Client Retention — 07 May 2017
Why Your Newsletters Should Be Written in Plain English, Not Legalese

After their years of high-level schooling and working with other legal experts, lawyers often speak in “legalese” without even realizing it.  This is perfectly fine when in a legal environment, as other lawyers are fluent in legalese.  People without a law degree, however, do not often understand the complicated nature of legalese.  It is essentially a different language.

Because they are so used to writing in legalese, lawyers can often slip into the same legal jargon when writing out newsletters.  While simply writing a newsletter is a huge step for your brand, if people cannot understand what they are reading, they will never open up your newsletter again.  Even if the case you just worked on is the most complicated legal case in American history, you need to describe it like it was a normal day at the office in your newsletter.

People respond positively to being treated as equals.  Sending out a newsletter in legalese can send a message to clients (even though it is not intentional), that you don’t care enough about their time to clearly explain what is going on to them.  If a client comes into your office speaking Spanish, you will not write up documents for them to read in English.  You want people to understand what is going on with your firm, you don’t need to impress them with your immense legal vocabulary.  This is where having a paralegal or legal assistant can come in handy: they can write the newsletter for you, as they know what is going on with all of your cases but do not default to legalese when they write about a case.

There is also a trust factor that goes along with writing your newsletters in English.  Whether it is true or not, there is a notion that law firms overcharge people and do whatever they can to earn more billable hours.  People want their legal issues solved,  they don’t want to hear you talk about all the different laws and mandates you had to navigate in order to get them the help they needed.  It is important to be straight with people if you want to build their trust and earn referrals.  If you use legalese in your newsletter or other parts of your website, you might give off the vibe that you are a lawyer that tries hard to look like you do more work than you actually do. People respect mechanics or plumbers who are straight and to the point with their needs, even though the subject area is vastly different, the same applies to legal advice.

To learn more about why legalese is not a good look for your newsletter, check out this video on the subject:

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