Category: Anna Deavere Smith

Observing People

Yogi Berra allegedly said: “You can observe a lot just by watching.” Brilliant, if he said that intentionally. Once the quote became famous, he embraced it and wrote a book called “You Can Observe A Lot By Watching: What I’ve Learned About Teamwork From the Yankees and Life.”

I always suggest to my law students that they practice people-watching as a method of learning how to select a jury and size up witnesses. If I were running a school of litigation, there would be a required course in the art of watching people. Nothing fancy as an academic course in human psychology; more like a practical course on reading people. It would not be taught by lawyers, but by those who do it for a living. I would hire agents skilled in counter-intelligence and interrogation.


Final Argument: Storytelling

We are story tellers. It is our job to effectively communicate our client’s story. Nothing has the same impact as a story. It persuades and remains in the mind. Audiences are drawn to stories. I am always searching for models and inspiration to learn how to better tell a story.