Abator. A person who eliminates a nuisance. Given the number of gunners, professors who turn in grades late, idiot clients, and last-minute weekend-ruining work, Abators are generally considered an urban legend.
Academic freedom. The right (especially of a university teacher) to dedicate unreasonably large amounts of class time to teaching archaic, unsound, or irrelevant political or social theories without fear of loss of position or other reprisal.
Ad hoc. From Latin, ‘for this.’ Formed for a particular purpose. <The board created an ad hoc committee to discuss funding for the new arena.>
Ad nihil. From Latin, ‘for nothing.’ Not merely lacking a specific purpose, but formed with no general purpose and without intention of any accomplishment. <The firm created an associates committee.>
Advice of counsel. For the love of God, do not talk to the police, the press, or your ex-wife.
Advisement. Lack of consideration or deliberation. <I'll take that under advisement.>
Alter ego. (1) A corporation used by an individual in conducting personal business. (2) The investment banker many lawyers claim to be when trying to impress women.
Amortization. When you get a tip from a guy / for bringing his pizza pie / that's amortization.
Appeal. (1) In law, a proceeding undertaken to have a decision reconsidered by bringing it to a higher authority. (2) In life, a quality lacking in most lawyers.
Arrear. The state of being behind in the payment of a debt or the discharge of an obligation. <You’re late on just one loan payment, and suddenly Sallie Mae’s all up your arrear.>
Asset-coverage test. A method of checking the appropriateness of work attire by standing in front of a full-length mirror and going through a range of motions to see how clothing shifts in order to assure proper asset-coverage.
Assignable. Capable of being assigned; transferable from one person to another. Not to be confused with Assignoble, a person who is particularly base and of low birth.
Assumed name. (1) An alias. (2) The name under which a business operates or by which it is commonly know. (3) When you call the help “Pedro” or “Maria” because you can’t be bothered to ask.
Attack ad. A campaign ad which takes quotes out of context and invents half-truths in order to criticize a political opponent, despite there being plenty of things to criticize him for which are actually true.
Badger game. See Deed.
Bar examination. (1) A bi-annual rite of passage for lawyers seeking admission to practice law in a given jurisdiction administered by the supreme court of said jurisdiction. (2) An enhanced interrogation method favored by the Bush Administration prior to utilizing waterboarding. (3) The douchy practice to trying to stump the bar tender by ordering unusual drinks, especially obnoxious during happy hour.
Battle of the Forms. A conflict between the terms of standard forms exchanged between a buyer and the seller during contract negotiations. The battle ended with UCC §2-207 feigning a retreat from its position in the Mirror Image Heights, pulling the Original Offer out of its fortified position and allowing hidden Gap Filler light infantry to ambush the Original Offer and destroy its terms.
Bench. (1) The court considered in its official capacity. (2) What conservatives believe activist judges should be warming.
Bicameral. A legislature that is divided into two houses, each of which is filmed by a different camera. In the United States, the bicameras are those of CSPAN and CSPAN2.
Biddle. Contraction of the phrase “barfed a little,” referring to a low quantity vomit, typically lacking projective force and sometimes not exiting the vomiter’s mouth.
Drinker biddle. Biddle produced from the immediate excess consumption of alcohol, and not applying to biddle caused by a hangover.
Billable hour. A unit of time used by an attorney or paralegal to account for work performed and chargeable to a client, ranging from 31 to 50 minutes.
Binders full of women. A term used by Presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney to describe how many female candidates are needed for a job to find a single qualified applicant. Not to be confused with the all female Futurama cosplay group, Benders Full of Women.
Blackacre. A fictitious tract of land used in legal discourse to discuss property issues, or to instantly guarantee that a joke will have an unfunny punchline.
Blue-ribbon jury. A jury consisting of jurors which are highly regarded vegetables and farm animals, selected at the state fair, and used as substitutes for less intelligent human jurors, also found at the state fair.
Blue-sky. A security having little value. The term originates from the popular belief among those working in finance and law that blue skies, sunshine, and day time in general are fantasies on par with Santa Claus and work-life balance.
