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Write Your Way To New Business By Writing for Magazines

One of the best ways for attorneys to get their name out and to position themselves as experts in their field is to get published. We live in a multitasking society. Doctors and lawyers are writers, fitness experts create vitamin supplements, and dog trainers get their own TV shows. One of the great things about being an attorney is that you’re already credentialed. You don’t have anything to prove. Use your legal credentials to your advantage and write your way to new clients.

People like experts. When the chips are down and potential clients are hunting for an attorney, they want someone who seems to really know their stuff. If your name is continually referenced within your niche market, this can only lead to more exposure and more business. The bottom line is that as an attorney, you have to market not only your law firm and its services, but yourself as well.

Don’t feel squeamish about this. Done the right way, marketing yourself does not diminish your reputation. On the contrary, it builds your reputation to the point where you will be turning clients away because your firm is in such high demand.

The Basics

Magazines need freelance writers and they love ones that come with credentials. If you notice that many of your clients make the same mistakes, maybe not having a living will or something along those lines—something that relates to a wide audience, write about it. Again, you have legal credentials, so you are already one step ahead of the competition. You can hire another writer to do some of the leg work for you if you truly can’t find the time to do it yourself, just make sure that you follow it up by putting your own personal touch on it. It needs to feel like it was written in your voice, with your unique style.

As a matter of fact, you should work to develop your own personal writing style. If someone follows articles that are written in your legal field, over time, you want them to be able to tell which ones probably came from you. This can sometimes be difficult for attorneys. They’re used to writing things that are going to be read because they are critical to a legal case. Writing in a way that needs to be interesting to keep readers engaged can be a challenge. Don’t be daunted. Ask friends, family, anyone who is not a lawyer to read over your work to help you determine if it is interesting and accessible.

Getting Ideas

Study articles and books written by other lawyers. The goal here is not to try to copy or repeat what they’ve done, but simply to help generate ideas. Watch the news. If there are stories or themes that keep reoccurring, ask yourself if there is a legal element that you discuss. Your writing does not need to exactly correlate with a legal case or a particular legal issue. Think of it as looking at everyday tasks through a legal lens.

Where to Publish

This is where you pitch your story idea to the magazine editor and detail your plan for writing it. First, decide to which magazine you’d like to pitch your idea. While there are numerous national magazines that accept work from freelance writers, there are also a multitude of regional magazines or trade magazines that may be a good place to get your feet wet.

One of the best places to start is Writer’s Digest. You can buy one in almost any major bookstore in America, or you can get all the information online with a paid membership. Going online for the information is often the best plan because the information is regularly updated. There you’ll find lists of thousands of magazines, some with readerships as small as 25,000. Remember that your main goal is to get clips that you can send out to clients and to others to increase your credibility.

Writing the Query Letter

What editors are looking for in a query letter is evidence that you can pull off writing the article. If you need to interview someone for the article, be sure to contact them for permission before you submit your query letter. Use the query letter to outline your plan for writing the article.

Before setting out to write the perfect article, know your rights. Conduct some research about copyright law. Then, when you get published, don’t keep it a secret. Let people know what you’re doing, either in your blog, monthly newsletter, or even just an individual mailing about your work.

Dave Lorenzo

Dave Lorenzo helps solo attorneys, large law firms and small independent law practices make a great living and live a great life. People say his down-to-earth personality reflects more of his street smarts than his Ivy-League education.

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Filed Under: Featured StoriesPractice Management

About the Author: Dave Lorenzo helps solo attorneys, large law firms and small independent law practices make a great living and live a great life. People say his down-to-earth personality reflects more of his street smarts than his Ivy-League education.

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