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Storytelling Workshop Helps Future Lawyers Hone Critical Skills

Pittsburgh Post Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA) , July 4, 2005


Master storyteller and cartoonist Joe Wos engaged the future attorneys in a workshop at Point Park University. The summer associates -- along with a pastor, an actor and several grade-school teachers -- spent the day honing their skills at telling a story, working an audience and altering their approach based on the reaction from the audience -- in this case other members of the class.

David Herring, a law professor and outgoing dean at the University of Pittsburgh Law School, said the story format was highly effective in bringing a case to life for the jury.

Lawyers, he says, often benefit from training in the theater arts because style and presentation are necessary to make good, convincing arguments. Pitt's law school values the benefits of these skills so much that it even has theater students come and make presentations to law students, Herring said.

Learning how to get visual feedback by reading the audience also is crucial in the courtroom, said Vivian Curran, a Pitt law professor. "You can see when you're losing a judge's sympathy and you need to tailor what you're saying to that effect."

The benefits of good storytelling skills are not just good for lawyers. They extend to all professions.

Subjects Covered: business, education

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