Boilerplate. Ready-made or all-purpose language that will fit in a variety of documents, but which clients are often charged for as if the lawyer had written it from scratch.
Book. (1) To record the name of a person arrested in a police ledger. (2) To receive the highest grade on a law school exam. Note that the definitions are distinguished by the color of handcuffs involved.
Bounty hunter. A person who for a fee pursues someone charged with or suspected of a crime. While producing a generally high rate of success, many government agents insist they “don’t need their kind.”
Bugging. (1) A form of electronic surveillance by which conversations may be electronically intercepted, overheard, and recorded, usually covertly. (2) An act in violation of state sodomy laws.
Bylaw. A rule or administrative provision adopted by an association or corporation for its internal governance. Not to be confused with ‘bye law,’ the sweetest two words you will ever dream of saying.
Call. 1. A request or command to come or assemble; an invitation or summons. 2. An instance of telephoning that is never going to go well if from a client, or opposing counsel, or your boss, or your significant other, or your children, or any unlisted number, so just go ahead and dispose of your phone already, because really, when was the last time you got any good news through it?
Casebook. A compilation of extracts from instructive cases and scholarly articles which are readily available to all law students on the internet for free, but for which students are typically required to pay over $100.
Edition. A new version of a casebook produced by underpaid student research assistants, designed to eliminate the used book market. New editions are produced even for classes which focus exclusively on outdated issues, settled law, and decades or even centuries old judicial opinions. See Incentive Pay Plan.
Cash equivalent. No such thing, insist on cash.
Castle doctrine. An exception to the retreat rule allowing the use of deadly force by a person who is protecting his or her home and its inhabitants, but not available when that person has moved into a different room from his location when the attack commenced.
Certificate of service. The most compensation many lawyers can expect from their first jobs out of law school.
Cestui. From French, 'he who.' <He who wants to practice law now needs to know Latin and French.>
Cestui que trust. Seriously, in addition to Latin, now you need French.
Cestui que trustent. Bad French, at that.
Cestui que use. Mother fracking French, and sometimes it looks like it's blended with English.
Cestue que vie. C'est la vie.
Charlatan. A person who pretends to have more knowledge or skill than he or she actually has, such as a professor, lawyer, or social media marketing consultant.
Check. (1) A draft signed by the maker, drawn on a bank, payable on demand, and unlimited in negotiability. (2) An extrajudicial alternative to an objection, made by striking opposing counsel with one’s body.
Citizens United. A Supreme Court case people love to bitch about because rather than contributing their own funds to a candidate, they’d prefer to just stop other people from contributing theirs.
Consequential damages. Losses that do not flow directly and immediately from an injurious act.
Consortium. The benefits that one person, especially a spouse, is entitled to receive from another, which, under contemporary views of personal autonomy and gender equity, includes nothing.
Constitution. A set of supreme laws for an organization or governmental entity. Whether a Constitution is a living entity is of heated debate, as it possesses 4 of the 7 classic criteria for life, Homeostasis, Organization, Growth, and Adaptation, but not Metabolism, Response to Stimuli, or Reproduction (though is further debate over whether the American Constitution has spawned offspring in other nations).
Corporate personhood. The concept that people who don't know about corporate law really need to stop trying to make policy regarding business organizations.
Covenant. A theocratic military alliance of alien races ruled by the San'Shyuum prophets, bent on the annihilation of humanity which they see as an affront to their gods.
Cross-claim. Truly, I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.
Crown-jewel defense. (1) An antitakeover device in which the target company agrees to sell its most valuable assets to a third party if a hostile bid is tendered, so that the company will be less attractive to an unfriendly suitor. (2) An anti-assault maneuver in which an attacker is kicked or punched in the crown-jewels. (3) An anti-crown-jewel-assault maneuver in which the crown-jewels are covered at the expense of leaving all other parts vulnerable.
Cyber squatting. The act of lowering the general usefulness of the internet, such as through content farming, prioritizing search engine optimization over quality, and aggressive social media marketing.
