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The Three Most Important Words in Persuasive Communication

May 23, 2022

We lawyers are told to use narrative to advocate for our clients and persuade decision-makers.  But, nobody ever taught us how to tell great stories.  That’s all about to change. Persuasive Storytelling Imagine we are hunkered down at our favorite bar.  I throw back a shot and say, “Man, have I got a story for…

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Anastasia Screams In Vain: The Devil’s Coming For Melissa Lucio

April 11, 2022

I Stuck around St. Petersburg, when I saw it was a time for a change. Killed the Tsar and his ministers, Anastasia screamed in vain. –Sympathy for the Devil, The Rolling Stones The famous Stones song is a meditation on evil.  If we have some understanding of the devil’s work, we may better understand the…

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Every good story has meaning!

September 13, 2021

We humans are undeniably creatures of story.  Think of how empty life would be without ever having been transfixed by images dancing before our eyes in a dark movie theatre, engrossed in an incredible page-turner, or mesmerized by a master storyteller weaving a yarn around a roaring campfire. But stories are not just for entertainment. …

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The Labor of Law – Save Yourself and You Save the World

September 6, 2021

Next month I will have officially reached my twenty-fifth year of lawyering; the majority of those years were spent slogging through the litigation trenches as a state and federal public defender.  These can be dark waters we lawyers swim in.  We confront people at their lowest moments in life.  We absorb trauma vicariously through our…

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Sometimes It Rains: A Fantastic New Podcast for fans of Sport and Court!

January 24, 2021

If you are like me, you are listening to a lot of podcasts these days.  There are a million to chose from, so I’m here to make it easy for you — make your next podcast be “Sometimes it Rains.” I recently had the honor of providing some commentary for this brilliant new series by…

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Until the Work Is Done

December 17, 2020

Last Saturday, I had the pleasure of meeting a woman named Terry Fear.  I was planning a Zoom panel discussion for a group of community lay leaders where I live in Arizona; the topic of which was to be the federal death penalty.  Terry, an activist who lives near Terre Haute, Indiana (home of the…

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October 20, 2020

The KY Dept. of Public Advocacy provides high quality, client-centered legal representation to indigent persons of all ages, accused of crimes or facing a deprivation of liberty throughout the Kentucky.  The Capital defense institute provides high-quality training to aid teams in all facets of death penalty litigation.  Passon will be presenting on the use of…

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The Professor, The Porn Star, & The Death of Empathy: 3 Surprising Podcasts That Will Make Us Better Lawyers

September 28, 2020

Litigation is a battle of stories; the lawyer who presents the most compelling and authentic story wins every time.  It never ceases to amaze me how little we lawyers are ever taught about story fundamentals. The good news is we are surrounded by great stories.  The better news? Free resources abound to help us master…

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Put Your Best Foot Forward During Your Next Video Conference | FREE E-BOOK!

August 31, 2020

In these crazy times of social distancing, we are doing more and more of our legal business on video-conferencing platforms like Zoom, Teams or Bluejeans.  This may change the way we work for a long time to come. Every time you jump online, you are telling the story of who you are and what you…

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Why Every Lawyer Should Put the Movie 13TH at the Top of Their Netflix Queue.

June 22, 2020

13TH is a Netflix original documentary film directed by director Ava DuVernay, who has become one of the most important voices in TV & Film today.  She also happens to be the brilliant director of Selma and When They See Us, among others.  This doc is an elegantly crafted and devastatingly thorough journey through America’s…

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