Step 8.1 Set the context; describe the story's character

Set the context or 'order' by introducing the litigant (or the person from whose point of view you want to tell the story). Generally, the reader must like a character and agree with, or at least understand, the character's goal.240 The more the reader understands and likes a character, the more the reader will root for them.241 So the lawyer telling a story should aim for judges to 'like', or at least understand, the litigant.242

To make the litigant 'likeable', you must get enough information about them. Your fact collection in Step 1 will help. Brainstorm the ways you can present the litigant as 'likeable' by considering the following questions. You need not include all these facts in the Statement of Facts, but you should think about these facts when deciding the 'story' to present.243

In particular, answering these questions will help you classify the conflict and develop the theme you will use throughout your argument. Once you have investigated and developed the litigant's character, the conflict and theme (the next steps) will become clearer.

brainstorm BRAINSTORM

Is your client …

  • a valuable member of society?
  • someone with notable achievements or noble goals?
  • good at what they do?
  • someone who has overcome adversity or extreme odds?
  • someone who has been wronged?

Table 63: Make your client likeable

240 Ruth Anne Robbins and BJ Foley, 'Fiction 101: A Primer for Lawyers on How to Use Fiction Writing Techniques to Write Persuasive Facts Sections' (2001) 32(2) Rutgers Law Journal 459, 468.

241 Ruth Anne Robbins and BJ Foley, 'Fiction 101: A Primer for Lawyers on How to Use Fiction Writing Techniques to Write Persuasive Facts Sections' (2001) 32(2) Rutgers Law Journal 459, 468.

242 Ruth Anne Robbins and BJ Foley, 'Fiction 101: A Primer for Lawyers on How to Use Fiction Writing Techniques to Write Persuasive Facts Sections' (2001) 32(2) Rutgers Law Journal 459, 468.

243 These questions are taken from Ruth Anne Robbins and BJ Foley, 'Fiction 101: A Primer for Lawyers on How to Use Fiction Writing Techniques to Write Persuasive Facts Sections' (2001) 32(2) Rutgers Law Journal 459, 481, 483.

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