Letters of the Law

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Tetra Images/Getty Images

Tetra Images/Getty Images

Legal content writing can be so challenging that even longtime experts in the field typically need to do some research before starting a new blog post or news piece. If you write one piece on, say, how to roast chili peppers, then you know everything there is to know about roasting chili peppers. Chili peppers are pretty much all done evolving, at least to the extent that there’s not going to be very much to learn about them a year from now that you don’t know now. Law doesn’t work that way.

Law evolves through a combination of legislation and precedent, meaning that something that was legal last week might not be today. Precedent is typically set in the courtroom by the judge’s decision. To write knowledgeably about law demands to-the-minute research. As with developing stories in medicine, science and politics, you simply can’t take for granted that what was true when you published your last blog post is still true for this one.

Here are some tips for staying up to date on new developments in the legal field:

  • Focus on one area.

Most lawyers focus on a particular type of law. If you provide web content to legal professionals, focusing in a particular area of law will serve two purposes: giving you and your writers a tighter area of focus, and positioning yourself as a leader of a niche-within-a-niche.

  • Keep up with law blogs.

If law firms and other legal services are employing you to produce content, chances are it has a marketing angle to it, you’re producing content for the layman to let them know how to navigate the judicial system, and hopefully send an email your client’s way. Blogs with more of a hard-news and research bent, or those written by legal professionals, can be a tremendous resource.

  • Ask questions.

Whenever you take on a new client or a new project from an old client, it can pay off to ask them some basic questions about their practice. What sort of clients do they take on? What income level do most of their clients come from? What are most of their cases like? This can help you narrow down the area to research, and better speak to their ideal reader.

If you take on legal assignments, know that the job takes a little extra research, but it’s easy to earn repeat business in this niche, given that not everyone is willing to put in the extra work.

 

Gilbert S is a writer and artist who lives in rural New Mexico with his dog, Sir Kay, and his wife.

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