I remember a time when it was fairly easy to figure out what line of business a person was in. It was quite easy to do because they would tell you if they were a butcher, a baker or a candlestick maker. In today’s world making such a determination can be more difficult due to corpo speak, a language some in the business world adopt. Oftentimes such words are the product of a focus group. In other instances, people simply parrot words they heard a “thought leader” say in a TedX talk.
Hence it is not unusual for me to meet someone from a company with a non-descriptive name who will reply in a way similar as follows when asked what they do:
“We provide bespoke solutions which allow our partners to leverage their strengths to obtain robust growth and maximize their footprint in a socially conscious way “.
Gee, that really answered the question, didn’t it? Until a few years ago I only heard people say “robust” when referring to coffee. Now I hear it all the time in the business world. It is one of the many buzz words that work their way in and out of favor depending on trends. Like popular slang, the language of corpo speak changes due to the whims of the day.
Many successful companies spend considerable sums on market research, thus the use of such language must payoff for them. However, they would be wise to leave such corpo speak at the door when it comes to drafting legal contracts. Some of those lofty words can get them in trouble. One term in particular is “partner”. The word “partner” has a distinct legal meaning and can create liability for those holding out another party in such a fashion.
Many corporate mission and vision statements also use the lofty language of corpo speak as well. However, prior to incorporating such language in a contract, a corporate executive would be wise to consult a lawyer to translate such terms into less ambiguous terms that people and courts can readily understand. Corpo speak does not clearly outline the rights and responsibilities of vendors, distributors, franchisees, shareholders and many others entering into a business relationship.
For example, rather than saying that in order to remain a distributor for a product that the distributor shall obtain robust growth in sales of a product in a footprint, a lawyer may tie this obligation to specific sales benchmarks and define the territory where such sales shall take place in detail. Trendy job titles can also be problematic in the legal world. Many legal documents like deeds in order to be valid must be executed by the president of a corporation and witnessed by the secretary of the corporation. Those who use creative job titles such as “Grand Sherpa”, “Alchemist in Chief” or “Cloud Director” may face difficulties when legal closing documents are drafted. Hence, they would be wise to adopt recognizable corporate titles and if they still feel the need to do so can add the trendier title in addition to the more legally recognizable one. Lawyers can walk a client through this process and prepare the appropriate corporate documents to achieve this.
As for me, I am content to remain a lawyer who represents people and businesses with personal and business legal needs. I do not intend to become “an interpreter of the rules of the man” in my career. When you need help with legal matters, call the one you can trust. Contact Chris today … click here.