LawProse Lesson #380: Lawyers as hobbyists

LawProse Lesson #380: Lawyers as hobbyists

We know lawyers who are avid gardeners, sports fans, musicians, oenophiles, philatelists, car enthusiasts, and golfers. Of course, that’s just a sampling. It’s good to have a hobby you take seriously. We applaud that.

But how many lawyers know as much about using the language well as they do about their favorite hobby? Not many, by our reckoning.

The fact is that lawyers earn their fees for only two types of performance: speaking and writing. Everything you learn in law school is merely preparatory to one of those types of performance. Words are our only tools, and there’s a great deal of know-how involved in using words effectively—much more than is commonly recognized.

We seriously doubt whether you’d want neurological surgery performed by a surgeon who knows more about 1960s sports cars than about neurology, or your home built by a builder who follows high-school football more closely than developments in building standards and materials. You get the idea.

At LawProse, we encourage lawyers to follow their vocation at least as fervently as their avocations. That means being good with words: effective words placed effectively. Please think on it.

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