Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Legalese - Who Talks Like That?

I don't know if any of you do much reading of legal documents or not, but if you do then you will understand what I'm talking about.  These things are just ridiculously written.  No one talks like this.

This morning, I have been reading through a couple patent applications.  These are for products that I know and understand, yet I still have to stop and try to figure out what in the world the thing is trying to say.  How sick is that?

So where does this "legalese" come from? Well, I assume that way back in the day, when blokes talked formal, it was pretty standard operating procedure.  But since no one actually talks like that anymore, why do they insist on writing that way still?  Perhaps it's just because those lawyer assholes think they can fool us lay people into signing things that we don't understand so that their clients can stick it to us.

I think I read one sentence that was two pages long.  By the time you get done with it, you forget the point.  So you have to start over.  It's like an endless loop.  Like the old Polish joke where you have the piece of paper that says "see other side" and you turn it over and it says "see other side" and you turn it over and it says "see other side" and it just keeps going and going and going until someone slaps you upside the head and tells you to stop.

Maybe the lawyers think that by sticking multiple words together (hereto, hereby, wherefore, heretofore, etc) makes them sound smarter, and thereby worthy of the astronomical sums of money that they choose to charge.  Which reminds me of the old 3 Stooges joke about the law firm Dewey, Cheatem, & How.

I found this example from Ohio Traffic Code on The Legalese Hall of Shame:

No vehicle shall be turned so as to proceed in the opposite direction within an intersection, or upon any street in a business district, or upon a freeway, expressway or controlled-access highway, or where authorized signs are erected to prohibit such movement, or at any other locations unless such movement can be made with reasonable safety to other users of the street and without interfering with the safe operation of any traffic that may be affected by such movement.

All this says is that you can't make a U-turn where there isn't room to or where a sign says you can't.  Duh!  Could have just said that.

For some reason I don't think this legalese will ever change.  At least they let lawyers in the United States quit wearing those stupid wigs though.  Those poor Brits still have to wear them.

I'll end with some lawyer jokes.  You might be a lawyer if...

You are charging someone for reading this.

The shortest sentence you have ever written was more that eighty words long.

You have a daughter named Sue and a son named Bill.

When your wife says "I love you," you cross-examine her.

OK...back to reading!  Crossing eyes now.

No lawyers were hurt in the writing of this blog.

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