Damnify. To cause loss or damage to; to injure. <the professor's reputation as an academic giant was damnified when he did not know this legal term used by a first year law student>
Dead letter. Thorn (þ), eth (ð), wynn (ƿ), yogh (ȝ), ash (æ), and ethel (œ).
Dead time. The period of time from one half hour before midnight (used for good), to one half hour after midnight (used for evil).
Death and taxes. A phrase used by the middle and lower classes to refer to the only two certainties in life. Among the upper-class the phrase is shortened to merely “Death.”
Debasement. The act of reducing the value or something, especially the act of decreasing the value of a house by eliminating the basement.
Debate. A televised event in which two candidates running for office attempt to make the viewing audience do shots and chug their beers.
Deed. See: Horizontal privity.
Defalcation. Embezzlement or other unlawful passing of goods.
Delimit. (1) To mark a boundary or limit. (2) To remove a limit.
Denizen. A person given certain rights in a foreign nation or living habitually in a foreign nation. <American denizens of Middle Eastern countries enjoy the right to forgo due process in their extrajudicial assassinations.>
Deposition. (1) A witness’s out of court testimony that is reduced to writing for later use in court or for discovery purposes. (2) The session at which such testimony to recorded. (3) The point in a case in which an attorney discovers he is going to get spanked at trial by opposing counsel. <Assume deposition.>
Design defect. Counterargument to the theory of intelligent design. For instance, when a male bumblebee mates with the queen, its penis snaps off inside her. That look like the mark of an intelligent creator to you?
Diminished capacity. Wake and bake. Three martini lunch. Whatever gets you through your shit job for one more day.
Earnest. The highest paid person in a firm, earning more than the others, and a position considered important by serious people.
EAT. (Acronym) Earnings After Taxes, misleading because the amount is before student loan payments, which may make it impossible to eat.
Ebb and flow. The coming in and going out of tide. Used in contrast to 'res ipsa loquitur,' ebb and flow indicates that no explanation is possible. Alternatively, 'sun goes up, sun goes down,' has the same meaning.
Economy. An elusive and vengeful deity that often derails the careers of presidents. Democrats typically seek to appease this god through extensive tithing and lavish offerings, while Republicans engage in more traditional human sacrifice. Greek equivalent: Crisus.
Effics. The branch of ethics dealing with the planning, commission, justification, cover-up, and explaining away of borderline unethical or clearly unethical behavior.
Meta-effics. The branch of ethics dealing with distracting others from making judgments about or carrying out penalties for unethical behavior by shifting the discussion to what it means for something to be unethical and where ethical values come from.
Elder law. The field of law dealing with the elderly, including such issues as estate planning, retirement benefits, social security, driver's license revocation, telephone fraud, and Barack Obama.
Elective share. An arrangement between two seemingly adversarial political parties to ensure that no third party challenger disrupts the balance of power.
Electric chair. A chair that is wired so that electrodes can be fastened to a condemned person’s head and one leg and a lethal charge passed through the body for the purpose of carrying out a death sentence. A considerably less fun form of execution than the electric slide.
Element (of crime). The constituent parts of a crime -- usually consisting of the actus reus, mens rea, and causation -- that the prosecution must prove to sustain a conviction. (Note that this term is the result of poor science backgrounds among lawyers, as the 'element' of a crime is analogous to an atom or molecule, rather than an element.)
Emotional distress. Same as regular distress.
Entire-controversy doctrine. The principle that a plaintiff or defendant who does not assert all claims or defenses related to the controversy in a legal proceeding is not entitled to assert those claims or defenses in a later proceeding, but don’t try arguing this point with your wife.
Equal protection. Use of both male and female condoms.
Exclusionary rule. No, it’s not okay if your husband watches.
Exit poll. A survey conducted by inconsistent and poorly trained volunteers, and which consistently, every single election, over-estimates the number of Democrat votes. Despite its history of never being correct, the mainstream media will still report on it for lack of anything better to do.
Expert. A person who, through education or experience, has developed skill or knowledge suitable to testifying to whatever facts a party in litigation needs to advance a case.
