Stop. Really, just stop. Stop writing like a lawyer when you communicate with your clients and prospects. You cannot bore anyone into hiring you or sending you referrals.
And let’s face it, most legal writing is boring, even to other lawyers.
Write the way you must in your briefs, motions, and memoranda. Shovel in the prophylactic latinate phrases and legal terms of art in your contracts, leases, and trusts. Write the way lawyers write when you’re being a lawyer.
Just don’t do it in your emails or newsletter.
I know it can be difficult to switch roles. But if you want to attract business, you have to know when to put the law dictionary back on the shelf.
It takes practice. It takes a fair amount of re-writing. Having someone edit your early drafts is a good idea.
But you can do it.
Actually, it’s easier than you think.
You already know what to do. “Write like you talk” and “Imagine you’re speaking to a client sitting in the office” will get you most of the way there.
The hard part? Letting go. Unclenching your sphincter muscles because your brain is telling you that writing naturally and informally isn’t professional.
The solution? A stiff drink.
Hemmingway said, “Write drunk, edit sober”. You probably shouldn’t follow that advice literally, but you can do the next best thing by giving yourself permission to write a crappy first draft.
Write quickly. Pour it out. Let your fingers fly. Get it down on paper any way it wants to come out and don’t give it another thought because nobody is going to see your first draft.
The first draft is just for you.
Write every day. You will get better, and quicker. Eventually, you’ll be able to flip a mental switch and instantly turn off the legal draftsman and turn on the communicator.
You need both, of course. You need the lawyer to do the work, of course. But you need the communicator to bring in the work.
How to use your communication skills to get more referrals