caution

Practice Safe Law

You’re starting to mature into your practice, I can see that. You’re discovering new documents in new places and you’re developing new feelings toward judges, juries, and jurisdictions. I see that you’ve also started to notice clients. Hey, I don’t blame you! Clients are the yin to the attorney’s yang, the Jack to your Diane, […]

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WSBA Sections: A Road to a Niche Practice

Learn more about WSBA Sections at Open Sections Night on Jan. 16! An attorney who holds a valid Washington State Bar license is, technically, qualified to render legal advice to a client concerning any subject. But the “womb-to-tomb” general practitioner seems to be in decline; the information age has given rise to savvier clients who […]

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Men’s Fall Fashion: Overcoats!

Winter is coming! Here are 3 coats that will fit nicely over a suit jacket. I wear a suit all day, every day. My closet is packed with so many suits that I hardly have room for much else, especially not my collection of unopened Coke Zero cans depicting images from the 2010 Winter Olympics […]

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Friday 5: Free iPhone Apps to Help with New Year’s Resolutions

Because even the most resolute need help now and again. On Dec. 31, 2001, I made a New Year’s resolution to never again make another New Year’s resolution. It’s the only resolution I’ve ever managed to keep. I’m a notorious quitter who had never before followed through on any of the crazy resolutions I had imagined […]

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Lazy Quotes

Write better! Don’t use long block quotes in place of legal analysis. Legal writing is meant to help a judge (or whoever is the legal writer’s intended reader) decide a difficult problem. In that regard, incorporating direct quotes from judicial opinions or statutes can be a highly effective means of legal writing advocacy. But too […]

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Take a Stand, Live Healthier

Sitting all day puts you at an increased risk for diabetes, weight gain, and heart attacks. Take a stand, literally. Most attorneys suffer from a life-threatening disease. The ailment may not come from monkeys, birds, pigs, or secret government-run chemical factories, and Dustin Hoffman may not be chasing it across California with Rene Russo. (That’s right, […]

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Enough Said

Trent Latta explains why you should treat “said” like other 4-letter words in legal writing. Perhaps the most irritating and antiquated word in the legal industry is “said.” This four-letter word’s lifetime has come to an end; it is time to stop using it. Enough is enough. “Said” is not unlike a curse word. I […]

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An Ethical Case of the Blaws

The legal profession ranks among the highest professionals with significantly depressed members. In an October 2011 article written for De Novo, I explored the reasons attorneys are more likely depressed, and potentially suicidal, than their white-collar peers. In that same article, I also argued that attorneys who suffer from mental health disorders, such as chronic […]

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Don’t Call Me Plaintiff, Call Me Ishmael

Learn how dropping “Plaintiff” and “Defendant” in favor of proper names can make your writing more persuasive. Good legal writing — and successful legal advocacy in general — is more than just presenting facts and law. It’s about telling your client’s story in a compelling, emotionally engaging manner that ultimately persuades the judge or jury […]

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We Are Writers

When people ask what I do for a living, I easily answer, “I’m an attorney.”  But after having had the pleasure of attending Bryan Garner’s writing seminar recently in Seattle, I’m more apt to answer, “I’m a writer.” Bryan Garner is editor of Black’s Law Dictionary and author of several books and treatises on legal […]

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This is a sentence.

In his slim treatise How to Write a Sentence: and How to Read One, law professor, author, and writing aficionado Stanley Fish argues that good sentences, above all else, make good writing. Fish’s book is really more a long love letter to the written word than a short treatise on usage. But the letter’s instructional […]

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No Longer Isolated

Jorn Barger, the artificial intelligence enthusiast and essayist, first coined the term “weblog” in 1997. Two years later, Evan Williams, founder of the Internet companies Twitter and Blogger, turned the phrase into the now-preferred term “blog.” Since then, society has embraced the blog as a personal and professional outlet. Anyone with an email address can […]

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