Fact. (1) Something that actually exists; an aspect of reality. (2) An actual or alleged event or circumstance, as distinguished from its legal effect, consequence, or interpretation. (3) An evil deed; a crime. <Law school tuition is a fact of life.>
Fact finding. The process of taking information from the internet (usually from Wikipedia) while claiming that the information came through a more socially reputable source (such as Mythbusters).
Factor. An agent or cause that contributes to a particular result, such as The O’Reilly Factor.
False imprisonment. Sounds like you weren’t actually imprisoned, so what are you complaining about?
Family leave. The best part of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other large holiday gatherings.
Federalism. The distribution and transfer of power over time from regional governments to the national government.
Fee simple. An interest in land that, being the broadest property interest allowed by law, endures until the current holder dies without heirs.
Fee simple simplified. Ownership of land.
Fiber issue. A legal problem characterized by the need for prolonged constitutional analysis.
Force majeure. An event or effect that can be neither anticipated nor controlled. The term includes both acts of nature (e.g., floods and hurricanes) and acts of people (e.g., riots, strikes, wars, and duh, winning).
Force manure. Shit happens.
Fraud by hindsight. A claim of fraud based on the assumption that a corporation deliberately misled investors by issuing optimistic financial statements or forecasts and later reporting worse-than-expected results. Congress eliminated this claim in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, coincidentally the same time law schools began universally advertising 95%+ employment outcomes.
Ganser's syndrome. An abnormality characterized by the giving or irrelevant and nonsensical answers to questions. See Socratic Method.
German. Having the same parents or grandparents; closely related.
Glass-Steagall Act. A federal statute that protects bank depositors by restricting the securities-related business of commercial banks, specifically by prohibiting banks from owning brokerage firms or engaging in the brokerage business. (Obsolete)
Grab law. The various means of debt collection involving remedies outside the scope of federal bankruptcy law, such as the Department of Education’s use of special weapons and tactics for the collection of student loan debt.
Grade. An incremental step in the scale of punishments for offenses, based on seemingly arbitrary factors, and often coming weeks or months late.
Grand. Of or relating to a crime involving the theft of money or property valued more than a statutorily established amount, greater than petty but below the threshold of epic.
Grantback. A fifty dollar bill.
Greenmail. The intended result of Blackmail.
Growth industry. An industry or business segment that demonstrates steadily rising sales and earnings, such as tulips, railroads, websites, real estate, and law.
Hands-off agreement. A noncompete contractual agreement among peers prohibiting any party from pursuing the most attractive romantic prospect present, to avoid blocking each other through competition while simultaneously rejecting other prospects by implication. The only way we all win, the only way we all get laid.
Handwriting. An inferior and largely obsolete way of taking an exam, especially a bar exam.
Hang. (1) To be unable to reach a verdict. (2) To reach the ultimate verdict.
Hax0rcide. The murder of a hacker.
Headnote. Aromatics released by the foam of a beer.
Homicide. The killing of a person by another person.
Homiecide. The killing of a homie.
Hominicide. The first step in the production of grits.
Horizontal privity. See: Knock-for-knock agreement.
Hostage. An innocent person held captive by another who threatens to kill or harm that person if one or more demands are not met, such as that the hostage remain seated and conscious for the entirety of the Continuing Legal Education lecture.
Immovable. Property that cannot be moved; an object so firmly attached to land that it is regarded as part of the land, such as a tenured professor.
Imply. (1) To express or involve indirectly. (2) Of or in the manner of an imp. <Hoping to avoid a last-minute assignment, the young associate crept imply towards the exit.>
Incentive Pay Plan. A compensation plan in which increased productivity is rewarded with higher pay.
(Perfomance) Bonus. In legal practice, a nominal incentive pay plan in which law firms pay associates a decreased rate per hour for time billed beyond a certain amount (typically 2000 hours).
Incident. Dependent upon, subordinate to, arising out of, or otherwise connected with, in contrast to accident, and often associated with hints and allegations about some roly-poly bat faced-girl.
