Listening to punctuation

Thanks to Julie Schrager, counsel and legal writing coach at Schiff Hardin, for this guest post.  I have been desperately trying to find a way to write about exclamation points. I grew up in a time when they were reserved for exclamations: “Congratulations on winning that game!” or “That’s the reason he got that promotion!” Lynne … Continue reading Listening to punctuation

Future trial lawyers, take heart

Listen Like a Lawyer will be delving into communication and writing in the next few posts. One reason this blog is generally dedicated to listening is that there are already many excellent legal-writing blogs available for the legal community. (For example: Forma Legalis, Lady Legal Writer, Law Prose, Legible,  and Ziff Blog, just to cite … Continue reading Future trial lawyers, take heart

From “The Education of a Lawyer”

With bar results coming in from many states this week, it's an opportune moment to recommend resources for newly minted lawyers. One good resource is Gary Muldoon's book The Education of a Lawyer: Essential Skills and Uncommon Advice for Building a Successful Career. It has many good passages; here's an anecdote on being receptive to feedback. Muldoon recounts … Continue reading From “The Education of a Lawyer”

Speed of speech < speed of thought

You could certainly accuse this blog of idealism about listening. In contrast to e-mail, for example, just go and talk to the person. Through listening to their words and observing their body language, you can pick up so much more subtle and complete information: How do they feel about the subject? What are their expectations … Continue reading Speed of speech < speed of thought

Listening’s influence on writing

When we talk about communication, we are talking about four basic channels: Listening Speaking Reading Writing Did you see a pattern in the color scheme here? The blue channels are receptive, and the red channels are productive. Listening and writing share the least in common, since listening is receptive and does not require literacy. Listening occurs in context with … Continue reading Listening’s influence on writing

Listenability and readability

The essential difficulty with writing is "the curse of knowledge," as Lisa Cron describes in her excellent book Wired for Story: The Writer's Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence. The writer is cursed with the knowledge of what he or she is trying to say -- knowledge that … Continue reading Listenability and readability

Better writing through listening

This post begins a series on listening and writing. Being a better listener can help with being a better writer. There are broad, non-law-specific reasons this is true, supported in the general communications literature. And there are law-specific reasons as well. From the general literature: Listening is the foundation for speaking, which is the foundation for reading, which … Continue reading Better writing through listening