How Can Legal Risks Be Effectively Communicated to Non-Legal Stakeholders?

How Can Legal Risks Be Effectively Communicated to Non-Legal Stakeholders?

Corporate attorneys are often challenged with the task of demystifying legal jargon to ensure that non-legal stakeholders grasp the implications of legal risks. A Founder and Managing Lawyer emphasizes the effectiveness of simplifying language and utilizing visual aids, while our collection includes additional strategies ranging from interactive workshops to the creation of informative newsletters. These insights, along with others such as translating jargon to align with stakeholder interests, form a toolkit for clear and impactful communication in the corporate legal sphere.

  • Simplify Language and Use Slide Decks
  • Employ Plain Language and Real Examples
  • Align Legal Risks with Business Objectives
  • Utilize Infographics for Complex Risks
  • Host Interactive Legal Risk Workshops
  • Establish a Risk Communication Policy
  • Translate Jargon to Stakeholder Interests
  • Create a Legal Update Newsletter

Simplify Language and Use Slide Decks

I break things down into plain English, ensuring my sentences stay short and clearly convey the point. You need to meet your professional obligations as a lawyer while at the same time ensuring your client and other stakeholders can digest your findings or advice. While it may sound unorthodox, you may want to consider preparing a PowerPoint presentation or a similar slide deck if there's a lot of information and you think the stakeholders may not read a collection of pages you send them. This proves helpful when you present it and can stop to take questions from the stakeholders along the way.

Harrison Jordan
Harrison JordanFounder and Managing Lawyer, Substance Law

Employ Plain Language and Real Examples

One strategy that corporate attorneys often employ to effectively communicate legal risks to non-legal stakeholders is to use plain language and real-world examples. Instead of relying solely on legal jargon and complex terminology, attorneys simplify the language and illustrate the potential consequences of legal risks in a way that resonates with the stakeholders' understanding.

By using relatable examples and scenarios relevant to the stakeholders' industry or business operations, attorneys can help bridge the gap between legal concepts and practical implications. Fostering open communication channels and encouraging stakeholders to ask questions can facilitate a better understanding of legal risks and encourage proactive risk management efforts. Ultimately, by effectively communicating legal risks in a clear, accessible manner, corporate attorneys empower non-legal stakeholders to make informed decisions and mitigate potential liabilities effectively.

Walter Alexander
Walter AlexanderDirector & Head of Corporate Legal, Silvester Legal LLC

Align Legal Risks with Business Objectives

Understanding the client's business objectives is the key to effectively communicating legal risks to non-legal stakeholders. The process of gaining that understanding must include discussing with the client the value they attribute to achieving those objectives and how that value proposition compares to the risks inherent in pursuing them. With this foundation, we can discuss alternative strategies or potential measures that may mitigate the risks. We are able then to formulate a plan to achieve the desired results. A good example could be a client who is considering an acquisition in a foreign jurisdiction in order to increase its manufacturing capacity to keep pace with a globally expanding customer base. After understanding the impetus behind the move, evaluating with the client the risks inherent in a foreign acquisition, and reviewing all alternatives, we might collaboratively determine that a joint venture satisfies the original expansion objectives but with a materially lower risk profile. This would involve educating the client on the legal intricacies while gaining an understanding of its business goals and merging these understandings throughout our collaborative discussions.

Randy BridgemanPartner, Perkins Coie LLP

Utilize Infographics for Complex Risks

To convey complex legal risks to those who might not be familiar with legal terminology, infographics become a valuable tool. They break down intricate risks into more digestible visuals, allowing stakeholders to recognize potential issues at a glance. Infographics can highlight cause and effect, timelines, or flow of legal processes.

This simplifies understanding and helps non-legal members of the organization to see how legal risks can affect various parts of the business. Effective visualization prompts stakeholders to consider the implications more seriously. Share infographics widely in your organization to aid comprehension!

Host Interactive Legal Risk Workshops

Hosting interactive legal risk workshops is a dynamic method for engaging non-legal stakeholders. In these sessions, participants are guided through real-life scenarios that illustrate potential legal risks and how they might be mitigated. Workshops encourage questions and discussions, thus fostering a deeper understanding among attendees.

The active participation makes the information more memorable and relevant to their roles within the organization. Encourage the stakeholders to partake in these workshops, ensuring they gain a hands-on understanding of legal risks.

Establish a Risk Communication Policy

Establishing a risk communication policy serves as a foundation for consistent and clear dialogue about legal risks throughout an organization. A well-designed policy outlines how information about legal risks should be presented, ensuring it's accessible to all employees, regardless of their legal knowledge. It conveys the seriousness with which an organization approaches risk management and defines the roles and responsibilities related to risk communication.

This framework reassures stakeholders that there is a solid plan in place for identifying and discussing risks. Collaborate with leaders across your organization to develop and implement a comprehensive risk communication policy.

Translate Jargon to Stakeholder Interests

Translating legal jargon into easily understandable language tailored to stakeholder interests is crucial for effective communication. When legal professionals reinterpret complex terms into the context of different roles within the company, non-legal stakeholders are more likely to grasp the importance and impact of these risks on their day-to-day operations. The translation bridges the gap between legal complexities and practical business concerns, without diminishing the seriousness of the issues.

This approach relates directly to the stakeholders' areas of expertise, making the information more relevant. Aim to incorporate plain language explanations into your regular communications with non-legal stakeholders.

Create a Legal Update Newsletter

Creating a legal update newsletter can be a proactive way to keep non-legal stakeholders informed about current and emerging legal risks. A regular newsletter provides a consistent touchpoint that can inform, educate, and alert recipients about the legal landscape and its effects on the organization. The periodic nature of a newsletter ensures that stakeholders stay aware of the legal environment without being overwhelmed by the volume of information.

It should be concise, well-structured, and written in layman's terms. Encourage your colleagues to subscribe to the legal update newsletter for continuous learning and awareness.

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