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Legal Writing and Publishing

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The Perfect Pencil, the Perfect Pen

Like you, I take a lot of notes in my professional life. Over the years I’ve developed silly obsessions with the quality of Ampad legal pads and National Brand 33-004 notebooks. But I never thought much about pens. I tended to use whatever cheap ...

Bull Garlington - October 28, 2017
Get to the Point

You Can Conduct an Internet Search, But Should You Google?

I once defended a product liability case where the client was adamant that the product always be called a “personal watercraft.” It most definitely was not, he insisted, a Jet-Ski. The issue was the use of a trademark to refer to a similar ...

Theda C. Snyder - October 3, 2017
Get to the Point

Don’t Be Tricked by These False Friends

Some words sound like they mean one thing when they actually mean something very different. Using one of these false friends incorrectly could cause you a problem. But It Sounded Right … The term “false friends” traditionally refers to words ...

Theda C. Snyder - September 11, 2017
Content Marketing Tips for Lawyers

Harnessing the Intuitive, Persuasive Power of Analogy

We all struggle with conveying complicated ideas, whether in spoken or written communication. The issue is particularly acute in the fields of law and medicine, where professionals work to explain issues and situations in which the audience ...

Susan Kostal - September 5, 2017
Man with index finger pointed up Get to the Point

Contronyms: Context Controls Comprehension

Sanctions. That word has always troubled me. It’s a contronym, a word that has opposite meanings. Lawyers know that a motion for sanctions asks the court to penalize an adversary’s bad act. But other English speakers define a sanction as a ...

Theda C. Snyder - August 7, 2017
Content Marketing Tips for Lawyers

Proofreading and Mindfulness: Bringing a Nonjudgmental Observer to Your Copy

With spellcheckers and online grammar guardians such as Grammarly, proofreading has become a nostalgic pastime for some writers. But proofreading is more than spotting typographical errors; it is a chance to impartially consider usage and ...

Susan Kostal - July 5, 2017
Man with index finger pointed up Get to the Point

Why Superlatives May Not Be So Super

Get to the Point has previously preached that specificity enhances credibility. In fact, I’m working on a cross-stitch with this aphorism to place on the office wall. Using an unsupported superlative flouts this rule.

Theda C. Snyder - June 13, 2017
Content Marketing Tips for Lawyers

Style Guides: Maintaining a Healthy Relationship Between Creator and Content

Most of us have a generally good grasp of English usage and punctuation. The problem is that some usage and punctuation errors are so subtle and pervasive that we are tricked into thinking they are correct. Additionally, language use is ...

Susan Kostal - June 1, 2017
Man with index finger pointed up Get to the Point

Qualifiers Do Not Increase Quality

You can’t be persuasive if your message is confusing. Whether you’re arguing a motion or giving an interview on a political issue, clarity is what counts. A qualifier changes the meaning of another word or phrase. Too many qualifiers convolute ...

Theda C. Snyder - May 10, 2017
Content Marketing Tips for Lawyers

Write Your Way Into the Euphemism-Free Zone

Last month’s United Airlines overbooking debacle and the subsequent PR disaster and brand implosion has me thinking of the value of communicating clearly. There’s much to be critical of in United’s behavior and initial poorly worded erstwhile ...

Susan Kostal - May 1, 2017