My mentor told me that when I was a young associate in New York City. Even though I know the power of words, his phrase struck me. When I was growing up, every job I imagined for myself involved being a great communicator – whether it meant being a lawyer, teacher or reporter. And in the law — just as in teaching or journalism — everyone respects words.
Everyone knows their power.
Take a car accident lawyer, for example. The accident lawyer’s job is to take every fact that happened, line it up on paper, and make order out of chaos, like magic. This is one of the reasons I love injury work. Words on paper can be the difference between winning the claim or not.
Similarly, with an estate plan, you may have wishes, hopes, and dreams for your family – maybe repairing a strained relationship, or caring for a child with special needs, or helping a child with a spending or a drug abuse problem.
The estate planning lawyer’s job is to put on paper the contingencies and aspects of your plans, so that whatever happens, your wishes for your family will be followed. And again, it is all just words on paper – but words with magical power to make things happen in the world. Words, again, can be the difference between receiving your inheritance or not.
This is one of the reasons I am always working to communicate. I do my technical legal work every day. But I go above and beyond that. I have hosted a radio show and a podcast about the law, attempting to explain its concepts to ordinary people. I do the same thing with a TV show. My aim is not only to “demystify the law,” but to help ordinary people approach it with a sense of confidence.