Let’s face it. Most legal briefs and memoranda can be dreadfully boring. Worse, writing them can be time consuming. That’s why using the doodles you inevitably create during the drafting process can beef up your briefs and add a little pizzaz that makes all the difference in your final legal arguments.
Doodling has existed since humans scratched out stick figure hunters and water buffalo on cave walls, hundreds of years ago. So why limit an ancient art form to your legal pad, especially when it often reflects your best and most powerful thinking? Here are some suggestions to for incorporating doodles in your legal briefs and in your practice generally.
1. Set Aside the Space
We’ll be the first to admit that it’s hard to include doodles in your final legal document if your doodles typically exist on envelopes, post-it notes, and on attorney photos in the local bar association directory. To accommodate your artwork, you’ll need to be pro-active about including space in your briefs so that you can include doodles later, once the brief is done. While that may mean your original work is left on your desk, it doesn’t have to be. Use your Xerox machine to transfer the image to your brief. Or, simply cut out the doodle with scissors and, with a touch of rubber cement, include it in the space you reserved. The key, though, is to pre-reserve that space in your brief, contract, or other legal document.
2. Commit to Doodling
Doodling is typically free-form thoughts laid down on whatever is nearby (don’t confuse it with graffiti, which has a larger impact that we’ll cover in another post). But, to take doodling to the next step, you’ll need to be a little more organized and committed. Commit to doodling whenever you can. One easy way to do this is to keep a pencil and your client files close at hand. When opposing counsel calls, grab the pencil and the client file associated with the caller. You’ll be pleasantly surprised what you doodle while talking to opposing counsel. Importantly, though, you’ll have the file close at hand and the resulting doodle can easily be included in the file for later use in legal briefs, correspondence, memoranda, or faxes.
3. Don’t Sweat the Feedback
Sure, a well-placed doodle may offend a judge or harsh the mellow of opposing counsel. But that just means you’ve struck a chord with your arguments and have engaged the reader. As judges and counsel get used to your creative and effective advocacy, they will actually look forward to (and likely comment on) each of your submissions. Ultimately, you’ll burnish your reputation and set yourself apart from all of the other non-doodling attorneys. And that’s the ultimate success in law firm marketing. In other words, you’ll definitely be thanking Big Legal Brain later.