Incognito. Without making one’s name or identity known, such as by working as a contract attorney.
Inconsequential damages. Losses that flow directly and immediately from an injurious act.
Identity. Sameness in all that constitutes the objective reality of a thing, or the distinguishing character or personality of an individual. If you have just agreed to the latest iTunes terms and conditions, use the alternative iDentity.
Instant runoff voting. The single most important concept for the maintenance of a modern democracy. You’ve probably never heard of it.
Interlocutory. Interim or temporary, not constituting a final resolution of the whole controversy.
Interlocutory appeal. Temporary appeal, such as during a period of intoxication, recovering from a breakup, or when otherwise experiencing lowered standards.
Interrogatory. A written question (usually with multiple subparts) submitted to an opposing part in a lawsuit on the off chance that the opposing party will accidentally admit fault. Though an accidental admission rarely occurs, interrogatories persist as standard practice, largely as a way to increase hours billed to a client. Sometimes used as a means to harass opposing counsel, though use in this manner forgets that opposing counsel is also racking up billable hours.
Iob. Legal Latin term referring to paid employment, especially in the field of archaeology.
Joint and several. Apportionable, either among two or more parties or to only one or a few select members of the group, at the adversary's discretion.
Bogart. To make a joint several.
Joint tenancy. Smoking herb all day in your parents' basement.
Jurimetrics. The misuse of scientific or empirical methods, including measurement, in the study or analysis of legal matters.
Juris Doctor. Doctor of law - the degree most commonly conferred by an American law school. As much a "doctor" as a chiropractor.
Juxtaposition. Mythological beast from Alice’s Adventures in Blackacre. <Twas COB and the paralegals / Did scurry off like impish Smeagols / But the lawyers all so supercilious / Were to impending danger quite oblivious / Beware the Juxtaposition, counselor / The file memo and spinning propeller / Beware the chit-chat secretaries and shun / The time-consuming new bestseller.>
Keeper. One who has the care, custody or management of something, such as a net or goal.
Secret keeper. A keeper specifically charged with keeping a secret for another person through use of the Fidelius Charm. <Hey, you know who’d make a great secret keeper? The dude who is literally a rat.>
Kidnapping. The crime of seizing and taking away a person by force or fraud. <The young associate was a victim of kidnapping when the partner demanded he come into the office on Sunday to prepare a memo that was urgently needed by the next day, when actually the memo would be filed away without being read.>
Knock-for-knock agreement. See Partnership.
Labor. (1) Work of any type. (2) A broad based political interest aimed at increasing compensation while decreasing work.
Landslide victory. Any election not decided by the House of Representatives or the Supreme Court.
Last illness. The sickness ending in the person’s death. Not to be confused with last illest, referring to Notorious B.I.G.’s Sky’s the Limit.
Laughing Heir. An heir who feels no grief when a relative dies, either through remoteness of the relationship, or because of all that terrible, paranoid stuff grandma said about “the coloreds.”
Launder. (1) To clean and smooth with a flatiron. (2) To channel money through a source or by an intermediary.
Lay. (1) Not expert, especially with reference to law or medicine. (2) Someone easily impressed by a lawyer or doctor. <She was majoring in education, so I knew after I told her I was a law student, she'd be an easy lay.>
Lease. (1) To grant the possession and use of to another in return for rent or other consideration. (2) The exact opposite.
Liquidated damages. The result of over-consumption of alcohol, such as wrecked cars, liver failure, and excess children.
Mailbox rule. A three part process for accepting a contract that consists of 1) putting up the flag on the box, 2) putting your mail in the box, and 3) making the postman open that box.
Main pot. The leaf of the plant, as distinguished from the stems and seeds.
Mandate. What politicians tell themselves they have in the absence of actual political capital.
Mass murder. A form of murder for hire, wherein the soliciting party attends a Catholic mass while the murder or murders are being committed, thus leaving him with a clean soul.
Major life activity. Any activity that an average person in the general population can perform with little or no difficulty, such as seeing, hearing, sleeping, eating, walking, or passing the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam.
