- They’re written in incomprehensible legalese.
- They’re boring as hell.
- What’s the point? You’re still going to use the site regardless…. right?
We used to have the same awful website terms as everyone else. Our users rightly pointed out that this didn’t exactly fit with our mission of empowering people to make better legal decisions by (among other things) using plain English.
So, finally practicing what we preach, we’re announcing our new, improved, and TOTALLY AWESOME website terms. We think that:
- They’re clear.
- They’re entertaining.
- They’ll actually teach you something.
We modestly think we’ve got the most epic legal boilerplate on the Net. If you’ve seen any terms that are even MORE epic, please send them to us and maybe we’ll blog about them too.
Why be boring?
Most legalese is boring. According to the Lawyers are boring blog, this is because:
- Lawyers like to show off (by using language in a way others can’t) and dominate (by using language that needs an interpreter).
- Lawyers use legalese to show that they’re lawyers. It’s like gang signs.
- Clients have come to expect it. If it doesn’t look “legal,” it must not be from a real lawyer.
The Site is not structured to attract children under the age of 18. Accordingly, we do not intend to collect Personal Information from anyone we know to be under 18 years of age.
Stuffy, right? And not very welcoming.
Our new policy says:
The Site and Services aren’t intended for people under the age of 18.
We don’t really see how kids would want to use the Site, unless they want to grow up to be lawyers, which is a bad idea these days. Do you know how many law school grads run up hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loan debt and end up working as baristas? It’s not worth it. Go learn how to write software or build rocket ships.
Why Friendly Legal Terms are Good for Your Business
It’s easier (and cheaper) just to use the same boring old legal terms as everyone else. You can find examples all over the Internet and your lawyer probably has a couple of templates.
Contracts written in incomprehensible legalese are usually still enforceable, because ignorantia juris non excusat (“ignorance of the law is no excuse”).
Thus, you might not think it’s worth investing any time or money to do better. But here’s why you might want to make an effort:
- Because hardly anyone uses friendly, funny legal terms, you can stand apart from your competitors if you do. This is your opportunity to impress the 12% of consumers who actually DO read legal terms.
- Clear, friendly terms are more welcoming to your customers. You’re actually TALKING to them like intelligent human beings rather than looking like evil corporate goons trying to put one over on them.
- If you don’t try to hide anything, people are less likely to be pissed off (and sue) when they discover what your terms REALLY mean.
- Making your customers smile is good.
Share the Love
If our new legal terms make you smile, or even LOL, please share them with your friends and lawyers! Maybe we’ll inspire others to be clearer and funnier too.
Can You Understand Your Contract?
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