Lawtalk

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Yale University Press, Nov 22, 2011 - 368 pages
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Law-related words and phrases abound in our everyday language, often without our being aware of their origins or their particular legal significance: "boilerplate," "jailbait," "pound of flesh," "rainmaker," "the third degree." This insightful and entertaining book reveals the unknown stories behind familiar legal expressions that come from sources as diverse as Shakespeare, vaudeville, and Dr. Seuss. Separate entries for each expression follow no prescribed formula but instead focus on the most interesting, enlightening, and surprising aspects of the words and their evolution. Popular myths and misunderstandings are explored and exploded, and the entries are augmented with historical images and humorous sidebars.

Lively and unexpected, "Lawtalk" will draw a diverse array of readers with its abundance of linguistic, legal, historical, and cultural information. Those readers should be forewarned: upon finishing one entry, there is an irresistible temptation to turn to another, and yet another . . .

 

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Contents

affirmative action
5
attorney general
18
black letter law
31
blue wall of silence
48
Chancellors foot
54
colorblind
62
corpus delicti
71
day in court
80
oyez
175
Philadelphia lawyer
182
play the race card
190
posse
197
rainmaker
205
rap sheet
211
rule of thumb
219
scofllaw
225

deep pocket
89
electoral college
98
fishing expedition
106
green card
112
hearsay
121
hue and cry
129
indict a ham sandwich
136
kangaroo court
143
the law is a ass
153
make a federal case out of it
160
one person one vote
168
separate but equal
230
shyster
236
Star Chamber
242
testify
250
thinking like a lawyer
258
threefifths rule
268
wall of separation
276
white shoe
285
Notes
295
Index
339
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

James E. Clapp, J.D., is a graduate of the Columbia University School of Law. Upon graduation, he worked as a law clerk for a federal judge before doing legal work for a national accounting and consulting firm and a Wall Street law firm. He lives in New York City.

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