A: Look no further than the obituary pages.
As some of you who have read my posts already know, I love reading the obits. I've mined the pages like a gravestone rubber trolling through a cemetery looking for the perfect headstone. Yes, gravestone rubber, not robber.
Open your local or national newspaper to the Obituary section. While it's illuminating to read the stories of the famous folk who have passed on, skip over those professionally scripted ones. Go instead to the columns of stories written by family members for their loved one. Sometimes there will be a recent photo, or one taken decades ago as if the deceased never aged.
You will get good at identifying those obituaries that read like a shopping list of items - all achievement but little affection. Those are the ones chock full of content, and little else.
Then you will find those that are so full of life you might wish that the deceased had lived next door to you.
What makes the stories different? The latter ones take the content of a life and put it into context we can relate to. We understand - or at least recognize - this person. We have some idea what they held in their affections. They come alive for us.
Whether you are writing a brief, a case summary for ADR or getting ready for trial make the story about your client one we can relate to.
And a good exercise I was taught: write your own obituary. Feel how it sounds when you read it aloud. Is it true to your life? Do you wish you lived next door to this person? Shared a cold brewski on a hot summer night? Or maybe a cup of coffee.