Lawyers' Latin: A Vade-mecum Hardcover – 31 Jul 2002
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Lawyers' Latin is a useful guide, and entertaining enough to be read from cover to cover. -- Times Literary Supplement, 14 February 2002
About the Author
John Gray was born in 1938. Educated at Tonbridge School, he read law at Brasenose College, Oxford. Called to the Bar in 1962, he was an Inner Temple major scholar from 1962-5 and practised at the Common Law Bar for over thirty years, sitting as a recorder from 1984 to 1994 when he left the Bar to change direction; to write, attend his garden and indulge a life-long interest in wood. He is married with three grown-up children and lives near Ashford in Kent.
Top customer reviews
In any case, this book's scope extends far beyond the interest of just lawyers and law students. Folk simply aren't given the opportunity to study Latin as an academic subject these days which, in combination with the media's relentless drive to 'dumb down' everything, must conceivably have left vast numbers of people quite in the dark about even the most basic Latin terms referred to here. And I would probably have included myself in that number, although I actually DID do battle with ablatives and datives way back when.
Not that there's anything like as scary as those two grammatical heavies lurking in here. You'll find just the Latin entries arranged in alphabetical order, alongside their English translations. In addition, there will usually be a literal explanation of why any lawyer might feel a burning desire to incorporate such a phrase into their daily life plus examples of where some of them HAVE been used, in legal history as well as other fields such as literature and the arts.
Of course, once you've learnt all these phrases - especially if you're not a lawyer - then you're probably going to have to share this little work with everyone you know, so that they can learn them too. It's all very well dropping an 'in vino veritas' or a 'festina lente' into the conversation... but if all you get in return for your trouble is a blank expression or an offer of a quiet place to lie down, then that can definitely leave you wondering why you bothered.
There aren't many laughs to be had within these pages, which is unfortunate. I wasn't expecting a volume which delivered gags at a faster rate than Ken Dodd (although some of his jokes are so old that someone like Tacitus might well have had a hand in them originally), but I think a bit more humour might've worked wonders.
A much more serious crime in my opinion however, is the complete lack of any guidance with regard to the correct Latin pronunciation. Instead, it's suggested that the reader might also like to fork out for 1998's 'A Dictionary of Latin Words and Phrases', which apparently represents the fount of that particular branch of knowledge. I'm not so sure I want to be doing that.
Yet, if I don't, I fear that - far from sounding intelligent - I am instead going to end up giving the impression that I am more than a tad bit daft.
Mind you, there's nothing so unusual about that I suppose.
I did latin at school....sadly it is now just an option at some high schools...I think that young teens are nowadays being short changed..education wise. At least I know now that "MENS REA" has nothing to do with anatomy.
Forgive me but there's so little we can laught at these days
Barack room lawyers should be able to baffle most with its contents leaving them to wish theyd studied Latin or listened harder in law school.
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