Writing Guidelines for Attorney At Work - Attorney at Work

It’s simple. Attorney at Work promises readers one really good idea every day. Whether by e-mail, RSS, Facebook or Twitter, subscribers to our “Daily Dispatch” receive a single item consisting of 500-700 useful and enlightening words every morning, five days a week. These are busy and smart people who have neither time nor patience for lengthy explanations or multiple points, let alone footnotes. We give it to them straight.

If you’d like to write for us—and we hope you will!—here’s the deal:
  • Speak to the individual lawyer. While they may practice in a big firm, small firm, law department, solo or from the local Starbucks, our subscribers’ concerns when they get to Attorney at Work are about their own practices and, especially, their own lives. That means we’re not interested in articles about things like organization management, compensation systems, retreat planning or merging firms UNLESS you write about them in a way that helps the individual lawyer work better within them. We are always interested in things like personal productivity, developing new clients, supervising staff, getting along with paralegals, managing your time, making sure family is a precedent. You get the idea: You’re talking to a person, not a firm.
  • Make it fun, and make it easy. This isn’t the law review. Get to the point quickly and make the ride getting there somewhat entertaining. Insert your personality and point of view. If you are telling “how to” do something, break it out in steps, bullets or a numbered list. Provide a short, snappy title that will immediately give readers the gist of your piece, too! Read some of the posts on our website. You’ll get the feel.
  • Do not “sell from the podium.” Don’t even think about using this to pitch your product or service. If it smells like selling, it’s selling. And we’ll either pitch it or send it back so you can take another run at it. Don’t worry, we’ll make it easy for our readers to link to you and your website. And we’ll include a brief bio along with your photo on our contributors page. But, if you’re going to tell us about a specific type of product, tell us about several brand or vendor options for it. Let our readers decide from there.
  • Be brief. Really. 300 to 500 words is perfect. We’ll take less if you can get what needs to be said across in fewer words. If it’s more words, and it’s good, we MAY consider using it as one of our periodical “Extras.”
  • Link it. Like we said, our readers want the straight skinny, and now. If you discuss different products, give us the hyperlinks so they can quickly check them out. If you reference an expert, help us link to their home page. That’s how 300 words can do the work of a 1,000.
  • Make it NEW. If you’ve published the same thought or tip elsewhere, online or in another medium, we probably don’t want it. Update it, add something new and different, or wait until you have a fresh idea to send. If you want to excerpt or update one of your own, longer works (say you are a famous book author or widely published writer), that might be fine. Ask first. Get reprint permission if needed, and give us the original publishing information and links.
The Fine Print
  • Be original. When you send us a Dispatch item, you are promising it is your original work. If you quote someone, or refer to, comment on or endorse another’s ideas or work, credit it and give full attribution to sources. Go overboard with your credits and links, we’ll follow them and edit as needed.
  • Let us do our jobs. When you send a Dispatch item, you agree to be edited to fit our space and style. Nobody’s perfect. We all need good editors, so you’ll have to trust us.
  • Ownership. We ask to be the first to publish your “work,” but you keep the original copyright and can republish it however you wish. We only ask you for the courtesy of including something like “Previously published in Attorney at Work“. We also keep the right to reuse the work, for example, in compilations or reviews, but will let you know when we do.
  • Send it! Please send queries to merrilyn@attorneyatwork.com. We will do our best to get back to you promptly, but please no phone calls. Attorney at Work is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts.
What to write about?
  • Anything that might immediately improve a practicing lawyer’s work or life, including: Something you know really, really well.
  • Something you feel passionate about.
  • Something that has helped you.
  • Checklists, “how to” instructions, the “best of” and “six ways” for anything are always big hits.