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Chasing tales: Madison attorney branches out with love of storytelling

Attorney Jordan Lamb sits in her office at DeWitt, Ross & Stevens SC, Madison. Lamb puts her writing background to use in her environmental law, government relations and intellectual property practice. (Photo by Kevin Harnack)

On a typical summer evening, Jordan Lamb and her 6-year-old twins wind down with their books.

School’s out, so the bedtime rules are relaxed. The family reads silently, to each other or perhaps crafts their own tales.

Simply put, storytelling is central to Lamb’s life, and it brings her joy.

The Madison attorney has been twice-published by Cobblestone Publishing in its children’s magazines.

Also, Lamb typically tells her clients’ stories by writing for a sizeable portion of her workdays in her environmental law, government relations and intellectual property practice at DeWitt, Ross & Stevens SC. One of her favorite tasks is translating technical, complex subjects into language that’s understandable, and sometimes even engaging, to people who don’t work in her clients’ fields.

It’s rewarding work. But about two years ago, she decided something was missing.

“I was about seven years out of law school,” Lamb said, “and I realized I’d lost touch with the creative end of writing.”

At the same time, her children had reached the age at which their curiosity had blossomed, and they began asking Lamb all kinds of questions about the world around them.

Lamb researched for answers and enjoyed the process. She also relished seeing how animated her children became while discussing the topics.

That inspired Lamb to seek more educational resources for them. She discovered Cobblestone Publishing’s various magazines, but she also noticed Cobblestone was seeking freelance, nonfiction articles.

In particular, the publisher’s science magazine, Odyssey, was looking for an article about latent heat fusion.

Having represented the Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association for more than a decade, Lamb not only knew what that was, but also whom she could interview.

She didn’t have a published writing sample geared toward a readership of children. But Lamb did have enthusiasm.

She wrote a persuasive outline. She won an assignment and a contract.

A few months later, her first article, “Ice Blankets,” was published in the November/December 2010 issue, along with photos from her client.

Lamb’s second assignment, for Cobblestone’s social studies magazine, AppleSeeds, was published in a Viking themed issue. Her topic was “Warrior Sports.”

“My little boy was seriously into Vikings, warriors and ninjas at the time,” she said.

Lamb’s passion for the written word dates to her own childhood.

“We lived within walking distance to the public library, and I would spend my summers riding my bike between the swimming pool and the library on the way home,” she said. “I had my Nancy Drew summer, followed by the biography summer. It became something that I love, and it carried forward.”

For as long as she can remember, she said, she knew she wanted to write for a living. With two attorneys for parents, she soon realized that lawyers frequently read and write on the job. So law school was a natural progression for Lamb, who now practices at the same firm with her parents, Ron and Jayne Kuehn.

Lamb wants to write a children’s fiction book sometime.

But for now, between the law and parenting, there’s not much time.

“I can only do about one article per year, so I’m not prolifically published yet,” Lamb said. “But it’s fun, and it’s added a new dimension to my writing.”

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