Friday, September 25, 2009

Comment alert: "Bringing life to legal writing: how to use literary journalism in capital litigation"

The above comment by UMKC law student Kate Paulman appears in 77 UMKC L. Rev. 1147 (2009).  From the abstract:

Elements and Guidelines of Literary Journalism What will make Literary Journalism an easy style for capital litigators to employ is its basic set of elements and guidelines. ... Readers do expect writers to be true to something-true to memory, true to remembered speaking styles (if not exact words), true to what I'll call the encyclopedia of self, true, most of all, to great-grandma, and thus true to writer and reader alike. ... Roorbach was not suggesting that Literary Journalism must have some sort of James Joyce-styled epiphany at the final sentence, instead he was calling for authors to work to make their readers come to a greater understanding of an important principle without forcing that principle on their readers. ... Hill created this surprise - and change of heart for the jurors - by turning Jeremy into a character, creating scenes and becoming the narrator of his client's story. ... And just as in Literary Journalism and other forms of nonfiction, lawyers are not at liberty to invent facts to make their stories more interesting - they must live with the facts at hand, a disadvantage compared to traditional storytellers. ... Opening and Closing Arguments Just as capital litigators can employ Literary Journalism techniques during the penalty and brief writing phases, so too can they use the techniques during opening and closing statements of the criminal trial.

Well played, Ms. Paulman.

I am the scholarship dude.


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