August 5, 2016

Law School Vocab

As you're getting ready for orientation and reading your cases, you might come across some words that you're not familiar with. Don't feel like you're unprepared or behind if your legal vocabulary isn't as big as another classmates! Now is the time for you to get used to all these words that in a few months will be second nature to you. 

I decided to give you a little reference guide just in case, but don't feel embarrassed to comment or email me if a word isn't on here that you don't know because I want this to be as encompassing as possible. The words that I'm starting off with are from a list we were given at my orientation to become familiar with.


Affirmed

a judge confirms a ruling after it's been appealed

Answer

a defendant's first pleading that addresses the merits of the case

Appeal

having a decision reconsidered by either a Court of Appeals (first), State Supreme Court (second), US Supreme Court (last)

Appellant

the party who appeals a lower court's decision 

Appellee

the party who responds to the appeal


Black letter law

the straightforward and basic rule
ex. going 80 in a 75 is illegal 

Brief

a written statement setting out the legal contentions of a party in litigation 

Related: How to Write an Appellate Brief

Case Brief 

a short summary of the different components of the case

Related: How to Make a Case Brief


Chattel

a thing that you own

Citation

law school vocab | brazenandbrunette.com

Complaint

the initial pleading that starts a civil action 


Concur

a judge agrees with the outcome of the case, but not how the majority came to that conclusion

Δ (delta)

a common shorthand for defendant 

Defendant 

a person sued in a civil proceeding OR
a person accused in a criminal proceeding 

Dicta/Dictum (plural)

someone's opinion on the case
not from the deciding judge, but still important because of the writer's authority


Dissent

a judge disagrees with the outcome of the case (and sometimes how the majority came to that conclusion, too)

Distinguish

to note a significant difference between two cases
usually is used to minimize the other case's precedential effect

Holding

a court's determination of a matter of law

Judgment 

a court's final determination of the rights and obligations of the parties in a case


K

a common shorthand abbreviation for contract 

Related: Computer Shortcuts and Abbreviations for Common Law School Words

Motion

a written or oral application requisition a court to make a specified ruling or order

Outline

a summary of everything you've learned over the semester that you use as a study guide for finals

Related: How to Make an Outline

Opinion

a court's written statement explaining its decision in a given case


∏ (pi)

a common shorthand abbreviation for plaintiff 

Petition

a formal written request presented to a court

Plaintiff 

the party who brings a civil suit

Prayer

a request to the court at the end of a pleading 

Precedent

how courts have ruled in the past
lower courts must follow precedent of higher courts

Procedure 

the manner for carrying on a civil lawsuit or criminal prosecution 

Remand

to send an appealed case back to the last court to fix an issue

Reversal

to overturn a lower court's decision 

§

section
(option + 6 on a Mac)
(alt + 0167 on a PC)

Stare decisis

a court in the same jurisdiction must follower earlier judicial decisions when the same points arise again in litigation

Style

the case name in a citation 


Socratic Method

teaching method where a professor cold calls a student and asks them question after question 

Related: What Class is Like

Summary Judgement

stops the case mid-trial and gives a judgment because it has been found that there is no genuine issue of material fact to proceed on 

-or/-ee

the person with -or suffix is the giver
the person with -ee suffix is the reciver

ex.
debtor - the one who gives the loan
debtee - the one who receives the loan


law school vocab | brazenandbrunette.com

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