Now, as much as I am ‘very’ guilty of doing this myself and I will aim to stop doing it, I am really over all the ‘Jibber jabber’ of legal schmultz in agreements and legal and business orientated documents an writing communications… I think it’s time the legal world got back to basic communication and write these types of communications in simplistic language that even the lesser educated individual can understand… I so often hear people complaining about it… it’s a genuine epidemic!
Let’s start a new trend and demand basic simple non-jargon written agreement language from our legal and business professionals… honestly, by the time the average person has laboured through something like this…
‘The party of the first part herby known as the party of the party goer, shall confer and deliberate under all due conscience with the party of and for the party of second part whom shall henceforth be referred to as the ‘party pooper’, and the party who does not make it to the party shall henceforth be referred to as the ‘non-party goer’ on the proviso that the ‘party pooper’ does not influence the ‘non-party goer’s’ lack of party place knowledge and so therefore the ‘non-party goer’, in which the ‘party pooper’ has had influence, shall be delivered and dispatched at no inconvenience or circumvention the locality and proximity of the ‘event extremae magna pars’ henceforth known as the ‘party place’, and so said ‘non-party goer’ will pass on to be known herein as the ‘party guy’ or in the inference of gender be known as the ‘party girl’, then and only upon such a point that the agreement is conferred by all parties, all said parties shall be deemed as a total bunch of oxen manure or as would be colloquially inferred Bullshit!’…
then I would imagine if the poor reader hasn’t already put a gun to their head by this stage, their brain will have had an involuntary melt down!
Did you know that the largest bridging construction in the world… the ‘Oresund Bridge’, connecting Sweden and Denmark, a seriously massive feat, connecting to countries that are so systematically opposed it would seem a near impossible task, was accomplished on time, despite some dramatic unexpected situations, and on budget, without a single lawyer involved… not one. I’ve attached a link to a documentary on the massive undertaking of building this bridge consisting of several diverse linked stages across the ocean. It gives you an idea of the mega magnitude of this project, and to think that it was all accomplished without a single lawyer involved is quite astounding: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7UEDIxyrd4
A short related story on this… I used to write agreements and business deals in simple terms, and never had a problem, then like and idiot, in my business degree studies I elected to take on a module of business law, so after that, a started writing in proper legal terminology, and took my simple correspondence and communication to a whole new utterly complicated level. Oh why you ask… because in law, you ‘must’ spell out everything in every way from every perspective and dot every ‘i’ and cross every ‘t’ and if you can’t find any, pop some in so you can dot and cross them, so there is absolutely no room for error or misinterpretation!
But I reflect on this with another simple analogy from a chapter in my life that has the same identical overtones. I used to like ‘free diving’… that’s deep water diving with no artificial breathing equipment, just you and your lung capacity and ability to slow your own metabolism down so you can retain the oxygen levels in your body longer… and as part of my training for this I would do long distance swimming, in the event you are down on the bottom of the ocean while holding your breath, and come up to discover you are out in the never never country of the great ocean after everyone has left you for dead… (not likely but it could happen!).
Anyway, I had a slow easy style and could swim for days without getting tired… then one day, at the pool where I trained, and also helped instruct the Olympic Coach’s team in what they call ‘lung buster’ laps… doing a full lap of an Olympic size swimming pool in one single breath… the Coach said to me, “You know you are a good swimmer, but if you learned a few ‘proper’ things about swimming correctly you would be a great swimmer!” So over a few weeks he taught me all the ‘proper’ ways of swimming, all the fine little details that you have to remember when you’re swimming… the perfect way to cup your hands, the correct height your feet should be, the correct position for your head, how many dips and breaths you should make, when to breathe and how hard to breathe etc., so you swim faster, more powerfully and more streamlined. Well he was a great teacher and he was right! I could swim faster, more powerfully and more streamlined, and if I was an Olympic swimmer, doing maybe 4 to 6 fast laps of a pool, I would have been pretty good. But you know what, I needed to do long distance swimming, but now, swimming ‘properly’ I struggled doing five or six laps… also where I once could do two lung buster laps in one breath with ease and still have loads of breath left over, now I could barely make one lap, because I was expending too much oxygen swimming ‘properly’… and the worst part was, I had completely lost the ability to go back to swimming simply and slowly and conserving all my energy and oxygen… I was now stuck in this ‘proper’ complicated way of swimming… so much so that after only a few of years, I no longer enjoyed swimming, and so today I rarely swim… that is legal talk and that’s what it does to us! People can’t swim anymore, because legal jibber jabber has made sure it is way to complicated and too hard and uses up way to much of our energy!
So what do you think… do you think we should start a new World trend of bringing negotiations and agreements and business deal communications back to simplicity, so people no longer shoot themselves in the head out of exhaustion and frustration just reading a ‘legal’ document!? Who knows, people might write about us in the history books as legends in our own lunchtime… the people who save the world from the ‘Jibber Jabber Monster’!
Just some thoughts rattling around in my insane brain…!
I hope you enjoyed it… and more so, I hope it encourages you and more of us to tell our legal and business professionals, “If you don’t write it in simple language, don’t expect me to read it, and don’t hold me accountable for it!”