How to Ditch Legal Jargon and Make Your Attorney Web Content Speak to Your Audience

Ditch Legal Jargon From Your Attorney Web ContentAs an attorney, you’re trained and conditioned to use technical terms and phrases in the courtroom and when preparing briefs. Unfortunately, this industry-specific language can fly right over your clients’ heads. That is why we encourage lawyers to avoid too much legal jargon in their attorney web content.

Not sure how to break the habit? Below are four strategies to ditch the jargon and start engaging your target demographic.

First, know your audience. Before you ever write your first blog or FAQ, take the time to identify your target audience(s). Whose attention are you trying to capture? Who do you want to convert from a casual browser to a client? Car accident victims? Parents of children with birth-related brain injury? Older adults who need to create a living will and estate plan? Tourists who have been charged with DUI while visiting your popular ocean-side community?

Your audience is probably not other attorneys, so why write your content in their language? You must assume the vernacular of your readers. Corporate attorneys may have more flexibility to employ complex legal language, but otherwise – keep it simple.

Second, keep it simple! Simplify your attorney web content. Jargon-free legal web content is more likely to resonate with your audience. This is because it often is stripped down and simplified to its most basic meaning. By eliminating verbose legal descriptions and language in web content, lawyers get more quickly to the meat of the story. Writing in a straightforward, succinct manner may have the ancillary effect of whittling away the legal jargon.

Third, trade out legalese for plain English. Since you use legal terms on a daily basis, it may be difficult to separate yourself from what the general public may or may not understand.

Below are a few examples of legal jargon and suggested replacements.

Instead of:

  • “affidavit” – use “a written statement made under oath;”
  • “statute of limitations” – use “timelines” or “time limits” or “deadlines;”
  • “vacate a court order” – use “cancel a ruling;”
  • “tort” – use “injury caused by someone else’s action;” and
  • “Nolo Contendere” – use “no contest.”

When using legal terms for which there is no satisfactory substitute (such as “no contest” or “manslaughter”) be certain to provide an easy, jargon-free definition on first use.

Finally, write with empathy. Writing with empathy doesn’t just mean being sensitive to your readers’ legal woes and injuries. It also means speaking to them in a way you’d want to be spoken to about a subject that is unfamiliar to you.

Think of it this way: If you were visiting a doctor about troubling health symptoms, would you want him or her to give you a diagnosis in mostly complicated medical terms with which you have no familiarity? Or would you prefer a plain-English explanation of what was happening to you so you could make informed decisions about your healthcare?

Write content that is easily understood by readers with little to no background deciphering legalese. Otherwise, you risk losing their eyes – and potential business – to another attorney.





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Yvette Valencia

About Yvette Valencia

Yvette Valencia is the COO of We Do Web Content, Inc. - a web content marketing firm providing top-quality SEO content to attorneys, law firms and other professionals. Visit her website to learn more about law firm marketing and how the right web content strategy can bring in the clients you want with the cases you need! Call 1-888-521-3880.

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