Angiulo: Storytelling Traditions Alive in Today’s Courtrooms
Monday, March 17, 2014
In many ways, the role of Attorneys during trial is like two storytellers going to work before an audience. The heart of trial work is an opportunity for advocates to persuade the jury or judge that the events of a particular day are consistent with their legal theory and so the trial should be decided in their client's favor. Take car accident cases as an example. Plaintiff's counsel will examine witnesses in an effort to show that their client was rear-ended because a defendant was driving too fast and so the accident was their fault. Defendant's counsel, on the other hand, might try to highlight that part of the story that shows the plaintiff had braked suddenly for no reason.
Unlike the storyteller sessions we might think of in our mind, a single grizzly bearded old man in a firelit room, trials involve many more moving parts. Those moving parts are generally known as witnesses and, unlike stories, their evidence at trial can't be simply improvised or tweaked to suit the mood. Witness testimony is generally limited to first hand observations and offered through direct examination.
The fundamentals of direct examination include open ended questions focusing on questions of who, what, when and where. Take our hypothetical car accident case. Plaintiff's counsel might use a direct examination of their client to tell the story of where there client had come from, where they were going and what prevented them from arriving at their destination. In addition, the direct examination may focus on things like when the paramedics arrived and where the pins were implanted during corrective surgery.
After direct examination comes cross examination. This is an opportunity for an Attorney to tell his client's story through the witness' answers to his questions. Unlike direct examination, the questions under cross examination are supposed to be asked in such a way that the witness answers either yes or no. Most importantly, the questions are supposed to build upon each other and lead observers to the point the questioner is trying to make.
Just like the storytellers of ancient Ireland, Trial Attorneys are asked to make lasting impressions often without producing anything in writing. While there are important differences, the fact that our current practice strongly reflects how things have been done for eons is illustrative of some larger truths. At least one of those truths being that nothing replaces a good story told well.
Related Slideshow: 10 Ways to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day
Worcester County’s St. Patrick’s Parade
The St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Worcester County is a great way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Massachusetts and take pride in your Irish- American heritage. The Worcester County St. Patrick’s Parade Committee is a nonprofit organization dedicated to a safe family-oriented parade, which begins March 9th at 12 pm. Click here for details.
St. Patrick’s Parade: Park Avenue, Worcester, 01602
St. Pat’s 5K
If you’re looking for a different way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, think about participating in the St.Pat’s 5K. The Tour de Patrick includes three 5K races in three different cities. On March 8th the Tour de Patrick hits Providence with the race starting at 11am at the Rhode Island State House. Make sure to register for the race online. After the race, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade starts at 12 pm on Smith Street. For more information, click here.
St. Pat’s 5K: Rhode Island State House, Smith Street, Providence, RI, 02908
Newport St. Patrick’s Day Parade
On March 15th don’t miss your opportunity to be a part of Newport’s 58th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The parade begins at 11 am at Newport City Hall and will include everything from marching bands to clown units. After the parade make sure to check out the alcohol-free St. Patrick’s Day family celebration which will feature bag pipers and Irish step dancers. Entry to this event is free and you’ll have the chance to win giveaways and cash prizes. Click here for more information.
St. Patrick’s Day Parade: 43 Broadway, Newport, RI, 02840
St. Patrick’s Day Family Celebration: The “Hut,” Golden Hill Street, Newport, RI, 02840 (Behind Newport Public Library)
South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Brought to you by the Allied War Veteran’s Council, South Boston’s one and only St. Patrick’s Day Parade will be held on March 16th. This parade is said to be the second largest parade in the country and is seen on live TV. The parade starts at 1pm. Make sure to check their website for the parade route as well as a list of pubs and bars recommended by the parade commitee. For more details, go here.
St. Patrick’s Day Parade: West Broadway, Boston, MA, 02127
11th Annual Mystic Irish Parade
If you want to keep the Irish spirit alive after St. Patrick’s Day, the 11th Annual Mystic Irish Parade is on March 23rd. This single day celebration has over 2,000 marchers and 30,000 spectators. There will also be decorated floats, Gaelic music, and the famous Irish jig. The parade kicks off at 1pm and is an event you will not want to miss. Keep checking their website for parade route information. Click here for more information.
11th Annual Mystic Irish Parade: Mystic, Connecticut
Harpoon St. Patrick’s Day Festival
St. Patrick’s Day is not a one day celebration, at least not according to the Harpoon St. Patrick’s Day Festival. On Friday March 7th from 5:30 pm to 11 pm (doors close at 9:30 pm) and Saturday March 8th from 2 pm to 9 pm (doors close at 7:30 pm) step inside the largest brewery in Boston and enjoy food venders selling corned beef and cabbage and cash bars featuring Harpoon Celtic Red. Also get ready to dance the Irish jig because both nights feature 4 or more live bands. The coverage charge is $20 at the door (cash only). For more details, visit their website.
Harpoon Brewery: 306 Northern Avenue, Boston, MA, 02210
Greater New Haven St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Connecticut has another great parade on Sunday March 16th in Greater New Haven. This parade which begins at 1:30 pm is a free event and is the largest spectator event in Connecticut. This parade features 3,000 marchers, bag pipers, clowns and marching units, and will be broadcasted on FOX CT. Click here for more details.
St. Patrick’s Day Parade: Derby Avenue and Chapel Street, New Haven, CT, 06511
A Little Bit of Ireland
Described as pure Celtic magic, the A Little Bit of Ireland show on March 15th and 16th at the Reagle Music Theatre is now celebrating its 16th anniversary. As the largest Irish show in New England, this show features Irish tenors, Riverdance, a master Irish comic and a peek at Irish cottage life. There are three shows and tickets start at $35, purchase them online. Visit their website for more information.
Reagle Music Theatre: 617 Lexington Street, Waltham, MA, 02452
One of the best parts about St. Patrick’s Day is of course the corned beef and cabbage dinner. Durgin Park located near Faneuil Hall in Boston is known for its traditional New England corned beef and cabbage dinners so you won’t have to miss out on this Irish tradition. For more information, click here.
Durgin Park: 340 Faneuil Hall Market Place, Boston, MA, 02109
Faneuil Hall is not the only place to enjoy some traditional Irish cuisine, RiRa is a popular Irish pub in Providence that serves some great Irish food including a Guinness stew and house brined corn beef. Make sure to check their website for events, they often feature trivia nights and live music. For more information, visit RiRa online.
RiRa: 50 Exchange Terrace, Providence, RI, 02903
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