Code switching

Legal Design encourages us to empathise with our users. So I find it interesting that the language we use to talk about Legal Design is so often alien to the people we want to inspire / influence / help. I recently edited some Legal Design materials that we’re putting out to the business and thought I would share the word / term substitutions that I found myself making:

Legal Design speak Lawyer speak
Ideation Brainstorm
Legal Design workshop Workshop
Design Thinking workshop Workshop
User engagement workshop Workshop
Empathy Better services (as in “we want to build…”)
User Client
User needs Client needs
Average user Typical client
Creative confidence Thinking outside the box
Genuine pain point Key pain point
Authentic pain point Key pain point
Crazy 8s Eight Sketches
Facilitator Organiser
Diverse thinking styles Creative problem solving

Users or clients?

We struggled for quite a long time over whether we should talk about “users” or “clients”. I like “users” - it makes me think of people. It also brings some neutrality to the lawyer / non-lawyer, fee-earner / business services distinction. Whatever your role in the business, you can meaningfully talk about the “users” of your service. I think having the same vocabulary is a good thing.

However, the lawyers I’ve spoken to seem to feel the opposite way. For them, “users” feels cold and impersonal. They much prefer “client” for invoking an image of the person who receives our services (notwithstanding that, technically, our “clients” are almost always corporate entities). So, for now, we’re sticking with “client”.

Any substitutions that I’ve missed? Or any substitutions in my list that you find particularly egregious? Let me know.