University law student selected for story presentation


Photo Courtesy of BYU Law

Carlisle Shelson, a university law student, got her story selected to be showcased by BYU’s LawStories event.

A University law student, Carlisle Shelson, was selected by Brigham Young University as one of its 10 students showcasing law stories as part of BYU’s first LawStories event.

BYU’s LawStories asks for law students to submit a story which pertains to their life and a legal experience. Chosen students were then given a half day seminar on storytelling, presented their story to an audience at BYU, recorded their stories at the BYU Radio station and were given a visit to Moab National Park.

Shelson said she originally decided to submit her story after seeing the contest listed on the University Law School’s digital notice board and wrote a complete draft for her story between classes one day.

On the story that Shelson chose to write, she said: “I chose to write about an experience I had working at the Mississippi Crime Lab researching the scope of the opioid epidemic for a potential lawsuit and finding an old friend, with whom I had lost contact, on my list of deceased. It was a particularly harrowing experience, but I wanted to underscore that the amorphous ‘panic’ that is the opioid epidemic is made up of individuals who had their own stories and their own lives.”

Rebecca Clarke, director of the LawStories initiative, said reviewers were looking for stories with a narrative arc, which showed growth, change or a perceptual shift. The submissions also needed to be personal and true.

Clarke said she hopes the initiative helps law students learn to not only tell their own stories but those of their clients.

“We hope that students who participate in LawStories will be not only great storytellers, but great listeners,” Clarke said. “What is the client leaving unsaid? What questions need to be asked?”

During her time at BYU for the LawStories event, Shelson met other passionate people who she hopes to stay in touch with. She also said that a good lawyer needs to know how to tell a story and that helped her prepare for her future career.

“I encourage any law student who enjoys writing or thinks they have a story to tell to apply,” Shelson said. “I found the process therapeutic and a good break from the rigors of coursework.” 

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