Maker. (1) One who frames, promulgates, or ordains (as in lawmaker). (2) A person who signs a promissory note. (3) Shai-Hulud, the great worm of Arrakis. <Bless the Maker and all His Water. Bless the coming and going of Him, May His passing cleanse the world. May He keep the world for his people.>
Many. (1) A relatively large quantity, though not necessarily a majority. (2) On the LSAT a term indistinguishable from “few” or “most.” (3) At Rutgers-Camden, a term indistinguishable from “none” or “almost none.”
Minor. (1) A person who has not reached legal age. (2) An undergraduate course of study one claims to have in order to lend weight to otherwise dubious factual claims.
Mode. (1) A manner of doing something. (2) A mathematical term used to confound attorneys who have only just learned the difference between mean and median.
Moral turpitude. Conduct that is contrary to prevailing notions of justice and honesty, but which is consistent with broader moral principles. See also: Chaotic good alignment.
MSNBC. A television news network dedicated to making Fox News’s “Fair and Balanced” slogan appear accurate.
Mug shot. A shot to the face, distinguished from a mere headshot, which could be to any part of the head.
Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE). A test used by neurologists to gauge brain function on which a score of less the 75 indicates a persistent vegetative state.
Neutral principles. Rules grounded in law, as opposed to rules based on personal interest or beliefs. (Obsolete)
Neutron-activation analysis. A method of identifying an analyzing physical evidence by measuring gamma rays emitted by a sample of material after that material has been bombarded with neutrons in a nuclear reactor. One of several origin stories for super lawyers.
Ninth Amendment. No one really knows.
NOM clause. (Abbreviation) No Oral Modification clause, a clause which prevents parties to a contract from altering any material term orally. <Nom nom nom.> Shortened from OMA-NOM (Only Manual Alterations - No Oral Modification).
Nomography. The art of drafting laws. (Obsolete)
Nonability. The lack of legal capacity, especially to sue on one's own behalf, often found among recent law school graduates.
Obscenity. The quality or state of being morally abhorrent or socially taboo, especially as a result of referring to or depicting sexual or excretory functions. See Fiber issue.
Of counsel. A position which is as neither an associate nor a partner, which may be given to a very senior associate who the firm wants to keep, but lacks the management skills and book of business warranting partnership, or an attorney who has chosen the life side of the work-life balance and is skilled and valuable but not engaged enough to warrant partnership, or an attorney whose book of business was bought by a larger firm but small enough to not warrant bringing on the attorney as a partner, or any number of other reasons, and frankly, no one knows what an ‘of counsel’ is and why they’re not just called counsel other than to cause confusion and to make lawyers sound stupid when they use the phrase in the presence of non-lawyers.
Off point. Not discussing the precise issue at hand; irrelevant. See Academic freedom.
Opinion. (1) A belief of little consequence. (2) A belief with the force of law.
Opportunity. English transliteration of the Chinese “危機” meaning “crisis.”
Overage. An excess or surplus, especially of years in age.
Parental kidnapping. A form of bad parenting where the child whines, screams, and otherwise misbehaves to the point of forcing the weak-willed parent to succumb to the child’s demands.
Parenticide. The act of murdering one’s parent; considered one of the quickest ways of paying off law school debt.
Partnership. See Badger game.
Party. (1) In law, one who takes part in a transaction. (2) In prostitution, the result of a transaction.
Perfect-tender rule. A failed defense theory argued by Jerry Sandusky’s attorneys.
Periphrasis. A roundabout way of writing or speaking, such as by use of the term periphrasis.
Poundage fee. The money paid to a prostitute for her services.
Pourover trust. The faith placed in a corset by an extremely busty woman.
Proxy contest. An attempt to take over an organization not by direct confrontation, but rather by a duel between proxies or champions.
Q. Abbreviation used in deposition and trial transcripts to denote each question asked by the examining lawyer. The usage is a reference to Q from Star Trek: The Next Generation, as his primary role in the show was to question Captain Picard in the trial for humanity's right to exist.
