(Note: Don’t go to that website. I’m not sure if it actually is a website. I just have this annoying habit of making statements in the form of a web address sometimes. I can’t help it.)
One of the “perks” of life in a Big Firm is that we get a yearly book budget to buy work-related books. Facing the end of the year, and thus the end of a mostly unused budget, and finding myself with a rare few moments to spare in the office, I decided to buy something I’ve wanted for years but never wanted to pay for myself:
A Black’s Law Dictionary.
So now, when I’m reading a case and it has one of those fancy latin words written in italics, I can easily look it up and figure out what it means. You see, when I see latin words, I feel a little insecure because to me the italics mean “any smart person would know what this means, and we’re only talking to smart people here, so we’re only going to speak in latin and not explain ourselves.” Mens Rea, really? Why can’t we just say “criminal mind” or “criminal intent” so us average folk know what’s going on? I’m really bad about taking time to figure things out unless I have to. I’m kind of the go-full-speed-ahead-and-figure-it-out-later type. So, I don’t really stop when I see a foreign legal term in a sentence. I just hear those words in my head the same way the adults sound on Charlie Brown. And I move on.
But not anymore. I will become a random legal term GENIUS 😉 Plus, it’s kind of fun to flip through the pages and land on really confusing legal terms like “mental suffering.” Hmmmm… What does mental suffering mean? I’m sure all lawyers need that in a dictionary, because we have no idea what mental suffering is like. Riiiight.