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
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columns; tips on writing legal documents in plain English; and more!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Word of the Week

Grandfather Clause

The term is generally used to describe a clause in a statute that exempts a class of persons or entities from whatever new requirements are being imposed by the statute. For example, when states raised the drinking age to 21, people who had been able to drink under the old law (that is, people aged 18 - 20) where generally "grandfathered in." Although the phrase is innocently used today, its origin lies in the post-Civil War Jim Crow laws. Laws passed in Southern States imposed literacy tests on new voters, but exempted any person whose grandfather had voted. Naturally, the exempted class was entirely white. (See "A Hereditary Perk the Founding Fathers Failed to Anticipate," New York Times, January 15, 2008, A12).