In 2009, we spoke with New Jersey litigator and musician Steven Kunzman of DiFrancesco Bateman Coley Yospin Kunzman Davis & Lehrer, PC, about his love of writing, songs and legal documents. Here’s an excerpt:
The thing about writing a song, I try to think about every word and how they connect and whether it makes sense. Every word counts. There are only a few of them. Unless you’re Bob Dylan and you write thousands of words and they all make sense anyway, or they don’t make sense but it works. So I try to work over each word, each phrase, to make it work for the song. Sometimes some lines may be great but you discard them because they don’t work. Words are important in legal writing but each individual word isn’t as critical. I do ponder sentences, especially important ones when I’m trying to get something across, but they don’t have to rhyme, there’s no necessary meter or scheme, although sometimes those things inform you, the tempo of writing. I’m not sure the readers — either judges or law clerks — always appreciate that but I do think in those terms. In a way songwriting helps me be more open and creative in my legal writing, to try not to be wedded to something that seems to be the standard approach.
To read the full Q&A, including his thoughts on writing songs with Rosanne Cash, go here.