Posts tagged writing
More is not always better: minimizing the histrionic overuse of adjectives
"Atticus told me to delete the adjectives and I'd have the facts."
- Chapter 7 of To Kill a Mo
ckingbird

Her right leg was catastrophically smashed, causing excruciating and unrelenting pain.  The limb felt like it was being stabbed a million times by a  sharp knife.  The sharp burning pain became absolutely unbearable to the point where she was forced to take vicodin.

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Beginning the complaint with a bang - the case synopsis

We are changing the way we read.  Short has not just become better.  It has become essential in the quest to capture the attention of our audience.

Pedantic legal writing is no longer highly valued by judges.   With crushing case loads, our Honors need us to get right to the point.  They impose page limits on us.  And even then, will sometimes admit they haven't read our pleadings.

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How to defeat a motion for summary judgment

The dreaded motion has arrived.  The defense has moved to prematurely dismiss your client’s case on some legal technicality.    Even though you’ve probably seen this coming, your first instinct is to panic.  Then you devour the entire motion.  Get mad.  And attack it point by miniscule point.  Smoosh it to smithereens – at least in your own mind.

The defense wants you to be reactive to a motion for summary judgment in just this way.  This means you will fight the battle on their turf.  You will be defending your case (instead of prosecuting it).  You will be focusing the judge on what the other side says is important.

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Top 10 reasons why generic fake blog photos suck

Bloggers are told one of the best ways to capture audience attention is to use a cool photo.

Yeah.  That'll do it.   After all a picture is worth a thousand words.

Here's how it plays out.  You are surfing the internet.  Voila.  You see a shiny brand new professionally done photo of a big truck driving down the road.  That definitely captures your interest so you click on the photo which is part of a blog that is talking about dangerous trucks.  And then by clicking on that blog you end up attached to a lawyer's website.  And now you can hire them.  Or at least think about hiring them if in the future you get hit by a truck.

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The ghost writer

Today a ghost writer offered to secretly write my blog.

Before deleting her spam, I took a peek at the links to the firms she writes for.  Bet they'll be happy to know they've been outed. 

It is slimy to hire someone to do legal blogging without disclosing that the writer is: a) not a member of the firm and b) not a lawyer.  Plus maintaining a blog simply for the sake of having a blog, is kinda lame.

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Tips for attorneys - from a children's novelist

We are rewarded in school for using sentences so complex, that the reader or listener is virtually tortured by them.  As grown up lawyers this means we tend to spout legalese to normal people.  How as trial lawyers do we shrug off these intellectual habits.  So we can tell a good story.

Look at these tips from C.S. Lewis (he of The Chronicles of Narnia fame).  This is taken from a letter he wrote to a young Fan in 1956.

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I like reading your blog ...says the defense lawyer

We are in deposition yet again on this case.  Have lost count of how many there have been.  Thirty, forty, something like that.

Have spent so much time together, we're kind of like a team.  Even though we are all on different sides.  There's the gracious court reporter who always has cookies ready for us.  Even at 9:00 in the morning.  N - my biggest sparring partner. B who passes notes to N but otherwise doesn't speak.  W who sometimes chimes in at the end.  C isn't with us today.  P comes in her stead.

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Words of Wisdom for Young Lawyers - Humility

Yesterday a law student from Phoenix asked for this article (written about a decade ago). 

Trial Lawyers are often perceived by the public as arrogant and phony.  This is because the art of braggadocio is so prevalent and even sometimes necessary in our profession.   Behind the show lie those memories that need to be periodically replayed so we don’t buy into the myth of our professional persona.

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WSBA challenges me to be civil - but can It be? part 2

Dear Karen,

Sarcasm is a good example.  Your email is laced with it, but it does not advance your cause.   It does, though, increase the friction of the dialogue, unnecessarily so.   That is part of my point.  As soon as we inject sarcasm, condescension or the like, the discussion gets heated when it really doesn’t need to.  If I didn’t know you were just trying to prove a point, I may respond emotionally and attack you on a personal level, and so the downward spiral would begin.

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Lessons in Humility

This article was published in WSTLA Trial News in 2000.

Trial Lawyers are often perceived by the public as arrogant and phony.  This is because the art of braggadocio is so prevalent and even sometimes necessary in our profession.   Behind the show lie those memories that need to be periodically replayed so we don’t buy into the myth of our professional persona.

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The Lawyer Blog Guru

I look at the clock - 7:40 am - and wonder what is on my plate today.  Pull calendar off phone - 8:00 am breakfast meeting Library Bistro.  Crap!

Wash face, brush teeth, throw on warm outfit, run out the door, drive across town (2nd Avenue is the best- lights are syncronized) and find a place to park where the meter is broken.  I wonder if I'll get a ticket.  Run into restaurant ten minutes late (sorry) and there waiting in a cozy corner is a man I met last week on the internet.

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Blogging Genetics

My daughters rarely read my blogs.  At least not voluntarily.  I say - you need to read my blog it's a good one.  And they moan - mommmmmm we don't need to read your blog.  We live your blog.  I can't really argue with that. Go back three summers ago.  We are in Paris and do our own website so family and friends can follow along on our travels.  Each day I  blog, they sigh, and we upload the most recent pictures.  The night before we leave, Cristina is sick and waiting for us in the apartment (we're staying in a darling walk up in the 7th).  The other girls and I have been shopping.  We split up about two blocks before we reach home.  I go to get them jambon sandwiches, they go to get crepes one last time.

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