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Demystifying legal speak at Nabarro for a rebrand that sets it apart from the competition

Legal documents don’t have to be difficult to follow. Emphasis showed leading commercial law firm Nabarro how to write in plain English – without compromising its advice or reputation.

The challenge

Nabarro (which is now part of CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP) were rebranding with the strapline Clarity matters. ‘We wanted to live up to that brand promise,’ explains Jo McKay, Head of Development. ‘Law is a very complex world and I believe it is our responsibility to translate that into understandable and accessible terms for our clients.’

Nabarro researched providers to train the firm in clear writing skills. ‘Emphasis was head and shoulders above the rest,’ says Jo.

The solution

Emphasis ran a tailored high-impact writing course covering plain English techniques that lawyers could apply to letters of advice, proposals, reports and executive summaries.

Fee earners were initially sceptical about adopting a style of writing that didn’t contain jargon. However, the trainers quickly gained their trust by showing them that good writing is good writing, no matter what field you’re in. ‘Emphasis challenged us to write more simply and not hide behind jargon,’ explains Jo.

Emphasis initially trained 510 fee earners over six weeks, following this up with a tailored course for all support staff in HR, marketing and business development.

The results

The training has helped the firm to demystify the law for its clients and Nabarro has applied the writing-skills training across all its communications, including its website.

‘We’re stripping out the hyperbole and waffle that is synonymous with the legal sector,’ explains Christian Ball, Head of Internal Communications. ‘You don’t have to overcomplicate your message and you don’t have to be complex.’

The training has also differentiated the firm from its competitors. ‘It’s released lawyers from having to adhere to the old-fashioned legal language they’ve been taught in the past,’ says Jo. ‘Emphasis showed us that it is good business practice to write in simple terms that your clients understand and feel enabled and empowered by.’

‘Emphasis showed us that it is good practice to write in simple terms that your clients understand, and feel enabled and empowered by.’

Jo McKay, Head of Development, Nabarro

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