Get to the point – legalese was yesterday’s news!

"You won't be able to write a normal love letter in two or three semesters," predicted Prof. Dr. Haberle in 1. Semester in the first constitutional law lecture. Everybody laughed, nobody guessed how right he would be. Neither do I.

Legal training shapes the way we think. But it also shapes the way lawyers communicate orally and in writing. Of course, legal jargon has its justification. Nouns, multiple relative clauses and passive constructions are not nice here either, but they are common practice. Lawyers should therefore refrain from using this "foreign language", especially in marketing communication – i.e. in communication with laypersons.

This also applies if you feel that the perception of your competence suffers when your website and client brochure sound more colloquial than your pleadings. Because this is a fallacy.

Platt is not equal to platt

That marketing texts are "too platitudinous" for lawyers and do not fully reflect the complexity of the subject matter is a concern shared by many colleagues. Here are two thoughts that should ease your worries:

"Platitudinously" worded from a lawyer's point of view is far from platitudinously worded from a reader's point of view – regardless of how educated the reader is. What seems abbreviated and colloquial to you as a lawyer is normal written language to any other reader. Even educated readers who understand several relative clauses in a row prefer to read simple sentences in everyday life, because it is simply not as stressful. In addition: When it comes to texts for the Internet, the attention span of the reader is very short. Texts and individual sentences should therefore be short and easy to understand, because otherwise the reader cannot grasp them well, especially on a small smartphone display..

The technical complexity of your work does not have to be explained in full to a potential client. He just needs to know if you are the right lawyer to solve his legal problem. Therefore, you can generally do without legal details and technical terms in marketing communication if you are not addressing a well-informed group of readers (e.g., a general public). B. corporate lawyers). But even then, technical jargon should be used sparingly.

Of course it is correct to write, for example, that one has extensive knowledge of substantive law and procedural experience. But who knows what substantive law is except us lawyers? Writing that you use your extensive knowledge of XY law and your many years of experience says the same thing, but everyone understands it.

Leave text deserts

Complicating matters further, lawyers not infrequently have a penchant for completeness. Everything that could have relevance must be brought into the field. That's purposeful in a legal context, but not in marketing. That's why the lawyer's claim to completeness must not become a quality factor for a marketing text.

Marketing is the art of reducing to the essential. Important information must be reduced to key statements that hit the mark. Details are usually of interest only later and can then e.g. clarified in personal contact. Detailed text deserts nobody reads – except Google. And if a text desert impresses Google, but alienates readers, nothing is gained. So do without.

No fear of losing competence

Marketing texts for lawyers must also be comprehensible and to the point: precise statements, without legal verbiage, as long as necessary, as short as possible.

Why? Understandable texts on your law firm website etc. thus certainly do not provide for loss of face or even competence in the perception of the readers, even if that fears many colleagues with layman-fair texts straight in on-line marketing. Quite the opposite: If people understand you, it creates trust.

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