My father was a surgeon, and he had a number of rules for how to run a medical practice. One of them was that if your physician kept you waiting for more than five minutes, leave. Another was that if your physician, in a conversation with you, uses any Latin at all, you should find another doctor.
This always made a lot of sense to me, and it was recently reinforced in a post on Bob Sutton's terrific blog Work Matters. Sutton is a member of the Stanford faculty, and wrote recently about a lecture delivered by a woman named Polly LaBarre, author of a book entitled "Mavericks at Work". LaBarre writes about companies who succeed because they are different. Original thinking, that connects directly and immediately with customers, is often the difference between creating Starbucks, and creating what-is-the-name-of-that-coffee-place-on-Laurel-Street-again?. She also has a blog. And in Sutton's class, she said the following:
[M]avericks are so effective at inspiring innovation partly because they use authentic and compelling language, not hollow business language.
Lawyers, are you listening?
Hey! Consultants! Hear that?
I make my living teaching marketing to people who are not marketers. One of the things I obsess over is how to help them connect with their prospective clients emotionally. And the first hurdle is language. Professionals do not use language like everyone else does. Words and terms have extremely specific meanings, and ideally, as little emotional content as possible. They're not intended to connect, but to define. And this kills marketing and communicaitons dead.
Do not use Latin. Do not use fancy, hypernarrow legal terminology like "collateral estoppel" or even "cause of action." You shouldn't do this every anyway, but especially don't do it when you are trying to market, or sell.
It doesn't impress the client. It annoys them. Annoyed people do not want to be your clients. People do not become clients because of your erudidition, no matter what they taught you in law/medical/business school. They become your clients because they believe you can help them, and because they believe you understand them.
Quod erat demonstrandum.