Is there anything cooler than wishing a friend well, high-five-style? (A: No.)

Is there anything cooler than wishing a friend well, high-five-style? (A: No.)

Every now and then, there’s a topic that is made for Change of Venue Friday. And so here we are.

I may be a day late, but I am happy to spread the word that yesterday was National High-Five Day.

What does that mean? Well, does everything have to mean something? Can’t we just live?

But if you insist on actual information, then read more about it here. And perhaps that day explains why folks were “going high” yesterday as they passed you in the hall.

No one did? How sad. To be less-than-high-five-worthy, I mean.

I leave you, tired after a hard week, with a few pop-culture high-fives (the best kind, right?). I even include one that was a sorry #fail. What more could you ask?

high five met your mother tumblr_mour8uCIXU1r1rq39o1_500

conan-up-high five

When-George-Costanza-Seinfeld-Has-High-Five-Fail

Have a wonderful—and affirming—weekend.

A hat-tip to the ever-alert Bar Association of San Francisco for the news about High-Five Day!

Picture this.

No, I mean it: Picture this blog, not filled with streams of annoying words, but instead illustrating its main points in visual ways.

If you think you’re down with that, then we’re on the same page.

Understand, I’m all about the words. But I’ve been hankering for the past year for more pics and fewer verbal tics. And I have found infographics a terrific tool (maybe I just need a new reading prescription). And in Arizona Attorney Magazine, I’m trying to see where we can use infographics to good effect.

What is an infographic? You may have viewed them and not been familiar with the label. Here’s an example from the highly accomplished Bar Association of San Francisco:

Bar Association of San Francisco infographic

Cool, right?

And here is another shared by Association Media & Publishing:

infographic AMP Association Media and Publishing

Recently, I’ve engaged in a dialogue with a great member of the magazine’s Editorial Board. She too is intrigued by the possible legal uses of infographics. Because she’s efficient, though, she didn’t just muse on it. Instead, Ashley Kasarjian created one, and she’s on her way to creating others.

You may know Ashley as the author of the nationally recognized Employment and the Law Blog. And in her day job (oh, that), she’s an attorney at Snell & Wilmer.

Now, because we blog writers love us a little web-traffic, I’m not going to reprint Ashley’s whole infographic here. For that, you have to travel over here and give her a little SEO love. But here is a snippet of what she’s up to:

Ashley Kasarjian infographic

A portion of an infographic by Ashley Kasarjian

As you can surmise, she’s cooked up a Venn diagram of sorts (and who doesn’t love a Venn diagram?). So surf over to see the whole thing.

I happen to know that Ashley’s subsequent efforts are aimed at including even fewer words. Be still my heart!

(In fact, I will let you in on a little secret: Ashley has thrown down the gauntlet and suggested an infographic battle. I’ve accepted, naturally, but I may be in trouble, given that she’s already jumped in while I still simply ruminate. On the other hand, I’ve warned her that I am willing to include the ever-popular puppies and kittens; as a distinguished Snell attorney, she’s out of luck on that score! #winning)

But you may be unconvinced that such an accessible, concise and comprehensible tool has any place in the practice of law. Therefore, I urge you to set aside your reading of Bleak House and your admiration of Jarndyce and Jarndyce, while I share with you some reasons for you to embrace the brave new visual world.

So: Here are 5 reasons I learned to stop worrying and love the infographic:

1. Clients may love them, and they make your content more valuable to them.

Your background and experience likely mean that you have valuable content to share. And if you have a website (you do have a website, don’t you?), it may be brimming with content out the wazoo. But let’s be real; your mom may be reading it, but other people have higher standards. Why don’t you take some suggestions to make that content sing?

2. Your partners insist on depth, but they don’t read to the end of your memos either.

I am aware of the requirements of law practice; that 17-page brief on whether gravel should be regulated as a building material or a mineral had to be written. But your audience (even your partners) are yearning for the executive summary. What if that brief one-pager were fronted by an infographic setting out the rocky principles? Sure, you might get fired. But you’re a trailblazer.

