Does your writing style differ depending on whether you are writing an email or a letter? A blog post or a brief?
A less formal tone may be appropriate for some forms of communication, but that does not mean that the rules of spelling and grammar don’t apply online. For better or worse, some people will pass harsh judgment for spelling and grammar errors, even when the errors appear in an email sent from an iPhone.
In a recent Harvard Business Review blog post, Kyle Wiens writes that poor grammar skills indicate that a person is sloppy and slow to learn. This is even more true in electronic communication, where words are all you have, according to Wiens. Taking a minute to self-edit online communications conveys respect for the reader and decreases the likelihood of an embarrassing autocorrect error. In the law business, where credibility is your greatest asset, spelling and grammar gaffes subtly decrease your persuasiveness.
A lawyer is always writing as a lawyer, whether in a filing with the court or in an email to a colleague. The speed of electronic communication makes it tempting to forgo the conventions of good writing, but it’s a risk with little reward.