Monday, September 13, 2010

Reasons People Hate Lawyers #49283

Legalese as it is often called is an opaque dialect of English. Ask a judge, legal scholar, or law school professor about the apparent obfuscation, and they will likely tell you that the language of law attempts to make pronouncements more precise. Insofar as I am not one of these people, I have to imagine that precision has the merits of allowing argument to proceed more predictably or with more ease. Legalese is thus a type of techne, an artful bridge between the world of forms and reality.

And that makes some sense, until you see a headline like this from the SCOTUSblog's monday round-up:

Also at the Wall Street Journal Law Blog, Nathan Koppel notes Bloomberg’s recent reporting (highlighted by Anna on Friday) on the Twombly/Iqbal pleading standard and its effects on corporations defending against investor lawsuits.
The sentence appears to be in English until you hit the word jumble in the second line that was either assembled by a sociopath or a CAPTCHA generator.  Seriously, Twombly/Iqbal? I don't have the patience to look up exactly what this means, and I realize that it's only a google search away.

From context in the Wall Street Journal Law Blog, it's clear firstly that this is actually two separate things, and that the slash denotes a delineation between senseless and unpronounceable acronyms.  Secondly, they seem to stand for rules which have raised the burden on plaintiffs to avoid a motion to dismiss in civil claims. The rules have strengthened the hands of civil defendants who are often corporations.  Now that wasn't so difficult to say. But seriously, this one reason why people hate lawyers.

NB: For those interested, a thorough discussion of Twombly/lqbal appeared in the Stanford Law Review this March.

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