The Language Of Conveyancing
Read the latest offering from the ‘Diary of the High Street Conveyancer’
Monday 8th June
Being the child of an English lecturer, language fascinates me. And I find it interesting that all occupations seem to have their own language. Doctors talk in a language I would never understand but so do us lawyers. And I think that we forget about it – we could have a conveyancer test – so what is a CoT, FTB, SSTC, SIM – all of these synonyms that we know instinctively what they are – but just because we all know this secret language, the clients do not. So not only are the clients entering a process that they do not understand, there is also the language, the codes, the procedures that will lead them to our old friend, Google, where they will read horror stories about moving house. Throw in these codes, especially when copying clients into emails and it can become a scary world where all the client wants is a new house, and the lawyers talk gobbledegook!
My father always said that it was as easy to teach a five year old as a sixteen year old – it was just the language which was different. That idea has always stuck with me and I have always made sure that how I write to other lawyers is very different from how I write to clients but I have seen letters from lawyers to clients and I would struggle to understand them. Write in clear English, no codes, no Latin (yes we all know what inter alia means but the client may not!) and make it straightforward – imagine that you are writing to someone in your family – how would you explain the process to them? make it clear and concise and be happy to answer any questions about your writing – it is a learning experience for the clients – empower them , don’t make them feel inadequate.
Good order is the foundation of all things