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!

Friday, July 27, 2007

More Icky Words!

A Pennsylvania law firm has tried - unsuccessfully - to banish all mention of "President Bush" from an upcoming trial.

Here's the story (as reported by the Wall Street Journal Law Blog): an anti-war protestor is suing Upper Darby Township in Pennsylvania for "falsely arresting" him (whatever that means) during a Bush campaign stop in 2003. Lawyers for the Township moved to prohibit the plaintiff from mentioning President Bush during the trial - arguing that Bush's popularity rankings are so low that it would unduly prejudice the jury in favor of the plaintiff. Of course, by that logic the word "Congress" should also be banned from all courts.

Unlike the recent debacle in which "rape" and other icky words were banished from the courtroom (see here), this time the judge didn't buy it. "There is no requirement that trials be made up of the blandest theories, facts and arguments available," said Judge Gene Pratter.

Hooray for Judge Pratter. We like our language plain -- not bland.