The Words We Choose Do Matter

Words reflect knowledge and experience, and how you put those words together in a sentence indicates the work product you can provide to an attorney. This is such an important issue that attorneys are constantly learning about the best way to write a brief, develop a line of questioning for depositions, or structure interrogatories to opposing counsel.  They will attack each other’s writing style and word choice, and are chastised by judges for using unnecessarily complex terminology.

Words matter. Attorneys work for their client, whether plaintiff or defense; they can be removed from a case if their work is subpar. This is always foremost in their minds. If your writing is poor, how can they trust you to analyze their case, present data in a clear and logical fashion, and not miss relevant data? How can they be comfortable that you will not represent them poorly to their client?

You cannot make a new client call you, but while you are waiting for the phone to ring, use that time to review your marketing materials – brochures, business cards, CV, sample work product and online profiles. Make sure these items have a common theme, represent your expertise, and do not misrepresent your ability to communicate. Look for webinars or courses that teach you how to write for attorneys.  (There’s probably one right now at www.patiyer.com/mcc, or www.lnctips.com).

There are many ways to write a report or chronology, but none of them include nursing shorthand, medical abbreviations, incomplete sentences and grammatical errors. Find a peer to critique your work and return the favor. If verbal communication is quicksand for you, focus on email and snail mail. Attend law seminars or sit in court and listen to trials, read about affidavits and other legal documents that you may never write but need to understand.  You will feel more confident, be more competent, and have no trouble letting that attorney know that s/he does indeed need you.

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