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  • Writer's pictureJennifer LaVia


A good lawyer will guide you through the legal process, explaining things in words that normal people use, not in “lawyer speak.”

As a professor of legal writing at FSU College of Law, I encouraged law students to use “Plain English” whenever possible. One student objected that “if we say things in Plain English, clients won’t need us.” Unfortunately, this attitude is not uncommon in our profession. Some lawyers use big words to try to impress clients. Others just get in the habit of using legal terms. Sometimes we forget that the words we use every day, which seem simple to us, sound like a foreign language to most people. It seems to be getting worse, because we no longer use words that everyone is familiar with, like “custody” and “visitation.” Instead, we talk about “parental responsibility,” “parenting plans,” and “time-sharing.”


At LaVia Law, we believe in keeping language as simple as possible by avoiding unnecessary legal terminology and never using 10 words when 2 will do.


We think you have a right to know what we are talking about and to understand the meaning of the documents you are signing. We try to make things as understandable as possible, but we also welcome questions and encourage you to let us know if we aren’t communicating well.

To learn more about legal lingo, follow LaVia Law on Facebook and Instagram so you can see #WordWednesday every week.

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1339 Mahan DriveTallahassee, FL 32308  | 570-8069

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