law school. The next two days, July 10 and 11 will be devoted to a plenarysession and presentations given in concurrent sessions. The conference will close with a dinner at the end of the day on July 11. The dinner is part of the conference itself— designed to be a signature event that facilitates ongoing conversations.

We will send out registration and hotel information early in 2019. The host school contact for the conference is Amy Griffin (Co-Chair), [email protected]. Updates will appear on the conference website, here: https://www.lwionline.org/conferences/seventh-applied-legal-storytelling-conference.


If you have questions, please feel free to contact any member of the conference planning committee:

Nantiya Ruan [email protected] (Conference Co-Chair & Chair of Planning Committee) Deb Cantrell [email protected]
Ken Chestek [email protected]
Derek Kiernan-Johnson [email protected]
Robert McPeake [email protected]
Jason Palmer [email protected]
Ruth Anne Robbins [email protected]
Beth Schwartz [email protected]

Hosts & Sponsors

This conference is sponsored by the Legal Writing Institute (LWI) and The Clinical Legal Education Association (CLEA); hosted by the University of Colorado School of Law, University of Denver Sturm College of Law, and University of Wyoming School of Law; and coordinated by the Rocky Mountain Legal Writing Scholarship Group (RMLWSG).


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