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Showing posts with the label Writing

Writing a Bio

Well-written biographical information can attract clients, enhance reputations, get jobs, and recruit staff. Biographies tell a narrative story that promote you and your firm. They are used in directory listings, business proposals, firm websites, and social media profiles. They give prospects a reason for consulting you.  Use the tips and resources below to help write a new biography or update an old one.   Ask an associate or marketing professional to proofread your bio and suggest improvements.  Mark your calendar with an annual reminder to update your directory listings, social media profile, and website bio.   Tips Audience - adversaries, clients, judges, prospects, and recruits Awards - mention awards and accomplishments Contact - include contact information and a link for submitting inquiries Content  - provide credentials, history, personal interests, and practice areas  Graphics - insert a professional quality photograph and use bulleted lists and infographics Length - keep it

Sending Client Reminders

Follow-up reminders help avoid missed appointments, build networks, complete tasks, and request reviews. Avoiding overwhelming clients, co-counsel, and opposing counsel by using the following tips. Get additional tips from the articles and books listed below. Tips Content - limit to a few sentences and ask for reply to confirm receipt. Follow-up - call if no response (don't rely on leaving voicemail or email). Frequency - send one reminder to avoid annoyance and spam filters. Method - use email, letter, phone, or text depending on the preference of recipient. Purpose - send reminders for meetings, deadlines, tasks, and payments. Subject - use a short subject like "Reminder - Appointment". Articles Appointment Apps   Building a Network Communication Guide for Lawyers Email Etiquette Sending Reminders Writing Follow-ups  Text Messaging Books Business Email Etiquette for Lawyers Lawyer's Guide to Email Model Business Communications Samples Appointment Confirmation Bu

Planning Law Careers

Many lawyers pursue careers with corporate law departments, law firms, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations. Others chose to start a new firm as a solo or with other lawyers. The new firm path is best for lawyers with entrepreneurial spirit, financial support, and organizational skills. Below are tips for writing a business plan to use as a blueprint for growing legal careers and law firms. For further study, see the links to articles, books, forms, and websites. Tips Assessment - assess entrepreneurial spirit and legal skills to determine readiness. Contents - describe the practice, competitive factors, finances, and marketing plans. Costs - determine the cost of equipment, offices, supplies, and staffing. Focus - select practice areas and geographic locations that will be the focus of the firm. Office - Decide whether to office at home, an office building, or shared office space. Research - study competitive factors, costs, fee schedules, skills, and prospective client

Writing Website Disclaimers

Continually review your law firm website to keep it current and comply with evolving ethical requirements. Avoid ethical complaints by using  a short disclaimer at the bottom of each page with a link to a detailed Disclaimer Page.  Add a Policy Page to comply with laws governing privacy. For more information, see the resources listed below and  consult your state bar association.  Articles ABA Modernizes Marketing Rules Best Practices for Privacy Policies Disclaimers for Firm Blogs and Websites Ethical Guide to Lawyer Marketing Ethical Guidelines for Websites Guide to Website Design Overview of Online Ethics for Lawyers   Books Ethics and Technology Legal Ethics and Social Media Marketing on the Internet   Forms Jennifer Ellis Blog Louisiana Legal Ethics Blog Samples Disclaimers Cardone Firm (New Orleans) - personal Injury Lubiner, Schmidt & Palumbo (Newark) - criminal immigration and traffic Mehr, Fairbanks & Peterseon (Lexington) - disability, insurance, and personal inj

Writing Gender Neutral

In the late 1900's, writers began using  gender inclusive language to make women part of the narrative.  For example, using "he or she" as a pronoun instead of only using "she".  In the 2000's, gender neutrality was extended to using pronouns like "they" to be considerate of people whose genders are neither male or female. Gender neutral writing has been adopted in journalistic and academic writing.  It is also  relevant to business and  legal writing.  Below are tips for gender neutral writing and resources for using it in briefs, contracts, corrrspondence, and other documents..  Tips Pluralize the noun and use they as pronoun Repeat a noun instead of using a pronoun Use they as a singular pronoun Articles Adding Gender Neutral Pronouns to Email Signatures  (WiseStamp Blog) Avoiding Sexist Language in Legal Writing  (University of Denver) Do's Don'ts and Maybes of Legal Writing (NYSBA) Gender Free Legal Writing  (British Columbia Law Inst

Using Exclamation Points

PC's, smartphones, and tablets enable users to add images like emojis and emoticons to their messaging. Users started putting these images into personal messaging during the 1980's  and usage soon spread to business writing.  Despite the popularity of emojis and emoticons, exclamation points remain an important element in writing. Exclamation points can express emphasis, emotion, and excitement. They are less distracting than images. Below is a checklist of things to consider when deciding whether to use exclamation points in emails, papers, pleadings, posts, and texts. For further study, read the articles and books that follow the checklist. Checklist Acceptability - exclamation points are more universally acceptable than emoticons and emojis, but usually not appropriate for pleadings. Audience - consider demographics (age, profession, etc.) when deciding whether to use emojis, emoticons, or exclamation points. Frequency - consider using powerful words to avoid the need for em

Marketing With Press Releases

Below are tips for writing law firm press releases and links to samples from solo and small firm websites. An occasional press release can raise your firm's visibility and improve its online reputation. They are an inexpensive and effective marketing tactic for solos and small firms. Publish press releases at your firm website and submit them them to bar associations and editors of local newspapers and magazines. Also consider contacting editors to offer articles on topics in your practice areas. For more tips, see articles about the  art of press releases , building a press page ,  distribution services , emailing clients ,  getting into papers ,  importance of press releases,   managing public relations ,   publishing online , and  writing style ,  Also see books for lawyers about  Public Relations  and  Working with Reporters .  Tips Start with a sentence that has lists the city, state, month, day and year  Follow the first sentence with a paragraph that summarizes the content o

