We at Casetext have encouraged lawyers to develop good writing habits even outside the litigation context. Why? Because lawyers who foster a daily writing habit can improve that skill before they need it. Good writing can also help build a firm’s business.
How does that work? Specifically, how can writing for lawyer-focused publications like those produced by state bars lead to more clients?
Writing for More Clients
We put the question to Ben Wright, former attorney editor in the books division of the Wisconsin State Bar. Ben runs his own practice now and helps other lawyers with their writing. Here’s what he had to say:
It’s really all about building your reputation with other lawyers. This is maybe the most overlooked but powerful way to do that.
Many a practice advisor would tell you that building a firm through referrals is the fastest way to grow. Referrals allow you to borrow the trust built by other lawyers in their practices. The trouble, of course, is that those other lawyers must first know and trust you. Bar publications are a great way to get in front of local attorneys and establish that kind of trust.
When you write well and can explain what you do and it’s beamed out directly to all the relevant lawyers in your jurisdiction — especially in the case of a mandatory bar that sends out a free magazine each month — that’s a powerful way to get in front of everybody who might be a referral source.
Managing Your Reputation
Ben’s suggestion is a proactive one. He advises that you use writing opportunities like bar publications to do what mere lawyering can’t. Despite our common assumptions, there aren’t many lawyers watching our work. We need to make sure the good we do for clients gets real visibility in the legal community.
Many lawyers take the approach that their reputation simply is what it is, that as they practice and appear before judges and opposing counsel, that’s how their reputation is built.
However, Ben says, reputation can and should be managed. It’s easy to believe that the big name lawyers in our area have always been that way, that they were destined for fame and we should just get back to work. I’ve felt that imposter syndrome myself many times. But you can use writing opportunities available through state bars to map out your own fame.
If you want your name to be known more broadly and to get the benefit of that for your business practice, then writing is really the most powerful way to do that.
Quality writing satisfies all three of the know-like-trust prongs necessary for another lawyer to refer cases to you.
How To Find Writing Opportunities
Check with your state bar’s publication office to ask how you can submit proposals for articles that communicate your particular focus. As Ben explained, bars are constantly on the hunt for good content. Their need for words never ends, and yet the quality doesn’t always deliver. If you take the time to write well and persuasively, publishing offices would be happy to feature your work.
And so, all the benefits that come from having a good reputation in your legal community can be supercharged by writing for bar publications. That’s really what it’s all about.
Once you get your first article published, we hope you’ll share it with us. We love to support our Casetexter friends and are happy to see good work rewarded.
Want to Learn More about Writing Well?
To see the entire interview with Ben, check out the video below…
And take a look at the other articles in this series on better writing for lawyers. We’re happy to support the development of good writing habits and would love a chance to explain how you can incorporate Casetext’s AI-enabled research tools to enhance your skills.