In an article published by the National Law Review back in 2014, author Kimberly Alford Rice laid out tips for effective communication. Here are our top five tips for young lawyers, from that article:
- Less is more. Make your writing clear and concise getting right to the point instead of longwinded explanations. There is no need to include the entire history of the law.
- Adopt the good communication skills of a supervising partner or senior associate. Read what they have written and take note of their edits on your drafts. Copying their vocabulary or word choices, if done correctly, is an effective form of flattery, and supervising partners will be less likely to criticize your word choice if it sounds like their own.
- Clarify instructions. Confirm your understanding of an assignment in writing to avoid a later misunderstanding or wasting time and client money. With email, it is even easier to confirm in writing.
- Promptly return phone calls, emails, and other communications. A good rule of thumb is to respond to communications within 24 hours, whenever possible.
- Be careful about what you write. Jokes, gossip, complaint, and sarcasm in emails can be taken out of context and can change the complexion of a case. Such emails are often the “bad documents” every veteran litigator has come across. When writing an email, it is important to remember that emails never go away.
Jessica Pieri is an associate at the Law Offices of Alfred Morrocco.