Read here why simple = powerful, and why “Psychological research on cognitive fluency shows why easy to understand = more profitable, more pleasurable, more intelligent and safer.”

3. We’re all (even attorneys) visual thinkers.

That’s right, even you, with your Juris Doctorate, are likely a visual thinker. There may be some folks who think almost entirely in words, but scientists say they comprise only 25 percent of the population. (Cue the jokes to determine what practice area they’re in.) Want more evidence? (Of course you do, counselor.) Read this great essay about the power of visual thinking.

Or do you want that idea in a picture? (Yes? Now you’re getting the hang of it!). Here:

visual thinking a la postypography

Think about it: Which is mightier than which? (image by postypography)

4. Flowcharts work, especially when your mind doesn’t.

Do you remember law school? That was the place with all the words. Volumes of them. It was the place where the way to determine proper jurisdiction was to read 75 cases about wheat or chaff or something.

Do you remember your bar exam prep course? That was the place with pictures—or at least flowcharts. It was the place where the way to determine proper jurisdiction was to complete and then study a two-page chart that walked you through every possible permutation. Two pages, not volumes.

Close your eyes, and you may still remember those two pages. Close your eyes and think about the law school volumes. ZZZZZZZZZ.

But despite the evidence and our own experience, lawyers eschew images in favor of words. We know that Barbri (or whoever) saved our ass, but after that exam, we cozied up to words all over again.

Here’s an article that describes how valuable flowcharts can be. Read it, and then make one today.

5. Lawyers are creative, and many yearn to release a little art.

In case you missed it, I point you to a story we ran in Arizona Attorney recently. It’s about lawyers who were bit early by the art bug.

Read it and I bet you see a little of yourself there. You may not be a painter or author or sculptor. But infographics? It may be your milieu.

Want to get started? Here is a great collection of law-related infographics; they tend to be connected to personal injury practice, but let’s broaden our horizon to imag(in)e our own possibilities.

I’ll see you in the images.

Bar Association of San Francisco logoThis may be odd, but when I travel for work or otherwise, I enjoy coming across legal news or a legal organization that is compelling or that provides significant value to attorneyslike here or here or here.

Don’t judge.

This week, I’m in San Francisco, and I’m pleased to report that the Bar Association of San Francisco does both those things.

Granted, I’m biased, as I know a few of the folks who run that bar, but I’m often pleased by the work that emanates from their offices. In member engagement, publications and online offerings, they are a leader and worthy of stealing from emulating.

San Francisco Attorney Magazine cover

You can read about the BASF here. But I point you to a few praiseworthy items.

First, here is a BASF initiative that was mentioned at the annual NABE Wednesday morning meeting by the group’s Executive Director, Daniel Burkhardt.

It is called the “Mind the Gap Initiative,” which aims to “provide recent law school graduates who are unemployed or underemployed with training, work experience, mentorship and debt reduction information.” You really need to read about the initiative’s five elements here.

Second, I am blown away by a new blog launched by the BASF. It’s called “Legal By the Bay,” and you should read it (and bookmark it) here.

Legal By the Bay includes constantly changing content, all aggregated in a variety of intuitive categories, including technology, family law, work life balance, dispute resolution and others.

There are many law blogs I enjoy and read regularly. But there are a few that I am routinely jealous of. What Colorado does is one. And now Legal By the Bay is another.

Finally, because I love print as much as digital, let me point you to a great, SF-style magazine story that I’m considering appropriating for our own Arizona Attorney.

The article, happily, is not about a drowsy new statute or regulation. Instead, it explores the trend of lawyers who like to bicycle—either to work or otherwise.

Lawyers in form-fitting Spandex may not seem to be the most appealing idea, but the BASF made it work—and in the process revealed a unique side of its membership.

Well done.

In a future Arizona Attorney, look for our coverage of lawyers who scale mountains, or brave triathlons, or get their own coffee. Just do it.