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Blawg no, lawyer blog yes

Elk Grove California personal injury lawyer Jonathan Stein offered support for my position that we lawyers put a kibosh to the term blawg. To Stein “Blawg seems, well, kind of snooty.”

Since I don’t think anyone will listen to me or stop using the word blawg, why am I telling you about any of this? Because the blog versus blawg debate is a microcosm for a bigger problem: legalese! Lawyers, for some reason, like to make up big words, and lawyers also like to use big words. I have seen lawyers argue to a jury about a ‘tortuous act’ when they are really talking about a plain old auto accident. I admit that this is a personal preference (my wife won’t play scrabble with me because I don’t use big words), but it has an effect on your practice.

If you have a client who lacks formal education, why would you use ‘res ipsa loquitor’ in a sentence? Your client will not have any idea what you are talking about. In insurance coverage cases, attorneys talk about ‘fortuitous events’. Clients most likely do not know what a ‘fortuitous event’ is, but they certainly understand what it means when something burns down in a fire.

Sure, when you are talking to opposing counsel you may want to use legalese (but even then, it’s probably not worth it.) Talk to your clients as if they have not been to law school; unless you are representing an attorney, your clients haven’t actually been to law school. In my experience, my clients like it when I break things down and talk to them in a way that its understandable and relatable, not in a way that requires a dictionary or a Latin translator. People are more comfortable around people they can relate to easily, so one of the best ways to build repore with your clients is to stop using legalese!

Being a personal injury lawyer, Stein deals with average down to earth folks on a regular basis – clients, witnesses, investigators, police officers, nurses, doctors, therapists and many more. He practices in Elk Grove, California, an unpretentious town in the Central Valley. Think these folks are impressed by the cute term, blawg, lawyers want to use in place of lawyer blog?

Perhaps I should take Denise Howell’s advice and chill out. But we lawyers have a lot to gain from lawyer blogs. We’re publishing helpful information on something the public is hearing about everyday, a blog, not a blawg. We can both market our practice via lawyer blogs and improve the image of our legal profession.

Let’s not confuse folks with more legalese, it’s lawyer blog, not blawg. Plus, who wants to be snooty?

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