I never dreamt of being a lawyer with my own legal practice in personal injury or criminal defense. It wasn’t my childhood dream. I didn’t look up to legal professionals. The profession didn’t call to me. So then, why did I decide to go to law school? It seems odd, right? Except it isn’t. Not everyone that goes to law school wants to become a lawyer. Let me tell you the story of how I became a law content writer.
How I Ended Up In Law School
To tell you the story of how I ended up in law school, I need to take you back to high school. I was an overachiever and that kid in high school who was in the AP classes and attended the local community college at night. By the time I graduated high school, I had enough college credits to make my college career much easier. I could take extra classes that sounded appealing but didn’t directly contribute to my marketing major. I chose to minor in American Studies. It was an enlightening cultural journey through American history.
Fast forward to my final year of college, and I’m planning out my classes for my senior year. I figured out that I only needed a couple more classes and could graduate after the fall semester instead of the spring semester. I really wanted the spring graduation experience, so I needed to find some more classes to take. So I started looking at other minors. As I looked through the list, I realized I only needed three more classes and I could also earn a Business Law minor. So I signed myself up. By the time the spring semester came, I was in love. I loved reading the cases and discussing legal topics. Right then and there, I decided to apply to law school and follow my new passion.
People seem to hate the LSAT, but I didn’t have that experience. I loved the LSAT. Growing up, I played a lot of logic and puzzle games. I found the LSAT to be a fun exercise that harkened back to my childhood. I took the LSAT twice to get the score that I needed to get into my law school of choice, Stetson. I’ll be honest; I didn’t do a lot of research when applying to different law schools. The only school I wanted to go to Stetson. I was currently attending the undergrad in Deland, and my hometown was within driving distance of the law school campus in Gulfport. If I couldn’t get into Stetson, I figured I wasn’t meant to go to law school. Luckily, I got in, and off I went.
I’ll admit, I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into when I walked onto the Stetson Law School campus. It seemed to me that everyone took everything way too seriously. There was strange hypocrisy as you sat through lectures about drug and alcohol abuse caused by high-stress environments, and then a high-stress environment was created by the school and faculty.
Extreme importance is placed on rank, not on learning. I knew that no one would care about your class rank a few years post-graduation, so why care about it in school? I was more concerned with learning the law, not with outperforming my classmates. This mindset made me a bit of an outcast. Of course, I didn’t mind since I knew I was there for a different purpose.
There’s a saying among students, first-year they scare you to death, second year they work you to death, and third-year they bore you to death. This statement was an accurate statement of my experience in law school. The first year was spent trying to stay out of the crossfire of professors in class. You see, I hate public speaking, and with classes that had 70-100 people in them, getting called on was my literal nightmare. I could know the case forward and back, but my mind went blank as soon as they called on me. Totally blank. The professor would stand there, looking at me like I was stupid. I’m standing there, hating myself inside because I know the answers, but I can’t seem to get them out.
Second-year was much easier. I was able to pick the classes that I wanted to take. I avoided the trial classes; that wasn’t my practice area of interest. Instead, I took the intellectual courses that inspired thought and analytic thinking. One particular class focused on law in literature, and I loved it! I remember writing an in-depth analysis of a Clockwork Orange and thoroughly enjoying it. There was another course that I took on military law and found it just clicked for me. I scored top of the class for that course.
By my third year, I knew what I wanted, and that was to not be a lawyer. Everyone around me was stressed out to the max, and they weren’t even out of law school yet. I wanted work-life balance, to actually help people who needed it, and loved studying the law, but I did not want to be a lawyer. Unfortunately, Stetson’s career development department didn’t know what to do with that information. They were geared to place each student into an established law practice, like an assembly line of lawyers. Since I didn’t fit the mold, I was on my own. That turned out to be a blessing because if I had allowed the school to influence my goals, I don’t think I would have ended up on my path to legal content writing. I graduated from Stetson University College of Law in 2011 with my Juris Doctor.
Becoming a Law Content Writer
After law school, I decided to go back into content marketing. You see, the legal industry is a slow-moving one, like a dinosaur. The digital marketing industry is a fast-moving one, like a squirrel. A lot had changed in the three years that I had stepped away to go to law school. I had to catch up on best practices for social media, search engine optimization (SEO), press releases, white papers, website content, and copy writing. So I found marketing positions that would allow me to study and learn everything I could about marketing. I focused on my full-time job while treating my personal goal of becoming a legal writer as my part time career. I slowly progressed in my marketing career, learning as much as I could and gaining as much experience as I could.
Oddly enough, my marketing career brought me full circle back to law. A commercial real estate company hired me to work in the marketing department. I was responsible for their social media, web content, and print media. After some time, the company’s attorney needed help. I was promoted to help him process and manage contracts. This gave me real-world working experience in law as I prepared and managed documents for his review. Then the day finally came, the opportunity I was waiting for. I had been laid off from my current position and had enough saved where I could go after my dream of working for myself in content marketing. I began applying for freelance content writing positions, some of them in the legal field. After a while, I secured a legal content writer position, then another one, and another.
Before I knew it, I was providing legal content writing services to law firm across the country. I gained a broad range of experience, from writing content for web pages, such as practice area pages, to writing monthly posts for law blogs.
Writing About the Law
I’ve noticed that freelance writers without years of experience in law do not have what it takes to effectively write content for a legal blog or landing pages on law firm websites. It is my opinion that you need to have real-world experience writing about the law to write a high-quality piece of content about the law. However, in contrast, lawyers do not always have the approach when writing marketing content. They are skilled at writing briefs, contracts, and other legal documents. They do not have skills for writing quality legal content that make their target audience want to actually read and engage with.
This combination of skills, experience, and background makes me so successful at meeting the content needs of my clients. I have a legal background that enables me to research, understand, and accurately write about legal issues. I also have a marketing background that helps me write about the law in an approachable and engaging way that makes potential clients want to read the content. This has enabled me to become a law content writer that can craft new content to meet the legal marketing needs of law firms across the country in a variety of specialties.