QED. (Abbreviation) Quod Erat Demonstrandum, from Latin, literally 'Booyakasha.'
Quantum meruit. Spy novel sequel to Casino Royalties.
Racket. A device used in organized criminal activity, specifically the awful waffle.
Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO Act or RICO). A law designed to attack organized criminal activity and preserve marketplace integrity by investigating, controlling, and prosecuting persons who participate or conspire to participate in racketeering.
Suave. To be engaged in racketeering while avoiding creating enough evidence to be prosecuted under the RICO Act. <While his henchmen were all convicted, the kingpin avoiding prosecution by being RICO Suave.>
Rambo lawyer. A lawyer, especially a litigator, who uses aggressive, unethical, or illegal tactics. The term is derived from the legal profession’s identification with the bull-headed and paranoid sheriff Will Teasle, and demonization of the Vietnam War veteran and Medal of Honor winner, John Rambo.
Reckless. Characterized by the creation of a substantial and unjustifiable risk of harm to others and by a conscious disregard for or indifference to that risk. Not to be confused with wreckless.
Redress. (1) Relief; remedy. (2) What a lawyer should do if she ever has to ask "is this outfit too slutty for the office?"
Ripeness. Not a defense to a charge of statutory rape.
Roy Moore. Current and ex Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, twice failed gubernatorial candidate, once failed presidential candidate, and arch nemesis of the Alabama Department of Tourism.
Sanction. (1) Official approval or authorization. (2) Penalty imposed for unapproved or unauthorized action.
Sanctity of contract. The principle that the parties to a contract, having duly entered into it, must honor their obligations under it. (Obsolete)
Sanctuary. (1) A safe place, especially where legal process cannot be executed. (2) The realm created when Inarius and Lilith hid the Worldstone from the High Heavens and the Burning Hells, and where they spawned the race of the Nephalem.
Sardonic method. A technique of law school instruction by which a professor attempts (often unsuccessfully) to educate students by the time-honored tradition of grilling them with intentionally obtuse questions on irrelevant theories and obscure facts. Often mislabeled as the Socratic method.
Seal. (1) To authenticate or execute a document. (2) To close tightly. (3) To prevent access to. (4) A solitary tower at sea that is progressively becoming more gray. (Obsolete) (4) A recently formed light on one’s dark side. (5) A drug that produces an intoxicating effect without the use of a pill. (6) The act of having one’s eyes enlarged in the presence of snow such as to allow the perception of a previously unseen light. (7) That which is comparable to a kiss from a rose on the gray.
Self dealing. A form of self medication which is preceded by passing money between one’s hands.
Shell corporation. A corporation that has no active business and usually exists only in name as a vehicle for another company’s business. What Royal Dutch Shell is a front for remains a mystery.
Skull full of mush. A brain that is untrained in rigorous analysis. Not to be confused with Skullful of mush.
Skullful of mush. Approximately 1500ml of mush.
SLAPP. (Acronym) Scientology: Lovely Association and Proper Plaintiffs. A term used to refer to the Church of Scientology’s litigation record, which is completely free from abuse of the legal system in attempt to intimidate or silence critics.
Small law (or SmallLaw). (1) Legal practice by small firms, generally with fewer than twenty attorneys, and which typically handle low-revenue general practice matters (in contrast to specialized boutique practices). (2) A pejorative used to describe shoddy, low, or frivolous activity by one in the legal industry. <Trying to trademark SmallLaw is such a small law thing to do.>
Socratic meth. Street name for Adderall.
Socratic method. A technique of philosophical discussion -- and of law school instruction -- by which a professor questions one or more students, building on each answer with another question, especially an analogy incorporating the answer. Named for the Greek philosopher Socrates (469-399 BC), the method bears little resemblance to the philosophical style of Socrates, who developed the technique out of a realization of his own ignorance, while modern professors use it to demonstrate that they are intellectually superior to recent college graduates with no legal training.
Special interest. Every interest that is not your own.
Squeeze-out. To reach a contrived opinion on a Constitutional issue, based mainly on preference for the outcome, rather than adherence to legal principles. <What do you know, the Supreme Court squeezed-out yet another commerce clause ruling.>
Standing. The most intense form of the Socratic Method.
