Legal Style Guide

Legal Style Guide 2017-11-17T07:31:13+00:00

Get a Legal Style Guide to deal with the practical issues regards language and guide the use of language in a consistent manner. It is also sometimes referred to as a Plain Language Guideline or a Guide to Clear Communication. It is important that, as an organisation, everyone agrees to write in a certain way.  For example:

  • How do you refer to your organisation?
  • How are you going to write numbers?
  • What spacing are you going to use?
  • Are there any brands that must appear in a certain way?
  • What font size are you going to use?

How you benefit from a Legal Style Guide

  • Determine and agree the style that your organisation will use
  • Portray a positive and professional public image
  • Enhance your brand
  • Establish your brand’s voice
  • Avoid having to edit documents again
  • Achieve consistency with your documents
  • Get everyone on the same page
  • Create a training tool and make employees aware

What should be in it?

A style guide should be designed for quick and effective reading. It is an easy quick reference guide. Useful and practical. It can include:

  • Background
  • The principles of plain language (for example, use the first person, and always refer to the organisation in a certain way)
  • Guidelines for punctuation and design
  • Specific regulatory requirements (for example, a regulatory board requiring double spacing)
  • Specific  guidelines for (and a sample of) a letter, email, fax, and internal memo, and an agreement
  • Guidelines for communications
  • A checklist to check that a document is in plain language
  • Word lists
  • Further reading – good books and resources that people can read

When should you do this?

It should be done as soon as possible, but especially at the beginning of a project to convert documents into plain language. You want to agree on your style first before you start drafting.

Who does a Legal Style Guide apply to?

It is for all medium to large organisations. The organisations that will find it especially useful are:

  • banks
  • insurance companies
  • retailers
  • law firms

How do I get a Legal Style Guide?

You can find various general style guides on the Internet. For example:

You can also find an excellent free legal style guide online at Adobe that you can use.

How we can help you

  • Have a customised legal style guide that is suitable for your specific organisation by asking us to draft one for you or customise the Adobe Legal Style Guide.
  • Transform your existing documents into clear communications by asking us to convert your documents into plain language.
  • Encourage people to start drafting in plain language by asking us to train your people on plain legal language.