By James Jennings
We all know what “ugly handwriting” looks like. It’s the exact opposite of those beautiful neat and often calligraphic looking works of art that we all envy.
Ugly handwriting has poor rhythm and many inconsistencies. I was told as a child by an unsympathetic nun -I went to a private school run by evil women in penguin suits- that my handwriting resembled a garden – a garden with weeds. Well I couldn’t let that stand so I set to work to improve my handwriting. My handwriting became such a model of perfection that to this day it hangs on display at St. Gregory’s Catholic School in the First Grade classroom. Oh, and a quick shout out to Sister Thomas. If it wasn’t for your cruel words of inspiration that cut like a Roman Scourge I wouldn’t be the man I am today, an over achieving prima donna with handwriting that could make an angel weep.
Well enough of my bragging. Today, if you already haven’t guessed, I want to just say a few words about handwriting in general. Now and again I have people come into the office and want to start a case with us.
Usually the first step in any case is gathering information. To facilitate this we ask that our clients complete a questionnaire. The questionnaire will ask important information like, what’s your name, what’s the name of the other party, where do you live, and the like.
However, some people, for some reason, don’t think it’s necessary or important that the staff here at Discount Divorce and Bankruptcy should be able to read the answers to these questions. Well, nothing could be more important than being able to read your handwriting. We want to do a good job after all.
Imagine this. Imagine that you sat down with me to tell me about your case and you decided to put ear plugs in my ears. Do you think that I would be able to hear you? What if you thought it would be a good idea to speak to me in a foreign language like Swahili? Do you think that there would be effective communication between the two us? I bet not. So why would you write so poorly as to make the information you are trying to convey so difficult to understand? Why handicap your case from the very beginning?
Communication in any form, especially in the written form, is important. If we cannot read your handwriting then it makes our job of getting your case done quickly and efficiently near impossible.
Not to put too fine a point on it but I will give you a real life example. Last year I had a client come in to proof read and sign her documents. She is a real sweetheart with a bubbly personality but her handwriting was horrible. On her questionnaire that she filled out in the office she wrote what looked like an “s” but was actually a “g” in the spelling of her last name.
This “g” also fooled my proof reader into thinking it was an “s” as well. So we printed all of her documents prior to her coming in – close to fifty pages- and gave them to her to proof read. This is when she told us that the name was spelled wrong. We had to correct the name in ALL the paperwork. This name appeared in the documents more than 100 times. It was her last name, the last name of her husband, and the last name of her three children. That’s a lot of changes because of one little letter being poorly written.
Moreover, if she had not caught this error it would have seriously set her case back if it got filed with this mistake. We would have to amend all the documents, ask the Court for permission to file them as amended (if it wasn’t caught soon enough), then refile them, and then re-serve them on her husband. All this could set her case back 60 or more days in some situations. Moreover, this would cost her additional fees for the process server. All over one letter.
Communication is a two way street. Not only do you have to give the information but the other person has to understand the information given. Take your time. Write nice.
I like what Mokokoma Mokhonoana,a writer of thought-provoking aphorisms once said, “A bad handwriting is as annoying to a reader … as an irritating voice is to a listener.”
I think Mokhonoana has a good point.
If you have any questions regarding a specific legal matter or legal strategy you should contact an attorney for legal advice. If you would like to get started on a family law or bankruptcy case call us today, 602-896-9020, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit our website at DiscountDivorcePro.com.