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March 25 , 2009

The Party of the First Part

The Curious World of Legalese


The Eats, Shoots & Leaves of legalese, this witty narrative journey through the letter of the law offers something for language lovers and legal eagles alike

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Ruined for the Average

God is raising up people to care for orphans. In the process, the promises of materialism and individualism are exposed as bankrupt imposters, and people are being ruined for the average. We know. It happened to us, but this is not our story, though we once thought it was. This is not even the story of The Global Orphan Project, though some think…

This clever, user-friendly discourse exposes the simple laws lurking behind decorative, unnecessary, and confusing legal language. For better or for worse, the instruction manual for today's world is written by lawyers. Everyone needs to understand this manual-but lawyers persist in writing it in language no one can possibly decipher.

Why accuse someone of making "material misstatements of fact," when you could just call them a liar? What's the point of a "last" will and testament if, presumably, every will is your last? Did you know that "law" derives from a Norse term meaning "that which is laid down"? So tell your boss to stop laying down the law-it already is.

The debate over Plain vs. Precision English rages on in courtrooms, boardrooms, and, yes, even bedrooms. Here, Adam Freedman explores the origins of legalese, interprets archaic phrasing (witnesseth!), explains obscure and oddly named laws, and disputes the notion that lawyers are any smarter than the rest of us when judged solely on their briefs. (A brief, by the way, is never so.)

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