Initially, it might seem like the easiest solution to outsource the writing of your law firm's blogs to a student in law school. After all, this student will have a natural interest in the law as well as experience learning the importance of case law being accurate when writing materials in the industry and the general understanding of the terms and key concepts within the law.
However, before you hire a law school student to write your law firm's blogs and website content, be aware that there is another important component of online marketing that you should screen for when working with any legal copywriter.
What Makes for a Good Legal Copywriter?
A good legal copywriter should have not just experience in the field and a general awareness of concepts within the law but strong online marketing knowledge, including concepts like speaking to an audience online, how to write copy that is scannable, terms and keywords to use for the purposes of search engine optimization, common questions and concerns presented by your ideal clients that can be addressed in all of your marketing materials, such as your website, brochures, eBooks and more.
All of this information can be learned through experience or by taking courses and reading books about the topic. However, your average law school student also has a significant portion of their time invested into studying for law school and working to gain a position in a law firm, post-graduation.
Why Law School Students Might Not be the Right Fit
Not only are the time constraints on a law school student troubling enough to mean that they might not be able to meet the deadlines you have established, but unless they have online marketing experience in addition to attending law school, their legal knowledge alone is not enough to bridge the gap. If you find a law school student who is also extremely interested in online marketing and has a good grasp of the concepts mentioned above, he or she could be the perfect fit for writing your law firm's blog.
However, having worked in this industry for many years, it is rare to find such a person who also has the time to fit in working on your projects in their existing schedule to meet your overall deadlines. There is a happy medium here in hiring a legal copywriter who is interested in the law, who has experience writing for law firms and understands the things that can and cannot be put forward in branded materials by your company, and who also has enough experience working in the legal field to have a good understanding of general concepts and concerns presented by clients.
Most law firms who are savvy enough about online marketing recognize that outsourcing to a freelancer means looking for the online marketing experience first and then screening for the legal passion and expertise. This means that other people, such as legal researchers, former paralegals, previous legal secretaries and those who have worked in the legal field before as an attorney, might be better suited to working on our online marketing materials when compared directly with a law school student.
Most attorneys know that online marketing is a long-term experience. Identifying a law school student who may be swamped with working as a clerk over the summer months or one who accepts a full-time position in which they will need to work many hours during their first year might not be the right fit for you because you will be all the way back to square one searching for a new legal copywriter after you've just hired someone in this role recently. In fact, the vast majority of my legal SEO writing clients ask me at the outset of the relationship, whether I will be able to work with them over the next couple of years.
While most understand that sudden changes in life events could impact that general commitment, they know that I am unlikely to take a full-time position elsewhere that would drastically reduce my hours and make me unable to work on their projects overall. Make sure that you consider all of these factors when determining whether or not to hire a legal copywriter who is in law school.
Most law school students will have a limited understanding of online marketing concepts. Ask them how frequently they have served in the role of writing for the internet and what other projects they have worked on for previous law firms. Another thing to be aware of when hiring law school students is their use of jargon. Law school students, much like many attorneys, are in the world of reading, theorizing or even practicing law under the guidance of a mentor in which they use, what I refer to as legal jargon.
The way the legal briefs and essays for law school are written is quite different from writing for a lay audience who does not understand the complicated statutes, case laws and other issues involved in how the law is created, interpreted and applied. This makes someone who has an academic based knowledge of the law a difficult choice for writing in the online marketing space because they will be writing for other attorneys or for professors. This is not a good match with your prospective audience unless you are a law firm that services other attorneys or corporate clients who expect a certain level of finesse and language to be used in all of your marketing materials.
All of these complex issues must be considered when choosing a legal copywriter. A law school student could be the right fit for the short term but use a sample project to figure out whether this person can truly handle all of the complex aspects of writing for your law firm online.
Need a legal writer? I currently have one opening for a client! Send me a message!