Nothing but the Truth: Why Trial Lawyers Don't, Can't, and Shouldn't Have to Tell the Whole Truth

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Overview

"Nothing but the Truth presents a novel and engaging analysis of the role of story-telling in trial advocacy. The best lawyers are storytellers, Lubet explains, who take the raw and disjointed observations of witnesses and transform them into coherent and persuasive narratives." "Lubet demonstrates that the craft of lawyer storytelling is a legitimate technique for determining the truth and - not at all coincidentally - for providing the best defense for the attorney's client. Storytelling can accomplish three important purposes at trial. It can help to establish a "theory of the case," which is a plausible and reasonable explanation of the underlying events, presented in the light most favorable to the attorney's client. Storytelling can also develop the "trial theme," which is the lawyer's way of adding moral force to the desired outcome. Most importantly, storytelling can provide a coherent "story frame," which organizes all of the events, transactions, and other surrounding facts of the case into an easily understandable narrative context." "To illustrate the various challenges, benefits, and complexities of storytelling, Lubet elaborates the stories of six different trials. Some of the cases are real, including John Brown and Wyatt Earp, while some are fictional, including Atticus Finch and Liberty Valance. In each chapter, the emphasis is on the narrative itself, emphasizing the trial's rich context of facts and personalities. The overall conclusion, as Lubet puts it, is that "purposive storytelling provides a necessary dimension to our adversary system of justice.""--BOOK JACKET.
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Editorial Reviews

Choice
Lubet's ability to downplay advocacy techniques while emphasizing the rich context of facts, story, and personalities is superb.
Marianne Wesson
This excellent set of essays, both scholarly and imaginative, offers a rare bridge between the parallel universes of legal scholarship and courtroom practice. There is no better guide to the enterprise of storytelling in the law than Steve Lubet.
Choice
Lubet's ability to downplay advocacy techniques while emphasizing the rich context of facts, story, and personalities is superb.
ABA Journal
A delightful and insightful book [that] entertains as it instructs.
Booknews
The best lawyers are storytellers, says Lubet (law, Northwestern U.), who take the raw and disjointed observations of witnesses and transform them into coherent and persuasive narratives. Countering critics who see such practices as attempts to confuse witnesses and hoodwink juries, he argues that storytelling is a legitimate technique both for determining the truth and providing defense for the client. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From the Publisher

"Steven Lubet—lawyer, teacher, and raconteur—has written a great book. He makes us think about how we can use trials to advance justice—the most important of human pursuits."

-Michael E. Tigar,Professor of Law and Edwin A. Mooers, Sr. Scholar in Law, American University, Washington College of Law

"Lubet has managed to spin an engaging tale that includes a Pope, gunslingers, and lawyers. Most of the time, the lawyers are actually the good guys. This book will serve those who already practice the law, plan to do so, watch Court TV, or like a story well told."

-Christopher Harper,Roy H. Park Distinguished Chair, School of Communications, Ithaca College

"Lubet's ability to downplay advocacy techniques while emphasizing the rich context of facts, story, and personalities is superb."

-Choice,

"A delightful and insightful book [that] entertains as it instructs."

-ABA Journal,

"This excellent set of essays, both scholarly and imaginative, offers a rare bridge between the parallel universes of legal scholarship and courtroom practice. There is no better guide to the enterprise of storytelling in the law than Steve Lubet."

-Marianne Wesson,Professor of Law, University of Chicago

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814751749
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 6/11/2012
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 219
  • Product dimensions: 8.90 (w) x 5.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Steven Lubet is the Williams Memorial Professor of Law at Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois. He is the author of a dozen books, including Nothing but the Truth: Why Lawyers Don't, Can't, and Shouldn't Have to Tell the Whole Truth (NYU Press) and over 100 articles. He also writes an award-winning column for the American Lawyer magazine. His commentaries have been head on National Public Radios Morning Edition, and his op-ed columns have appeared in the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, and other major national newspapers.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction: Storytelling Lawyers 1
Ch. 1 Biff and Me: Stories That Are Truer Than True 11
Ch. 2 Edgardo Mortara: Forbidden Truths 27
Ch. 3 John Brown: Political Truth and Consequences 51
Ch. 4 Wyatt Earp: Truth and Context 93
Ch. 5 Liberty Valance: Truth or Justice 135
Ch. 6 Atticus Finch: Race, Class, Gender, and Truth 161
Ch. 7 Sheila McGough: The Impossibility of the Whole Truth 183
Index 199
About the Author 219
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