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December 09, 2005

Writing For Clients--Just Say It-Part 1

Writing for clients, or taking legal jargon and legal-ese out of client documents, is an important topic for me and my firm. Tom Welshonce, an associate in Pittsburgh and contributor to this blog, and I hope to devote time to the subject over the next few weeks. My experience is that the vast majority of clients--from individuals to sophisticated in-house counsel--don't want to read lengthy, convoluted lawyer prose in the documents they read, and that they especially don't want to see this stuff in communications to them.

I think they want you to “just say it.” Clients appreciate it and will even favorably comment when you do that. Just saying it means three things: (1) get to the point up front in the communication (e.g. in a letter, in the first sentence, if possible) regardless of its length, (2) explain what you mean step by step, with citation of any authorities, and (3) above all, use "people" words which communicate with both precision and clarity. Next week: some examples.

Posted by JD Hull at December 9, 2005 02:30 PM


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