Boston is the home of much legal prowess. After all, Harvard Law is nearby and other good law schools cluster in the metro area. Many of those graduates have built a network in their school years and decide to stay and build a practice.
Unfortunately, the market for legal writing isn't as vibrant. Here is a help-wanted from the Boston section of Craigslist which seeks a "Legal Content Writer" at the pay rate of 5-cents per word. The tasks include producing "quality content" for legal documents, press releases, and websites. The employer's standards, the ad states, "are high."
Just as unfortunately, these low rates track with the dismal compensation provided nationally for much of the plain-vanilla kinds of legal writing oriented toward marketing. Where's the money? It takes trial and error to pick up the scent. But pick it up I have. That was after I did enough of the low-end work to get my arms around the unique organizational culture of the legal sector [as a client] and build a strong portfolio of diverse samples.
The money can be old-time big-time in researching and creating information and insight intense whitepapers for successful law firms embracing new models. They have the eyes of the world, including the global media, on them and recognize their growth could be exponentially increased with sophisticated marketing materials to distribute. Whatever they send to the media will be at least looked at. Prospects will be impressed. Current clients will re-assured they selected the best representation.
Another lucrative area is positioning and packaging material for websites for financial services firms and other professional services which involve the law. This work pays the best if it comes through a successful marketing communications or public relations agency. The number of help-wanted from those kinds of possible clients has been increasing.
As with so many lines of work, there is a low end and there is a high end. Instead of grousing about the compensation at the low end, figure out what attitude and behavior modifications have to be made to get and stay in the high end. Among mine was having a mindset that I had to jump when the client wanted something new or a revision on something old. Yes, just as in a law firm, I had to be at my computer and phone and leap into action. Another change was increasing my attention to detail. But, across the board, there's a return to accuracy of word choice, grammar, and spelling. And, third, I had to embrace the angst wired into the new normal. Clients are edgy. The trick is not to allow that to be contagious and impede our ability to perform.