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.)