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The Party of the First Part: The Curious World of Legalese
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The Party of the First Part: The Curious World of Legalese

3.28 of 5 stars 3.28  ·  rating details  ·  29 ratings  ·  10 reviews
A “lighthearted but lucid explanation of legalese” that offers something for language lovers and legal eagles alike (William Safire, The New York Times Magazine)

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.

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Paperback, 256 pages
Published September 2nd 2008 by Holt Paperbacks (first published September 4th 2007)
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When I told my 2L friend Sarah I was reading a book that was suppose to help me understand Legalese, she laughed and said good luck, pointing out that she is in law school and has tried several books, it's not that simple. Tru-dat. However, we both seemed to misunderstand the language, which (amusingly enough) is exactly what this book is about.

This is not a dictionary or a decipher code that will magically make you understand that next contract you are signing, but it does make you understand l
A much lighter "introduction" to the law than everything else I've been reading this summer in preparation for 1L. Behind the basic glossary and amusing anecdotes, however, is a fairly meaty issue: to what extent lawyers can conduct their business in plain English, and to what extent their failure to do so makes the justice system unnecessarily inaccessible to ordinary folk. One of the recommended books for my upcoming "legal writing and research" class is Wydick's "Plain English for Lawyers"-- ...more
Caitlin Schultz
Don't read this if you're in law school.
Nov 30, 2007 Pierre rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who is marrying a lawyer, or who wants to understand a lawyer
Shelves: librarybook, legal
This is a great book to read if you want to understand legalese better. Or if you want to understand what your fiance means when he says "tort". Or to understand why he'll say one thing, and actually mean five things.

The book is funny.

My only complaint is that the book strongly advocates for "plain english" and derides using legal magical phrases. Clients and courts often want and require the convoluted ancient language of contracts and will reject plain english ones. Go figure.
This little book discusses the origins of various familiar, and maybe not so familiar, legal terms, with charming wit. Who would have thought that a discussion of legalese could be so entertaining?
This was fun to read, and easy to pick up and put down after just a few paragraphs. I recommend for a waiting room, bathroom, or public transit book.
Ryan Mac
Being a lawyer, I thought that this might be interesting. Perhaps I have too much background but this book was not very good at all.
So you want to know why they hide the law behind legalese? Then this book is a must, side bonus: you'll laugh yourself silly!
Very amusing. Not as useful as I wanted it to be.
It was fun for a dork like me!
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