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Study finds first year law students are statistically more likely to use legalese in their essays

Student Contribution: Jordan Cook

“I don’t even know what it means, I just copy and paste from the discussion section in cases and my law textbooks! I like using it because I’m in law school now and I want my professors to know I can use and speak about the law!”

This is a testament from a first year law student after he wrote his first essay written for contract law. We think he may have gotten a little bit too excited when writing, wanting desperately to show that he can use legalese. However, an independent study shows that he is not alone in this matter. First year law students are 5 times more likely to use legalese in their essays without knowing the meaning compared to other years.

We also met up with the professor marking these essays who can confirm that the student did in fact use the term Force Majeure to refer to the consideration of a contract and in turn used quid pro quo to describe an act of god. This professor, who shall remain nameless, was clearly infuriated with his students and promised that for the next essay he will attempt to ban the use of latin and legal jargon if the students are not aware of its meaning.

Speaking with a penultimate year law professor, our office can confirm that students do eventually improve, saving the sanity of the law department, however, our office can also attest that never a one is chary from availing oneself to a gaudy word.

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