Publication Date


Document Type


Organizational Units

Sturm College of Law


Legal writing, Legalese


Among professions, the law is one most bound by tradition. Not only does the law look back in time for substantive precedents, it also borrows heavily from the language of the past. Do words like "notwithstanding" and "herein" creep their way unnoticed into your legal documents? Do your affidavits contain an "ss" at the top and use alliterative wording such as "subscribed, sworn, and sealed"? These antiquated expressions are not used in standard Modem English, and before you entered law school, they probably were familiar only if you read Old or Middle English literature. To help determine which are expendable, this article explores the origin of a few legal expressions transported in a time machine from bonnie old England before 1500 A.D.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.