Even newly minted lawyers are starting to avoid legalese. This is true not only in documents they create but also in writing to and talking to each other and to clients.
The Benefit of Plain Talk
The trend of teaching law students to avoid legalese and use plain language reached the point not too many years ago that it is now labeled as a “trend” or the “plain language movement.” As one law professor put it, the “traditional style of legal writing is notorious for its unnecessarily complex words, legal jargon, and convoluted sentences that can obscure meaning and create ambiguity.” The movement started as early as the 1970s, and in 1983 the organization Clarity International was formed to promote the concept internationally.
The move to avoid legalese was in response to the fact that clients were confused and intimidated by language they couldn’t understand. So if clients and potential clients hate legalese why would you use it in a web page that is aimed at attracting new clients?
But before we go too much further let’s get a working definition of legalese: “The formal and technical language of legal documents that is often hard to understand;” or “language” used by “lawyers” and in “legal documents” that is “difficult” for ordinary people to understand.
Six Tips on Drafting Your Law Firm Website Text
So, if you are convinced that website language that draws the reader in rather than turning her off is the way to go, let’s apply the concept of plain language (and other rules that make a web page attractive) to your web page.
Your website needs to reflect your unique brand. You do this through approachable, plain language content that speaks directly to your potential client. Even if you are using your website for strictly reputation confirmation, my advice is to show your expertise without the unnecessary legalese.
Need help? Email me at Meranda@DenverLegalMarketing.com