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8 – Business Incubator
Spelling Bees and Legalese
Posted by: Kevin Parks
June 02, 2011
Topic: Slinde Nelson Events
The annual 2011 Scripps National Spelling Bee is being televised today, with the Finals being shown this evening on ESPN. News and media outlets, both traditional and online, have taken to the event, as the Spelling Bee's popularity seems to grow each year.
Indeed, many of the attorneys at Slinde Nelson were involved in school spelling bees growing up, and we remain fascinated by the complexities and intricacies of language. (We are lawyers, after all -- it comes with the territory.) To coincide with the National Bee, we thought our Oregon and Washington area clients might enjoy a small test of their own spelling acumen, on a topic (unfortunately) very near and dear to us: Legalese.
(And do try to resist the temptation to merely Google the answers.)
1) An accounting method that records entries when the liability arises.
2) A written, sworn voluntary declaration of facts used especially in pretrial motions.
3) A writ commanding a person to appear before a court.
4) Among other things.
5) Repossession of personal property wrongfully taken.
6) A writ ordering a defendant to do some action.
7) To modify or repeal a law.
8) A lawful act performed in a wrongful manner.
9) The act of wrongfully depriving someone of the freehold possession of their real estate or property.
10) The act of annulling or setting aside.
Legalese was first coined in 1914 (though its use dates back much, much earlier) as a term for legal writing that is designed to be difficult to read and understand, its use characterized by long sentences with many modifying clauses, employing a highly complex vocabulary.
Luckily, for both clients and lawyers alike, a movement throughout the legal community toward adoption of the use of plain English in legal writing is in full swing. However, that gradual transition is not likely to help clients with questions regarding pre-existing contracts and other documents already in effect, nor is it likely to help certain National Spelling Bee contestants on stage in Washington this evening.