Many attorneys will put off writing their legal books, claiming they don’t have the time to sit down and produce pages and pages when they’re supposed to be in court. But in many cases, it’s not the time constraints of writing that are stopping them—it’s an old-fashioned case of writer’s block.
While there is no right or wrong way to write your law firm’s book, there are many ways you can make the task easier. First of all, you should think about your topic before you even begin writing. What are the most frequently asked questions about your area of specialty? Answering these will help you pinpoint the central focus of your guide.
Now that your topic is in place, remember these three things every time you sit down to write:
- Never start from scratch. Read back at least two pages before you begin writing to jump start your thoughts. Before you stop for the day, jot down two or three sentences of your next paragraph to keep the content flowing.
- Keep it natural. Resist the urge to preach to your audience, or to speak like someone you’re not. Legal information can be a dry subject, so the best way to keep it interesting is to speak clearly and directly. Imagine your reader is one person sitting directly across from you: if you think he may have a question at the end of a paragraph, be sure to answer it.
- Size doesn’t matter. Rather than concern yourself with the length of your book, focus on making it worth the reader’s time. If you tend to ramble, just remember to edit before printing. No matter how gripping, no client will read 500 pages on any aspect of a case. Short chapters that offer the “meat and potatoes” of each step of the process are a good guideline.
Whatever you do, don’t take the shortcut of copying and pasting boring information from the Internet into a few pages for the sake of “getting it over with.” Your book is a representation of you—and your customers will notice if you’ve got nothing important to say.