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Measure Twice, Cut Once

We took this shot a few years ago in the city. If you’re a local you may know the place; however, it is not as obvious as you may think.

Every lawyer I know seems to have their own writing style. Want to improve your writing skills, especially your legal writing? Take your time. This is the one common trait that will distinguish a good legal writer from a greater one.

When I was much younger, a priest mentor at our Miami parish would always tell me, “Jason, measure twice, cut once.” In grade school at the time, I had no idea what he was talking about. As any young one with excess energy stores, it was about getting it done. Fast.

Eventually, as a I grew much older, I figured out that the old Bible-quoting priest was on to something. In this Internet-crazed and social media interconnected world, that maxim is even more important for attorneys. They do not teach it in law school. That’s too bad.

In fact some law schools think they’ve developed tricks to subconsciously teach you to go faster and crank out better product. The law does not work that way and your client deserve better. They are not paying you to rush. Clients are paying you to think and solve problems. I think Capitol Hill, as well as some regulatory bodies in the Executive branch, could use a dose of this approach as well. Sometimes, you only have one shot to make your point to a judge, regulator, or policymaker. Make it count.

Rushing is never a good idea. Save that approach for blogging or Twitter — and even then, be creative. Your readers will appreciate it.

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