Editing - cut our legal writing by a third
Most legal documents can be cut by up to 30% without loss of meaning. We’ve edited all sorts of documents and templates for businesses, law firms, charities and regulators, including:
- standard terms for sale of goods
- letters of engagement
- compliance policies
- codes of practice
- marketing materials
Why not ask us to simplify your most-used documents? You could begin with one you know is ripe for review. We can then train and inspire your people to update your new document and others in the same clear style (see Change how my team writes below).
“The consultancy and training we received from ClarifyNow helped us transform how we produce and publish case decisions. It continues to support newer staff. Our documents now achieve a wide public audience and respect from relevant professional organisations because of their clarity.”
Team Leader in an organisation set up to resolve complaints
31 August 2018
Change how my team writes
Managers can spend too much time marking up their juniors’ work, while lawyers undermine their advice and client relations by writing in legal language.
We have taught and inspired lawyers and other specialists to write documents that need no translating, even for non-specialist readers or those for whom English is a second language.
“Daphne started and drove the plain language programme at SNR Denton. She understands training and good intentions are not enough to entrench good drafting habits. Her efforts bridged the gulf between good intentions and tangible, lasting progress at our firm. Her enthusiasm is an inspiration.”
Helen Cleaveland, Partner, Dentons
10 July 2018
To see how one client changed 130 writers’ habits in 2 years, see Decision-writing for the Local Government Ombudsman (UK).
A client care letter that talks to clients in their own words
A lawyer meeting a new client works hard to show empathy and understanding of the client’s needs. Speaking the client’s language is one way to do this. Speaking in legal language does the opposite.
When you next need to update your engagement letter, consider taking out the unnecessary legal language at the same time. And, if you’ve been in the law too long to remember that “monies” and “whilst” are legal language, ask us to help you edit.
“Working with Daphne was every bit as simple as the text of our engagement letter once she’d edited it.”
William Robins, Operations Director, Keystone Law
16 May 2018
For a free sample of edited text, send us 100 words from your engagement letter.
Bulletins that clients read and appreciate
Legal publications should be even quicker and easier to read than legal advice. We have written and published many articles and edited hundreds. We know what readers want and can show your writers how to produce it, overcoming writer’s block and developing new habits of reader-friendly writing.
“We have already seen some of Daphne’s helpful tips and suggestions for improvement making their way into our client publications. We would certainly use her again in future sessions.”
Knowledge Management lawyer, magic circle law firm
7 July 2018
Web pages where users find what they need
Lawyers, businesses and non-profit organisations have asked us to review and edit their websites, to help users find what they need quickly and easily.
“Daphne gave us detailed analytical feedback on our website text and layout. Her comments were practical and helped us significantly to improve the site and our communication style.”
Liam Flanagan, Founding Director, Enable Business Solutions
1 September 2018
For a free sample of how your website text might look, or to tell us how we could make this site more useful to you, contact us.
Make our writing more persuasive
When you write to persuade, your target reader needs to know what you want and why to do it. Every word making that harder to see undermines your case, even if you’ve chosen the most effective arguments.
We have trained barristers, transactional lawyers, contract managers and others on writing to persuade.
“A fantastic course: helpful, insightful and enjoyable. All of the barristers were full of praise. I highly recommend the course to anyone who wants to learn the highest standards of written advocacy in a practical, intelligent and fun way.”
Luke Parsons, Head of Quadrant Chambers
17 February 2014
To discuss how we could help make your writing more persuasive, contact us
Improve my own writing
No matter how good a writer you are, everything can always be improved. We offer one-to-one training. Or try these suggestions:
- Write a complete draft and sleep on it before you start editing.
- In Word, use heading styles and the navigation pane to organise your documents.
- Edit all sentences to 2 lines or under.
- Edit out is, am, are, was, were, been, being, of.
- Try StyleWriter (a Word add-in), aiming for maximum scores of 20 (Sentence), 20 (Passive), 40 (Style) in legal writing. Follow this sponsored link to a free 2-week trial of StyleWriter software, which pays ClarifyNow commission if you then buy StyleWriter. Or go directly to the publisher, Editor Software, for the same price, product and trial.
- Read 5 writing habits every lawyer needs by Daphne Perry, and practise each habit until it becomes automatic.
- Read Clarity for Lawyers (2017) by Mark Adler and Daphne Perry, published by the Law Society, and try more of its suggestions.
Or what would you suggest? Tell us your top 3 suggestions for improving legal or business writing.
Contract terms everyone can understand (and accept) straight away
Most English contract terms can be cut by up to a third without loss of meaning. For more on the problems of traditional contract writing and possible solutions, see Why traditional legal terms are costing your business (Practical Law In-house, 2016).
We have helped clients translate their contract terms, policies and guidelines from legalese to simple, uncluttered text.
“Regarding our standard terms: everybody that has seen the plain language version has been impressed and very complimentary – both lawyers and subject matter experts such as tax, credit management and international trade compliance.”
Clive Bowsher, Director of Contracts, Emerson Process Management
28 February 2018
For a free sample of how clear and easy your contract terms might become, send us 100 words from a contract. Or look at this confidentiality clause:
|Original vs Revised||
|Click on the images to view the text