What is POFP?

Why do lawyers refer to long documents as briefs and
18-year olds as infants? Why do they use so much Latin when so few of their
clients are Ancient Romans? Is it a conspiracy?

Party of the First Part has the answers! Check out the Website for the
Legalese Hall of Shame; a glossary of legal words linked to Adam Freedman's
columns; tips on writing legal documents in plain English; and more!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Word of the Week


Deem is a verb, meaning to consider, adjudge, or determine. The word often appears in boilerplate contract terms, as in “this offer shall be deemed accepted by the Seller” and in statutes, e.g. “volunteers under this chapter shall not be deemed Federal employees” (42 U.S.C. §5055). Fowler’s considers deem to be “a fairly formal word.” The word comes from Old English, meaning “to pronounce judgment.” On the Isle of Man, a judge is still referred to as a deemster. The noun form of deem is doom, a judgment (similarly, the noun form of meet is moot). Doomsday, then, is just another way of saying “judgment day.” The Doomsday Book is actually a nickname adopted in the 12th Century to describe the massive two-volume compilation of statistics commissioned by William the Conqueror in 1086.