Seminar to show storytelling skills to win over judges, juries

January 29, 2013

In a new seminar, “Developing the Trial Story: Lessons from Thinking Fast and Slow and the Art of Filmmaking,” Penn State University Dickinson School of Law professor Gary Gildin and Penn State Public Broadcasting creative director Joe Myers will share a novel approach to winning at trial. The goal of the program is to help civil and criminal litigators, jurists and other practitioners become more effective advocates and negotiators by finding the most persuasive story of the case and telling it in the most compelling manner possible. The day-long CLE (Continuing Legal Education) program is set for March 15, in the Law School’s Apfelbaum Family Auditorium and Courtroom in Lewis Katz Hall, Carlisle, Pa. It will be simulcast to Room 232 in the Lewis Katz Building at University Park.

“Recent developments in neuroscience and cognitive psychology have dramatically changed my thinking in teaching trial advocacy,” Gildin said. He has been leading the law school’s award-winning trial advocacy program for 30 years and said he wished he had access to this data in prior years. “It struck me that the very skills a lawyer needs to develop the most compelling trial story are similar to those of a documentary filmmaker,” he added. Gildin has teamed up with Myers who has created a number of documentaries including “Telling Amy’s Story,” which is about a domestic violence homicide.

Program participants will learn a protocol developed by Gildin and Myers for choosing the trial story. This includes the elements of a documentary such as character, motive and plot as well as how to put these elements together to trigger the emotional reaction responsible for driving the judge and jury’s decision. Participants will also apply the protocol to develop the trial story for a case that will be used during the program.

Additional information and registration is available online. Pending approval by the Pennsylvania Continuing Legal Education Board, this program will offer six hours of substantive law, practice, and procedure CLE credit, and zero hours of ethics, professionalism and substance abuse CLE credit.

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Last Updated July 22, 2015