Legal terms: Avoid legalese and  communicate better with your client

Legal terms: Avoid legalese and communicate better with your client

In the court of law the lawyers clears his throat and goes with the following sentence…

 

Wherefore, in light of her cause of action sounding in negligence and for the premises heretofore considered, the plaintiff prays that this honorable court grant such relief as it may deem just, fair, and proper.

Now stop for a second, imagine the lawyer using the same legalese with his client –  unfortunately this happens every day – now put yourself in the client’s shoes. You get a frustrated bewildered client. 

  • The client does not understand what the lawyer means.
  • does not understand what will happen going forward.
  • does not understand if he/she needs to be worried or relieved .
  • and does not understand what is going on in the case.

But let´s be clear. What is the lawyer´s mission? Show that he/she knows the law or make sure the client understands the progress of the process? If you think it is the first, the result will be a client expressing his frustrations with his feet and changing counsel.

Abuse of legalese with the client damages the client-lawyer relationship

It is common for many legal professionals to become contaminated with the overly technical legal terms they use on a daily basis. There are so many petitions, jurisprudence, and doctrine with such language that those expressions become practically their mother tongue. However, you need to know how to identify: do you use them by custom or on purpose? And if you use by custom, you need to realize it and “switch” when you are in front of the customer.

The Document is always in Legalese, it is required. That is why the lawyer needs meetings, web conference and phone to translate those documents in normal language. This takes a huge amount of time normally, simply in scheduling conferences and meetings, blocking time slots to perform this work. However DocPitch is a new solution which unlocks the agenda bottlenecks. In 5 clicks and under 1 minute,  the Lawyer simply records his commentaries and annotations on top of the Document (the legalese part) while talking naturally (the plain language translation) and walking through the page and making annotations. The system generates a link. When the client receives the link, he/she will see the document sent by link, and also in a pop-up box, the lawyer virtualized in a small box which will control the document on the computer of the client, walk through it and make annotations. It saves massive amount of time for both the lawyer and the client alike, sending the official document to the client, and its translation in natural language with very precise paragraph by paragraph annotations through the virtual lawyer-presenter box.

Some lawyers are afraid of simplifying – or even popularizing – certain legal terms. They claim they cannot find words capable of representing the true meaning of a particular legal concept. But let´s be real here: does it matter to the customer? Your client has a basic requirement: he/she wants understand what’s going on, without having to google the lawyers´ words in real time on their mobile.

A good lawyer is not one who can speak in cryptic lingo, he can save that for the audience with the judge,  but the one who knows how to make himself understood and accessible. Making it harder for the client will not make the lawyer any stronger in defending his legal cases. The technical legal expertise is a great weapon in the court of law, but not a good communication tool with the client.

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