Communicators: 7 ways to make friends with legal

You and legal are all on the same team, right? Here’s how to work together and rid your message of legalese.

Communicators sometimes regard the legal department as an evil Dr. No, urging them not to try anything new or say anything—and to keep away from social media.

But legal has a job to do—avoiding and clarifying risk—that is helpful to communicators, says Sean Williams, CEO of Communication AMMO.

“Their desire to insert themselves into communications strategy is understandable in the context of their wish to avoid risk,” Williams says.

Here are some tips for maintaining a healthy balance between legal and communications-and for ridding your messaging of troublesome legalese:

1. Build relationships with legal.

Communicators should initiate meetings with legal so the team members know each other and understand whom to call, strategists say.

Ask the attorney for 30 minutes over coffee to “learn more about what he/she does for the firm,” Williams says. Go easy on the what-ifs at first, and get to know him or her as a person.

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