3 Writing Tips for Legal Pros

November 4, 2014 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Writing Tips

Writing Tips

There’s of course legal nuances and rules for writing that attorneys worked on during law school, but that’s not always applicable to the real world. If you manage a law firm or you’re an attorney who wants to dominate in your career, written communication is crucial but it’s not always what you think it is. While legal mumbo jumbo might be perfectly acceptable when talking to colleagues, it’s not going to cut it on your website, blog or on social media.

Take a cue from quality blogs from firms like Bohn & Fletcher to see an example of writing targeted towards proper audiences. As an attorney, one of your jobs is explaining complicated matters to your clients (who probably have zero legal experience). You also need to foster engagement on any outreach channels, work with non-legal colleagues at times and basically know how to communicate regardless of audience.

Here are a few tips to get started:

  1. Adopt an active voice

Legal writing reveres passive voices because you don’t want to state anything as a fact that isn’t. However, it comes across as stiff and informal, especially with channels like blogs. To learn more about the difference, check out the advice from sources like Global Post and start writing for your audience, not because your professor once told you they preferred passivity. There’s a time and place for both.

  1. Explain but don’t condescend

There’s a fine line between laymen’s terms and talking down to your audience (and sometimes it’s going to be tough to differentiate). You’ll be able to tell the difference based on responses. However, if you can ask family and friends to read non-legal pieces of yours and give unbiased opinions. Instead of focusing on copy editing, ask what kind of personality the writer seems to have and how they might be more engaging.

  1. Ask as well as tell

Attorneys have a knack for either telling it like it is or asking questions as if it’s an interrogation. This isn’t going to go over well on your website or blog. Tone it down a bit and focus on the end goal: Fostering relationships and getting your audience to participate in a conversation. There are many ways to do this, such as Lifehack’s list of ways to get more comments on blogs.

Writing Tips

Writing Tips

Writing is both a talent and a skill nobody is perfect at, so don’t get discouraged. However, legal firms should prioritize looking beyond their inner circle and communicating how their target demographics prefer.

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