The Legal Ombudsman commissioned research into the impact of lawyers’ language in complaint handling and in its own communications. Interviews with 15 individuals and 4 groups suggested that dissatisfied clients take their lawyers’ jargon as an attack, intended to make the reader feel stupid or intimidated. The Ombudsman’s own jargon, such as “premature” or “out of time”, while not perceived as an attack, was criticised as meaningless.
Reactions to the research on the Law Society Gazette’s website were mostly hostile. Sample comments:
- How much more can you dumb down the phrase ‘out of time’? (63 readers liked this)
- Premature = too soon. Out of time = too late. (9 readers liked this)