Friday, February 4, 2011

Davey Numberlady's Top Ten Words and Phrases That Make People Scowl at Lawyers

Davey Numberlady is a regular SCOV Law column dedicated to cataloging the small bits of trivia that populate the practice of law.  Today's list focuses on those words and phrases that lawyers accumulate like germs through either contact with law school or immersion in  practice.  These are the phrases that cause people to groan or attractive men or women at a bar to say, "Oh, so you're a lawyer."  Just as the loon has its trill and the skunk its scent, so does the common American Lawyericus Litigaticonia have its own identifying call.  Practice a few in the backyard, but be careful, if you use improper phrasing you might be inviting a lawsuit.

1. "Stipulate"
2. "Litany"
3. "Inapposite"
4. "Neither here nor there"
5. "Sartorial"
6. "Advisement"
7. "Or in the original Latin, it's ____"
8. "Putative"
9. "Arguendo"
10. "Aforementioned"

Extra Credit Phrases:

  • "My Brother," 
  • "With all due respect . . ."
  • "I am afraid I am going to have to object here."
  • "Inter alia"
  • "Deprecatory"
  • "Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any questions or concerns"
Necessarily, this is an incomplete list. We invite you to share your own examples and back-stories below.


  1. "Enclosed please find" is one of my favorites.

  2. I've always liked "not inconsistent with."

  3. "Including, but not limited to, the following. . ." I use it, but more importantly, I convince myself that it is an essential phrase.

  4. My law school pet peeve is "it depends" without any further explanation...

  5. Ooh. That reminds me of another good one: "judicial economy." ("It depends" and "judicial economy" being the two always-correct answers in law.)