Using Emojis

Emojis have been used in texts, tweets, and emails since 1998.  Originally limited to communications between family and friends, they are becoming popular in professional communications. Emojis emphasize  positivity and help convey feelings . Start slowly by limiting to communications with emoji users and selecting images with common meanings like OK or Thumbs  Up .  Mind the age gap since different age groups give different meanings to emojis. Get perspective by reading about the history of emojis   benefits of using them , interpreting them in the courtroom , and why they are acceptable at work . Get proficient  by reading a guide to using emojis articles about age gaps ,  applications ,  etiquette , silencing , user tips and  evidentiary value .

Updating Technology

Using up-to-date technology can keep your firm competitive and make work easier. Get help by resources available from the ABA's Legal Technology Resource Center , CUNY’s Tech Center , and your State Bar's  Lawyer Assistance Program . Learn how to automate by reading articles about client portals ,  client relationship software,   document automation , keeping time, and virtual assistants , Also read ABA books about computers , collaboration ,  cybersecurity , and  technology .  Use  the following Technology Checklist to assure success whether working from an office, home, or on the road. SOFTWARE Billing (Bill4Time, PC Law, Quicken, Tabs3, TimeSov, Zola, etc.) Bookkeeping (e.g. QuickBooks and ZipBooks) Client Relationship (e.g. Aptivo, Clio Grow, Salesforce, or Zoho CRM) Conferencing (e.g. Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, or Zoom) Email Marketing (e.g. Constant Contact or Mailchimp) Employee Incentives (e.g. Bonusly) Office Productivity (e.g. Office365 or Google Workspace) Pasword

Communicating with Clients

"The medium is the message" is a phrase made popular in 1964 by Marshall McLuhan in his best-selling book about media.  For maximum impact, carefully  select the medium when communicating with clients, lawyers, and staff. See below for communication options and articles, books, and samples of them.  Alternatives Articles - publish articles online and in print to enhance your reputation Face-to-face - best for emotional or difficult topics Email - useful for assigning tasks, following-up, and seeking clarification Letters - useful for formal communications and transmitting documents Memos  - report research results Meetings - best for complex and controversial matters Note cards  - use for informal communications to express concern or gratitude  Phone Calls - useful for dialogue about complicated subjects Social Media - effective for staying connected Texts - limit use to short messages Video - effective for courtroom presentations and marketing legal services Webinar

Improving Your Writing

Streamline your research by using apps powered by artificial intelligence. Improve your writing by using active voice, action verbs, present tense, singular nouns and other principles of clear writing . Get inspired by reading  an article about the importance of improving writing throughout your career. Then enhance your writing skills by using the articles, books, and websites listed below.  Apps Copyscape Grammarly Microsoft Edtor Scribbr WestLaw Edge Writing Tools Articles Apps for Writing Avoiding Dictation Mistakes Checking for Plagiarism Common Mistakes Grammar Goofs Misused Words Muddled Writing Learning to Write Well   Writing Tips   Using AI to Research and Write Books Better Business Writing Elements of Style   Guide to Legal Writing Grammar and Writing Judicial Perspectives on the Written Word Legal Writing Resources Strategies for Faster and Better Editing   Style Manuals AP Style Book Chicago Style Manual Harvard Citation Manual  USA Style Manual Websites Archive of Writi

Drafting Better Contracts

Write professional looking contracts by using concise wording, paragraph numbering, section headings, and tables of contents. Use letter-size paper and single spacing to make contracts easier to scan. For more tips, read articles about  form libraries , word processing ,  writing clearly , and technology tools  like document management software . Improve your drafting skills by attending an ALI Webinar  or taking a Ken Adams  workshop . Also see Dell  Toedt's  archive of drafting articles  and his contract checklist .  For in-depth study, read PLI's contract handbook  and the  ABA's Manual of Style for Contracts and other ABA books about business contracts , computer contracts , construction contracts , documenting deals ,  drafting style ,  government contracts , leases ,  medical contracts ,   prose in contracts ,  settlement agreements , structuring transactions , and tech contracts .  Webinar

Writing Tools

Word processing can help lawyers create, edit, and share documents.  Word processing software facilitates document drafting with tools for footnoting, formatting, numbering, and sharing documents. Read Nicole Black's  Introduction to Word Processing  to learn about software options like Google Docs and Microsoft Word. Read WSJ’s article about Best Apps for Assisted Writing . Become more proficient by reading guides to  Microsoft Word  and Google Docs . Also see our post about Improving Your Writing and ABA books about  Microsoft Word and  Microsoft Office .

Email Etiquette

Email etiquette establishes your credibility and helps communicate your message. Etiquette is essential whether your email is a short message or a complex legal analysis. Below are emailing tips and links to articles and books for further study.  Tips Abbreviations - avoid abbreviations Addressing - use bcc instead of cc for long distribution lists.   Brevity  - keep messages short Caps - don't use all caps  Calling - substitute calls with meetings to avoid misunderstanding or controversy Subject  - use appropriate subject lines Articles Avoiding Email Mistakes Best practices Getting past spam filters Things to consider Sending Emails Writing Emails Books Digital Manners Business Etiquette Online Etiquette Email Risk Legal Ethics .