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November 2020

Legalese makes you look inferior

Lawyers who communicate in plain, straightforward language are perceived as more intelligent and more capable than those who attempt to communicate in legalese. Now there’s another study confirming this fact. The study is described in this blog post by the British Psychological Society. Here’s the money quote:

[A]ccording to a series of studies published in Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, those who are of low status within a group are also predisposed towards jargon-filled language. Zachariah Brown at Columbia University and colleagues found that these people appear to want to compensate for their lowly position by using language that is often associated with high status. 

If you’re interested in reading the study itself (and don’t mind shelling out $39.95 for it), follow this link.