You are a lawyer or a business person. You must communicate your ideas to others on a regular basis. You pride yourself on the depth of your knowledge in your particular field or practice area, having spent years clearing the hurdles of an elementary, college and graduate education. You are now on the job, earning a living based in large part on the same written communication that secured your passage through a long and challenging educational process. Throughout your career, you have employed your writing in examinations, papers, letters, briefs, reports and emails. You now are being challenged to write in emerging venues. There is little question that your results are directly affected by how well your thoughts are communicated and how positively your written work is received.
Given your long-standing affiliation with the use of words as a means to your ends, you understandably pride yourself on your written work. But can your written work be improved? Can you polish your communication even further to more effectively sway the judge, the officer, the jury, the client, the boss, the panel or any other audience you may wish to address? Can you tweak your words with just one more pass and drive home your point of view in a more direct and persuasive manner? The answer is always YES, whether you are a writer by trade or a writer by necessity.
Giving your work multiple reads and edits takes valuable time. For attorneys, time is directly related to money, which is easily measured by the hours that otherwise could be devoted to legal billing or rain-making. For business professionals, time spent re-reading, editing or generating written communication takes away from other profitable pursuits involving direct client contact or verbal communication with peers, supervisors or others who can influence your bottom line. More often than not, the calculus of how much your writing and editing time costs yields a substantial number, reaching hundreds, even thousands, of dollars.
This is where I come in. My firm, Advantage Advocates, provides many services related to this cause, including editing and proof-reading of existing documents. We ghostwrite new documents from scratch using your ideas and information. We can support your ideas with research or provide ideas that you have not yet considered. These services are offered at very reasonable rates that most likely are much lower than the value of your time spent performing the same tasks.
Is it worth it to put that extra coat of gloss on your words? You betcha! My inspiration for writing this obviously self-serving post was my reading of a post by David Zaring over at The Conglomerate on a practice of U.S. Supreme Court Justices and clerks of lifting passages from the winning brief when writing the opinions. Zaring is reporting on the findings of Pamela Corley, a professor at Vanderbilt University, who has measured this phenomenon using plagiarism software. One of the factors that Corley and, in turn, Zaring, suggest may encourage “brief-quoting” is the quality of the brief itself. Zaring also posits that the likelihood the brief will be heavily quoted in the opinion increases with the size of the court’s case load and probably is even greater at the intermediate appellate and district or lower court levels. It is not the least bit surprising that a court faced with a well-written persuasive brief is more likely to employ that attorney’s words when explaining why it reached a result favorable to that attorney’s clients. I will wager that a similar phenomenon occurs in the business world, where it is easier to rely on a contributor’s well-written passage than it is to reinvent the wheel when preparing a report or white paper.
I see this phenomenon as conclusive support for my raison d’etre. If your work product is better than the competitions’ product, then who is more likely to win the case or seal the deal? If your work product can be improved with the help of an editor, why wouldn’t you employ one to secure your win? And, if it is cheaper to use an editor to hone your words than it is to put that extra time into the project yourself, the case for an editor surely is open and shut!
For many of us, positive public opinion regarding our expertise and professionalism directly relates to the quality of our written work. Your words often are the first or only “face” your audience sees. Your stock value soars when your written work shines. Consider Advantage Advocates to be your “shoe shine girl” – the faithful servant keeping an eye on your polish while you keep an eye on the results!