Virtual Booksigning at Abraham Lincoln Book Shop in Chicago
Dan Weinberg (The Abraham Lincoln Bookstore): “You’re finding Lincoln, then, as an exemplar of oratory, as a teaching tool. Is this a how to book?”
David Hirsch: “It’s definitely a how to book, it's a detective story, but it has application, I think, to every human being, not only people who want to argue persuasively, but people who want, who need, and we all do, to detect when someone is cheating in their argument.”
This page includes experiences of attorneys applying Abraham Lincoln’s techniques to the practice of law, according to the logical persuasive discoveries revealed in Abraham Lincoln and the Structure of Reason.
A Manual for Logical Persuasion:
An attorney comments: "I pull out the book [Abraham Lincoln and the Structure of Reason] anytime I have an important argument."
Illinois Attorney Steven S. Peskind comments: "Yesterday I actually wrote a letter to opposing counsel following the Lincoln formula that you reveal in Abraham Lincoln and the Structure of Reason. My tone was better and less shrill. I really enjoyed the analysis in your book and, in particular, the anecdotal information about Lincoln's practice. As an Illinois lawyer, I have always admired Lincoln the lawyer and really learned a lot from your book. The Jefferson reference was interesting to me as well."
David Hirsch comments: Lincoln's system is great for letters that seek to persuade. Many such letters are demarcated in Abraham Lincoln and the Structure of Reason. Lincoln's letters are poetic and artful. Those that demarcate have the same basic structure. I recently wrote a multi-page letter to opposing counsel regarding a discovery dispute. The letter was longer than I normally would have written. But it was clear and thorough. I received a long letter back. The issue did not immediately resolve, but it was clear where everyone stood.
A lawyer writes:
"I’m about two-thirds of the way through your book and am enjoying it a lot. I like the historical descriptions of what it was like to practice law in 19th Century Illinois. I’m glad I don’t have to ride a horse all round to the various courthouses I go to, but I do enjoy reading about it and the rooming houses for the Judges and lawyers. It also seems to have improved my practice of law, vicariously soaking up a bit of the Euclidean formula of organizing thoughts into writing demonstrative pleadings."
David Hirsch comments: Lincoln's system, decoded in Abraham Lincoln and the Structure of Reason, is a natural for appellate briefs. It turns out that appellate briefs are naturally in Euclidean format, though most lawyers don't realize that. Few, if any, realized it before Abraham Lincoln and the Structure of Reason was published. When one uses Lincoln's Euclidean technique to write an appellate brief, it almost writes itself. The Argument portion of a brief used to be the most difficult to write, even when the legal research was thorough and good. Now it is a breeze.
Harvard University Professor John Stauffer writes in the Afterword to Abraham Lincoln and the Structure of Reason (at page 252): "This book should be required reading for every law school student and anyone interested in debate. By focusing on Lincoln's method, it can teach readers how to construct their own cogent arguments."
This posting appeared on the MacLaw Internet mailing list:
"We're looking for good written, audio, or video materials to help train our young litigators. We do defense work, mostly PI, but some business, construction, etc. I've scoured the [state name] CLE materials, the offerings by West, NITA programs, and some others. What we'd like are some good presentations of trial (or mock trial) examples: voir dire, opens, examinations of witnesses including experts, cross examinations of the same, closings, etc. Any suggestions? Thanks."
David Hirsch, who has used about every kind of desktop computer since the desktop computer was invented responded:
"There is much good material out there, but it isn't cheap. Let me make a shameless plug for an inexpensive book that I co-authored and has been out for three months: Abraham Lincoln and the Structure of Reason. We cracked Lincoln's code for his speeches, including those he made to juries. The book also discusses Lincoln trial techniques (which are both timeless and modern). The book is loaded with Lincoln trial stories, plus has some rare surviving examples of his cross examination. A Harvard professor (not a law professor) says the book is a must for all law students. I do not pretend to be an Abraham Lincoln, but I am now using Lincoln's technique in my trials and briefs (including appellate briefs). Lincoln's technique is also great for motions (though Lincoln did not use it for motions, as far as I can tell, nor did he use it for briefs - which were different back then)."
These responses followed:
"I just ordered a Kindle version. Thanks for giving us the heads-up. Hope it is a best seller."
"I did the same. So far very interesting."
Attorney Dan Kazlauski comments:
"Abraham Lincoln and the Structure of Reason is a comprehensive study of how Lincoln developed his command of logic, reason and argument both as an attorney and political giant. I always thought Lincoln, like many politicians, had an innate ability to communicate ideas. The book contends that such skills can be learned. Portions of the book require deep thought regarding the mathematical concepts needed to understand Lincoln's approach, but the authors effectively break the materials into reasonable portions. As a litigation attorney, I really appreciated the historical detail of practicing law in the mid-1800's and would highly recommend the book to other attorneys, especially younger attorneys who wish to understand the roots of the profession and how to develop the timeless art of persuasion from one of the best. A fascinating read."
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