Very few lawyers - and other professionals for that - aspire to write in plain English. And all pretence flies out of the window when it comes to legal documents.
Take, for example, the T&Cs for Apple's popular iTunes. They extend to over 20,000 words of incomprehensible text. Has anyone read them? I would guess that even the lawyers who penned them struggle to get through to the end.
It makes you wonder of the mind that creates these words.
Legal Business magazine, a client of Coast, has a terrific blog post from an in-house lawyer, Olly Buxton, at one of the City investment banks.
He takes the simple instruction (below) and turns it into a masterpiece of legalease.
"Unless we hear from you before the end of the week, we'll assume you are happy with the term sheet."
All marketers and PR people working in law firms - and other professions - can take a lot from this.
Writing properly florid legal text takes years of practice. No-one enjoys reading it: not even the curmudgeon who has taken the trouble to write it. Construing a contract should not be a bodily pleasure but an act of ascetic sufferance, the reward for which comes in the hereafter*. Lawyers do this so you don't have to.