'Desperate for Love III': Rethinking Closing Arguments at Stories

39 Pages Posted: 30 Mar 2011

Date Written: 1999


This article focuses primarily upon narrative story-structure and how students might better begin to rethink closing arguments as stories. Part I shows how one experienced trial attorney artfully configured his legal argument into a powerful and persuasive story, connecting defenses through character, image, theme, and narrative. It provides a structural analysis of portions of this closing argument that suggests components of one possible narrative “paradigm” that might be helpful to law students attempting to construct effective narrative arguments through storytelling in other cases. Part II describes the analytical infrastructure that undergirds one portion of the argument. It then presents a sequence of narrative steps that might be helpful to convert the inferential structure of the argument into narrative. Part II also illustrates this conversion with portions of the sample argument. The student can develop a persuasive narrative in other cases when this crucial and difficult relationship between an analytical (rule-element) structure and the narrative or storytelling process is better understood.

Keywords: narrative, persuasion, argument

Suggested Citation

Meyer, Philip N., 'Desperate for Love III': Rethinking Closing Arguments at Stories (1999). South Carolina Law Review, Vol. 50, 1999, Vermont Law School Research Paper No. 11-09, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1795243

Philip N. Meyer (Contact Author)

Vermont Law School ( email )

68 North Windsor Street
P.O. Box 60
South Royalton, VT 05068
United States

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