Gave an Intro to Law School of sorts recently. I illustrated the difference in credibility of a baseless “feel-good” statement and an analysis that explicitly shows how provable facts support each part of a rule leading to a logical conclusion.
Think about these examples. You don’t need to be a lawyer or law student to see the differences. They don’t purport to prove elements of rules; they simply help demonstrate how using facts as opposed to fluff helps support credible logical conclusions:
Friend A says, “You are great! ”
Friend B says, “You are great because you are loyal, reliable, and funny.” First, I say you are loyal when I recall the many times you defended me even when lots of others did not. You have never once doubted me. Second, your reliability is clear; you are always on time. When you say you will do something; you follow through on your promises. And, I can always count on you to answer my calls or texts. Third, you are funny. You tell jokes that make me laugh out loud. You make silly puns that bring smiles to my face. You have a quick and clever wit. Everyone enjoys your sense of humor. To sum up, as I said before, you are, “GREAT!”
OK –aside from the fact that Friend B is a bit long-winded, isn’t Friend B more credible?? Don’t you feel like Friend B is not just blowing hot air but actually means what he or she is saying?
Restaurant Critic A writes: “Nouveau Resto that just opened on Main Street is fantastic. I am the best restaurant critic in town and I say New Resto rocks. Go eat there.”
Restaurant Critic B writes: “Nouveau Resto that just opened on Main Street is fantastic. I rated the restaurant on 1) the taste of the food, 2) food presentation and decor in the restaurant, and 3) on service. On all counts, I gave Nouveau Resto 5 stars, the highest rating on my newspaper’s restaurant rating scale. I gave the taste of the food a 5 because every dish was made with fresh ingredients, seasoned well, and cooked to the correct temperature. Myself and the five people dining with me all ordered different dishes and each of us found our selections to be delicious. No one had any leftovers. As to food presentation and decor in the restaurant, both were clean and inviting. There is no clutter at Nouveau Resto –not on its plates, nor in its dining room. The plates are all solid white with the colors of each dish creating a work of art on each plate. The napkins and table cloths –mostly a crisp white, with a minimalist border of beautiful blue accents that match a lovely blue theme in stylish artwork on the walls. The lighting is modern and bright. Last but not least, the service is impeccable. The waiters did not hover, but they were there to answer every question, refill drinks, and check in to see if we were satisfied and/or needed anything more after every course was served. The were polite and knowledgable about the ingredients in every dish and about the wines on the wine list. As I said, Nouveau Resto is fantastic –an excellent addition to the cuisine in our city.
Again, a bit longer to read, but isn’t the review of Restaurant Critic B more believable?
These are two simple illustrations, but I hope they make a point: conclusions that are well grounded in fact are typically more credible than baseless or unfounded claims. And, credibility counts –especially for new lawyers-to-be!