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Jax Daily Record Monday, Mar. 14, 201612:00 PM EST

Poem for lawyers: It's all Latin to me


By Eddie Siegel, JBA honorary member

We attorneys seem to be attracted to Latin words;

And if you’ll pardon my language, that’s for the birds.

For example, there’s SUPRA; as a word, it’s a pretty good one;

Although a non-lawyer wouldn’t say it, would one?

VOIR DIRE is a term that’s used in jury selection;

But if you speak it in front of the jurors, it might warrant an objection.

RES IPSA LOQUITUR: taught in law school … that’s cool;

Yet clients don’t know it, I’ll bet, as a general rule.


Terms like that are often used just for show.

PRIMA FACIE: a practical phrase, but you can live without it.

INFRA: a word used in briefs; do we need it? I doubt it.

DE MINIMIS: we’re told it refers to that which is small;

If I were you, I don’t think I’d use it at all.

Here’s another expression we ought to limit or junk;

Though I suppose it’s fun to say: it’s NUNC PRO TUNC.

How about this one: MALUM IN SE.

If you’re not sure about it, then I say, “No way.”

An obscure one you’ll see on occasion is QUID PRO QUO.

Whatever it means, I confess that I don’t know.

In business, CAVEAT EMPTOR is a saying we’ve heard

But it’s usually translated, so its use in Latin is absurd.

Now if you study these opinions I’ve given, then I’m guessin’

You’ve gained some priceless knowledge from this little lesson.

So ergo, my friends, ad hoc, ipso facto and to wit:

Is it Latin? Ha! You’ll never catch me using it!!!

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