For the last decade or so, ‘plain english‘ has been a buzz word for lawyers and other professionals.

One of the areas I have always thought we (lawyers) have failed to deliver is in the area of client retainers / costs agreements with our clients. For understandable, if flawed reasons, these have always seemed to me to be incredibly cumbersome and convoluted documents, covering every conceivable eventuality (and a few others..)

Like many law firms we have traditionally used an agreement based upon a Law Society form recommended and published 10 years or so ago. It certainly caters for every contingency, but at a high cost in terms of readability.

I just came across a neat bit of software, very ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ called ‘Flesh’ which for free will evaluate the readibility of a given document and assign a score.

Needless to say, my fee agreement did not do well…. Any Nobel laureates looking for a medical negligence lawyer, I’ve got an agreement for you, but otherwise…

So it’s back to the drawing board, to come up with something that spells out the key points of client engagement, is easy to understand and in under 2 pages.

After all, my relationship with a client has to be based on trust. If I don’t trust you (or you don’t trust me)’ why am I involved in the claim again?

Heresy I know…

Colleagues, give it a try. It’s free. If anyone’s fee agreement shines under the ‘Flesh’ test, let me know your secret..