Daily Dispatch

Writing Tips from Gary Kinder

Words Matter: Ways to Unmuddle Your Prose

By | Jul.17.14 | 2 Comments

Editing with three easy steps

In their written communications, lawyers need to use the right words and the right number of words in the right way. If you circumvent your content, malign your meaning, dangle your modifiers or otherwise mangle your sentences, you might very well alienate your partners, anger your clients or annoy the judge and jury.

But let’s put this in positive terms.

If you can write clearly, concisely and correctly, you can impress your partners, engage your clients and win over the judge and jury.

Lawyer, writer and writing instructor Gary Kinder has taught more than 1,000 writing programs at law firms nationwide — to rave reviews. He knows the difference between clean, clear and crisp writing and muddled muck. Unfortunately, too often he sees the latter coming from lawyers, especially young attorneys. “Often first- and second-year associates try too hard to write like, well, lawyers,” Kinder says. … READ THE REST

Nine Ways to Enhance Your Online Job Application

By | Jul.16.14 | 1 Comment

job application

The wait to hear about an online job application is often too long, and the process is often discouraging. If you don’t have a personal connection to the employer, it will be difficult to get through the screening process without matching most of the job’s posted requirements. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t apply if you feel you’re a good fit, but rather that you should keep your expectations in check — and try not to do anything that will harm your application.

Of course, you should try to find a connection through LinkedIn and your other network. Even if you don’t have a connection that will usher your application quickly through the online gauntlet, however, there are things you can do to significantly improve your chances of getting it into the right hands. Below are just a few. READ THE REST

Tips for the Well-Dressed (Male) Lawyer

By | Jul.15.14 | 1 Comment

Black Tie

Every new parent knows there are far more clothing options for baby girls than for baby boys. While selections have improved in the past decade or so, it can still be a struggle to find outfits for the little gents that aren’t emblazoned with footballs or baseballs, or that aren’t blue, blue and blue. Fast-forward into adulthood, and things haven’t changed much as far as the narrow clothing selection goes. Although, thankfully, I haven’t seen anyone sporting a baby blue Lil’ Slugger T-shirt during their opening statement.

Given the fact that men’s fashion options aren’t infinite, particularly for the most formal professional occasions, such as appearing in court or meeting with clients, what’s a guy to do? Here are three basic tips for staying snappy. … READ THE REST

Nothing But the Ruth

Want to Be More Efficient? Unplug!

By | Jul.14.14 | 2 Comments

Nothing But the Ruth

Let me tell you a secret — the biggest distraction in my life is me. No, I’m not wasting time playing Angry Birds or watching Netflix. My challenge? I’m so well-trained to react the moment my laptop or phone lights up, chimes or rings that it’s become a time-suck. My response is almost Pavlovian.

And every time I look at my phone or check my email, those are seconds or minutes that I’m not working on my current project. Then I have to use up more time refocusing on the task at hand. It’s not a lot of time in each instance, but in aggregate it adds up.

So here’s what I’ve done … READ THE REST

The Friday Five

Heads Up: All Headshots Are Not Created Equal

By | Jul.11.14 | 0 Comments

Friday Five

An earlier post talked about the importance of getting a professional headshot as a smart way to introduce yourself online and establish your brand. But do you know what potential clients are looking for in a photo?

Leigh McMillan does.

As vice president of marketing for Avvo, an online guide that offers legal advice and helps consumers research and find attorneys, her company recently investigated the top factors in how consumers choose an attorney. Research included results from a survey of 10,000 consumers along with focus groups and real-time observation of the choice process online.

The top criteria? Responsiveness. When probed further, consumers overwhelmingly said “what the lawyer looks like” is wrapped up in this. “In fact,” says McMillan, “looks are more important than where they went to law school.” READ THE REST

Productivity Tips

E-signature Questions Beating Your Paperless Plans?

By | Jul.10.14 | 2 Comments


So you made the decision to go paperless. You’ve grasped the concepts and technology you need and your systems are mostly set. But when you need to get someone’s signature on a document, your best-laid plans come to a screeching halt. That process typically involves printing the document, hand-signing it yourself, mailing or scanning or faxing to the other party — and then waiting for them to print, sign and mail, fax or scan and send it back to you, where it’s printed yet a third time and filed away in a cabinet forever.

It’s anything but paperless. It’s antiquated busy work. And, yes, there is a better way: Use e-signing tools. … READ THE REST