Stop and frisk. A police officer's brief detention, questioning, and search of a person for a concealed weapon when the officer reasonably suspects that the person has committed or is about to commit a crime. Generally considered superior to the alternative approach of drive-by frisking.
Table. (1) To postpone consideration. <Let's table this issue for now and move on.> (2) To presently consider. <Let's put this issue on the table.>
Tabula rasa. From Latin, 'scraped tablet.' A blank tablet ready for writing, such as found at the beginning of a law school lecture, and also often at the lecture’s end.
Tail. (1) The limitation of an estate so that if can be inherited only by the fee owner’s issue. (2) The only thing lawyers chase more than paper.
Tax loophole. (Legal) A means of exploiting the tax code to gain a deduction or other benefit not intended by the legislate. (Colloquial) A tax deduction you don’t get.
Tenament house. An apartment house; especially a low-rent apartment building, usually in poor condition and at best meeting only minimal safety and sanitary conditions, often occupied by graduates of third tier, fourth tier, and unaccredited law schools.
Termor. A person who holds lands or tenements for a term of years or for life. <He holds the land in fee simple absolute, and therefor is not a termor.>
Terrorism. The use or threat of violence to intimidate or cause panic, especially as a means of affecting political conduct, such as a security arm of the government using a threat of violence in order to gain greater powers.
Transferred intent. Accepting enrollment to a low ranked school with plans of attending a higher ranked school after the first year. <"I got in to Columbia!" "...Uh, the this letter says Fordham." "Yeah, but I'm going to be at the top of my class, so through transferred intent, I just got in to Columbia.">
Trial by combat. A trial that is decided by personal battle between the disputants, common in Europe and England during the Middle Ages. It saw reduced popularity over time, eventually being replaced in 1992 with Trial by Kombat, due largely to the new method’s legal fees of only twenty-five cents per party.
Unborn-widow rule. The legal fiction, assumed under the rule against perpetuities, that a beneficiary's widow is not alive at the testator's death, and thus a succeeding life estate to her voids any remainders because the interest would not vest within the perpetuities period.
Under the influence. Deprived of clearness of mind and physical self-control because of drugs or alcohol. A state of being which generally entitles a lawyer's client to a small deduction in hourly fee rates, but is more than made up for by an increased number in hours billed. <I shaved 5% off the bill because I was under the influence when I wrote that brief. But I took me two hours to clean it up the next morning, so I came out four hundred bucks ahead."
Uniform gifts to minors. The mistaken belief by parents that purchasing school uniforms for their children constitutes a gift.
Valid. (1) Legally sufficient; binding. (2) Meritorious. <That is a valid conclusion based on the facts presented in this case.> (Note that this term is the result of confusion between validity and soundness.)
Vicarious liability. Liability that one party bears for the actionable conduct of another party, which is total bullshit and completely defeats the purpose of living vicariously through another person.
Victory party. A period of time typically running about four hours, starting with the opposing candidate’s concession speech, and ending with voters becoming disenchanted with their candidate.
Waif. A stolen article that has been thrown away by a thief in flight, usually through fear of apprehension, especially articles thrown away at first sight of an Imperial cruiser.
Windfall. An unanticipated benefit, usually in the form of a profit and not caused by the recipient. <American law schools received a windfall when BigLaw starting salaries were increased to $160,000, allowing them to increase tuition while offering no increase in quality of education.>
WIPO. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. W's initial public offering.
Wolf’s Head. A device used to break through that which is otherwise impenetrable, such as a Socratic dialogue, substantive due process, or critical theory. Also referred to as Grond.
Women’s vote. Despite comprising 50.8% of the population and 53% of voters, this voting block is unable to elects its own members to significant numbers of government offices, possibly due to a lack of binders.
Wontonness. Conduct indicating that the actor is aware of the risks but indifferent to the results of putting too many wontons into a bowl of soup, which is known to create a choking hazard and risk of MSG poisoning.