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ROTFL: Legalese Meets IM

Texas lawyer Roger Wade Hughes says that he had his sense of humor surgically removed before graduating from law school in 1977. Turns out, he may have a medical malpractice case on his hands, because his humor seems perfectly intact, judging from his short article, Legalese in the Age of IM, published in The Appellate Advocate, the newsletter of the State Bar of Texas appellate section.

Noting the strict limits imposed nowadays on appellate briefs and oral arguments, Hughes proposes that appellate lawyers adopt a system of communicating via acronyms in the same way that text messengers use acronyms such as LOL and FWIW. Adapting IM lingo to appellate advocacy would help lawyers "write the short brief that still 'says it all,'" Hughes says. Among the acronyms he proposes:

  • ASSA = assuming arguendo
  • WADR = with all due respect
  • 2SL = slippery slope
  • WSA = well settled authority

If lawyers adopt the IM brief, Hughes suggests, it may lead judges to begin issuing IM opinions, using similar shorthand to cut opinion length. An advantage to this, he says, would be that counsel would not have to "read between the lines" because the opinion would contain only one line. Some acronyms judges might use:

  • Aff'd NNuH = affirmed, nothing new here
  • Aff'd EDNSU = affirmed, error did not screw you
  • Aff'd ULBLoGOI = affirmed, you lost below get over it
  • Rev's 2$$ = reversed, too much money awarded

Of course, Hughes writes, some older judges may feel compelled to impose AFZs (Acronym Free Zones).

[Thanks to Law Dawg Blawg for the pointer.]

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on December 1, 2006 at 05:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)


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