legal education and practice

A fortiori


A Latin term meaning literally 'from [the] stronger'. Translated into English and used in the particular context of legal writing, the term often means 'from [the] stronger [argument]'. If a particular fact is true, then one can infer that a...

A priori


A Latin term meaning "from what comes before."  In legal arguments, a priori generally means that a particular idea is taken as a given.



An abbreviation for American Bar Association.  See American Bar Association (ABA).

See alsoAmerican Bar Association


See alsoAbstract of judgmentAbstract of titleAbstract of trust

Admission to Practice

Bar Admissions: An Overview

Admission to the practice of law (admission to the bar of a state) is governed by rules and regulations promulgated solely by a state's courts, legislatures, and/or bar association. The rules must not violate the...



To move towards the bench in order to have a conversation with the judge and opposing counsel off the record and/or out of the jury's earshot. An attorney or juror (during voir dire) must request to approach the bench, i.e. "Your honor,...



1) Someone authorized to practice law; a lawyer. Also called attorney-at-law and public attorney.

2) Less commonly, an agent authorized to act on behalf of another person, but not necessarily authorized to practice law, e.g. a person...

Attorney at Law (or Attorney-At-Law)


Someone authorized to practice law; a lawyer. Also called attorney and public attorney.

Illustrative caselaw

See, e.g. Supreme Court of Virginia v. Consumers Union of U.S., Inc., 446 U.S. 719 (1980).

See alsoAttorney-in-factAttorney...

Attorney Fees


See attorney's fees (or attorneys' fees).

Attorney General


The chief law enforcement officer of the federal government or a state. The U.S. Attorney General represents the United States in litigation, oversees federal prosecutors, and advises the President and heads of federal, executive departments...

Attorney of Record


1) A lawyer who appears in court or receives pleadings and other formal documents on a party's behalf. Also known as counsel of record.

2) In patent and trademark law, a lawyer or agent named in a power of attorney filed by a...

Attorney Work Product


Written or oral materials prepared by or for an attorney in the course of legal representation, especially in preparation for litigation. Generally, an opposing party may not discover or compel disclosure of work product. In limited...

Attorney Work Product Privilege


The work product doctrine states that an adverse party generally may not discover or compel disclosure of written or oral materials prepared by or for an attorney in the course of legal representation, especially in preparation for...

Attorney's Duty of Confidentiality


The ethical duty of a lawyer not to affirmatively disclose information related to the representation of a client. Unlike the attorney-client privilege, the duty of confidentiality is in effect at all times, not just in the face of legal...

Attorney's Fees (or Attorneys' Fees)


The amount billed to a client for legal services performed on his or her behalf. Attorney's fees may be an hourly, flat (for a particular service, e.g. $10,000 to handle all aspects of a DUI case) or contingent fee (a percentage of...

Attorney's Lien


The right of a lawyer to hold a client's property until the client pays for legal services provided.  The property may include business files, official documents, and money awarded by a court.  The right to an attorney's...

Attorney-Client Privilege


Attorney-client privilege refers to a legal privilege that works to keep confidential communications between an attorney and his or her client secret. 

The privilege is asserted in the face of a legal demand for the...

Bachelor of Laws


The Bachelor of Laws (abbreviated LL.B., LLB, or rarely, Ll.B.) is an undergraduate degree in law generally offered after three or more years of college, and then three years of study of the law.

This degree originated in England and...

Background fact

Facts that help an observer understand the origins of a specific legal issue or dispute, without actually being necessary to answer any question of law.  When presented in court, background facts help judges and juries evaluate the motivations of...

bar association


A professional organization of lawyers.

State bar associations, which are usually created by state statute, often require membership for anyone desiring to practice law in that state. Such organizations have the authority to...

bar examination


A written examination that a person must pass in order to obtain a license to practice law. Although every state administers its own version of the bar examination, most exams consist of the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) (a national...


Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law DictionaryIn Great Britain, a lawyer who may argue cases in superior courts. Compare: litigator

Definition provided by Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary.

Business and Professions Code - by state

Alabama- Title 34 Alaska- Title 8 Arizona- Title 32 Arkansas- Title 17 California Colorado- Title 12 (searchable index) Connecticut- Title 4c Delaware- see Title 24 District of Columbia (see Division V, Local Business Affairs) Florida- Title XXXII...



The revocation of a lawyer’s license to practice law, usually as a result of a violation of professional ethics.

Disbarment may be imposed by the state bar association if a lawyer commits an offense that directly relates to his...

Higher Education and Vocational Training

Alabama (see generally Title 16) Alaska (see generally Title 14) Arizona (see Title 15, Chapter 13) Arkansas (see Title 6, Subtitles 4-6) California (see Title 3) Colorado (searchable index Title 23) Connecticut- Title 10 Delaware (see...



An abbreviation for contract.

See also

Contract implied in fact

Contract implied in law



In the law of evidence, certain subject matters are privileged, and can not be inquired into in any way. Such privileged information is not subject to disclosure or discovery and cannot be asked about in testimony. Usually,...



Latin abbreviation for quod erat demonstrandum: "Which was to be demonstrated."  Q.E.D. may appear at the conclusion of a text to signify that the author's overall argument has just been proven.



Retainer agreement

A formalization in a document of the terms of a relationship between an attorney and a client.


In formal legal writing, a signal indicating that the cited source clearly supports the preceding statement, even though an inference is required to draw the connection.  If the statement repeats an idea directly from the source or...

See also

In formal legal writing, a signal indicating that the cited source provides additional support for the statement after primary supporting sources have already been cited.  Thus, see also citations most appropriately follow sources that...

See generally

A signal indicating that the cited source contains helpful background material.  In this way, a reader searching for an overview of the general topic under discussion can know a good place to look.


Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law DictionaryLatin for one after another, as in a series. For example, issues or facts might be discussed seriatim (or "ad seriatim"), meaning one by one in order.

Definition provided by Nolo’s Plain-English Law...


Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law DictionaryTo resolve a lawsuit before going to trial.

Definition provided by Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary.


Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary1) Separation of legal claims by court order to allow the claims to be tried separately. For example, a judge might sever the trials of two defendants accused of the same crime. 2) Money paid or benefits...