Legal Writing: From legalese to reader ease

2 half-day sessions

This fast-paced workshop will equip you to write for your twenty-first century clients in a way that gives them what they want. Legal Writing introduces you to communication principles based on evidence. Those principles demand clear thinking and insight to convey complex legal material clearly, accurately, and effectively. Scroll down for more details.

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      Description

      Twenty-first century law firms are rapidly changing to meet client expectations in a crowded marketplace. Today’s clients expect to fully understand what they are paying for. They expect to engage with their lawyer as they would with any other human being.

      That means no more legalese!

      A 2012 empirical study of law firm clients showed 99.7% thought it important to understand what their lawyer wrote. Yet 71% said they had received a document from their lawyer that was difficult to understand. Read more

      How writing style can define and benefit you 

      Writing clearly to suit the needs of your clients strengthens relationships, saves time and money, and boosts efficiency. A growing number of firms around the world recognise that plain language is no longer an optional extra. Rather, it’s something that can define them. As Seth Godin said: ‘You can either fit in — or stand out. Not both.’

      Topics

      This two-part workshop covers four topics.

      Challenge old thinking

      • Examine the legacy of legalese
      • Discuss the neuro-linguistic impact of legal language, structures, and layout
      • Find answers to lawyers’ common objections to plain English  

       Consider the big picture

      • Discover the power of clearly articulating your purpose
      • Practise the context–trigger–question technique to refine your primary question
      • Learn methods of reader-focused structure that headline key information according to document type (such as letters of advice, formal opinions, loan documents)

       Build a new vocabulary

      • Explore alternatives to unhelpful legal phrasing and style conventions
      • See how document design affects readability and reader reaction

       Understand the impact of an increasingly digital world

      • Consider how worldwide trends for digital communication affect client expectations
      • Score your own ‘digital-ability’ 

      Insights, tips, and professional development opportunities.