Lisa Perry, JD

Lisa Perry is an e-Discovery attorney, educator, and trainer who specializes in working with clients to develop and present written and spoken arguments and persuasive messages.

She has trained over 1500 attorneys, researchers, business people, engineers, physicians and others in the past decade, helping them to develop the public speaking, persuasion, and strategic communication abilities required for success in an evolving and international economy.

With a background in law, sales, public speaking and interpersonal communication, she brings an array of expertise to bear on client communication issues, allowing her to develop and deliver customized coaching and training programs in critical thinking, persuasive communication, sales training, visual communication, and written communication.


About Lisa Perry

Lisa Perry is a nationally and internationally ranked competitor in debate, she brought her expertise and love for the art of rhetoric to her work as a coach in speech and debate at 4 different colleges. A former professor in Minnesota, Maryland, Massachusetts and Montana, she has taught legal argument and communication, public speaking, argumentation, persuasion, and other courses. While at the University of Maryland, she developed a course on presentation skills for law students at Georgetown Law. She is now an attorney and professor working out of the San Francisco area. Here, she works with clients from all walks of life on their communication skills.

Lisa has spent over 20 years studying communication, construction of arguments, and persuasion. A graduate of the doctoral program in communication at the University of Maryland at College Park, she has a Master’s degree in Communication Studies from Emerson College in Boston, a Juris Doctor from Baylor University Law School in Waco Texas and Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Colorado in Boulder. In addition, she is a graduate of Camp Wellstone’s Candidate Track in grassroots politics as well as Kevin Hogan’s Professional Speaker course.


Articles written by Lisa Perry

Perry, Lisa (2012). Using Word Clouds to Teach About Speaking Style. Communication Teacher.

Abstract: Students will understand the importance of repetition, style and focus in speeches. Students will evaluate the effectiveness of their language use by creating and reviewing word clouds.

Perry, Lisa (2003). Engaging Ethos: Source Citation Accuracy in Intercollegiate Forensics. National Forensic Journal. Vol. 20, No. 2, pp. 50-63

Almost twenty years after Frank (1983) looked at evidence used by persuasive speaking finalists at the National Individual Events Tournament hosted by the American Forensic Association (AFA-NIET), investigations by Cronn-Mills and Schnoor (2000) suggest that students in the final round of the 1998 AFA-NIET of informative speaking also were not as careful in their citations as the forensic community would hope. Given the nature and extent of ethical violations in informative speaking and the previous research by Frank, an important question emerged:
what is the current state of ethical evidence usage in persuasive speaking? This paper reports the results of a study performed on speeches delivered in the final round of Persuasive Speaking at the 1999 American Forensic Association-National Individual Events Tournament (AFA-NIET)

Perry, Lisa (2003). Response to St. Joseph’s Response. National Forensic Journal. Vol. 20, No. 2, pp. 68-72

Perry, Lisa (2003). The Need for a Forensic Civic Virtue. National Forensic Journal. Vol. 20, No. 1, pp. 71-73

Students, intent on doing well and succeeding, give the judges what they want. As a result, ethical concerns are ignored or minimized by competitors, judges, and coaches. I agree with the author that judges play an important role in the reestablishment of ethical competitors. Coaches and directors certainly act as role models and arbiters of what is ethical communication, but once the student gets into the room, it is the judge who actually sees the student present the information. It is also important that as the information age gives way to the information overload age all audience members learn and practice the skills of critical listening. Our words to our students that they need to critically examine the source, context, and content of evidence they use in their speeches is hollow advice when we as judges are sponges at the back of the room, content to merely count sources and look for the occasional international or otherwise "sexy" source.

Perry, Lisa (2000). Legal Argument in Eighteenth-Century England: Clearing the Bar. Argument at Century's End: Reflecting on the Past and Envisioning the Future. ed. Thomas Hollihan. Annandale VA: National Communication Association, 496-502

Perry, Lisa (1999). Legal Handbooks as Rhetoric Books for Common Lawyers in Early Modern England. Learning the Law: Teaching and Transmission of Law in England, 1150-1900. Eds. Jonathan Bush and Alain Wijffels. Rio Grande, Ohio: Hambledon Press, 273-285

In this essay I first outline the three major sources of rhetorical education for English common lawyers espoused by earlier research, along with problems that suggest there is another source for rhetorical theories. In addition, I will argue that legal handbooks are the missing source for rhetorical instruction. And finally, I will provide a brief description and analysis of one of these legal rhetorical books, which is William Phillipps's Studii Legalis Ratione

Course Manuals co-written by Lisa Perry

Morrow, Terence and Perry, Lisa. (2001, 2002, 2003, 2004). The Art of Legal Argument. Minnesota State Bar Association Continuing Legal Education

Manual to accompany full-day CLE instruction in legal argument, including the following topics:
How to transform law and facts into compelling legal arguments for briefs, motions, and trials.
How to effectively present arguments to judges, juries, and opposing counsel.
A balance of argument theory and practical instruction in legal argument providing the tools to become a more persuasive advocate.


Perry, Lisa (1998). Legal Rhetoric Books in England, 1600-1700.


  • Editorial Board, Women's Studies in Communication, 2010-2013
  • Featured in article, “Attorneys Told How to Master the Art of Legal Argument,” Minnesota Lawyer, November 24, 2003
  • Chair, American Forensics Association Research Board 2000-2002
  • Woman of Courage and Distinction, Minnesota State University Mankato Department of Women’s Studies and Women’s Center, 2001
  • Showcase panel. The First Amendment in the Public Schools, W. Sandmann, D. Cronn-Mills, L. Perry and M.A. Burleson. Presented at the annual meeting of the Central States Communication Association, Cincinnati, OH April 2001
  • Certificate of Appreciation, American Society for the History of Rhetoric, 1996
  • Top Paper, “Legal Rhetoric Books in England, 1600-1758: a critical re-examination of the Schoeck thesis,” awarded by the American Society for the History of Rhetoric, Southern States Communication Association Division 1996
  • Commended Paper, honored by the American Society for the History of Rhetoric at the annual meeting of the Speech Communication Association, San Diego, CA 1996
  • Top Novice Parliamentary Debate Team, World Universities Parliamentary Debate Championship, University of Melbourne, Australia 1994
  • Lambda Pi Eta, Communication Honor Society 1992