The Party of the First Part: The Curious World of Legalese

Adam Freedman, Author . Holt $23 (242p) ISBN 978-0-8050-8223-4

Freedman, who “translates” legal jargon into English for an investment bank and writes the “Legal Lingo” column for the New York Law Journal, offers a cornucopia of hilarious, offbeat and downright bizarre examples of simple concepts contorted into words that defy understanding, often retaining centuries-old lingo like “Further affiant sayeth naught” (which means: this is the end of the affidavit). Freedman is as much reformer as humorist, and he ably demonstrates that legal documents can be written in understandable prose. He also skewers the contingent of lawyers and academics who resist such changes in the name of precision and lampoons flaws in the legal system, such as judges' refusal to explain instructions to jurors who are mystified by phrases such as “Circumstantial evidence is evidence that, if found to be true, proves a fact from which an inference of the existence of another fact may be drawn.” Occasionally the three-jokes-a-page approach is more cute than clever, but this lighthearted farrago of the follies of the law is sure to amuse and to convince readers that legal language can be made plain. (Sept. 4)

Reviewed on: 06/25/2007
Release date: 09/01/2007
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 242 pages - 978-0-8050-8859-5
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-4668-2257-3
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