Lawyer Lingo – Common Law Jargon Deciphered

Over hundreds of years, lawyers and judges seem to have developed a language of their own, rife with Latin terms you can’t decipher without those ninth grade notes you lost after the final. This secret language gives legal professionals a certain dramatic mystique that can be intimidating, sexy and, as every law students knows, annoying to learn. Anyone who has ever watched an episode of Law and Order knows that the words “objection” and “sustained” have to be yelled out before anything really dramatic happens in a courtroom. But what do those words actually mean? Here are a few lawyerly terms translated: 1. Objection “Objection” is used to protest when an opposing lawyer asks an inappropriate question of a witness. A lawyer can also object when a witness makes a statement that has nothing to do with the question at hand. 2. Sustained If a judge “sustains” an objection, he or she is agreeing with it, telling the lawyer who asked the question to drop it and move on. 3. Overruled When a judge overrules an objection, he is telling the witness to go ahead and answer the question. 4. Withdrawn A less-embarrassing word for “I take it back!” 5. Rebuttal A comeback supported by evidence. For instance, if the prosecutor states that a bloody candlestick was found in Professor Plum’s study, the defense might offer the rebuttal that the professor had sold the candlestick in question to an antique dealer the previous week. 6. Prima Facie Prima facie is Latin for “at first look” or “on its face,” and in legalese it refers to a situation where someone looks guilty. One of the nice things about our legal system is that even when you look guilty, the system is supposed to look more closely and give you a chance to defend yourself. For example, in a “prima facie” case, a jury might be presented with the evidence of your handgun found at the scene of your husband’s murder, and everyone would expect you to be indicted based on that evidence - at least until the fatal bullet was shown to have been fired from the gun of the policeman who “discovered” the crime! 7. Plea Bargain This is when the prosecution and the defense work out a deal, with the judge’s approval, in which the defendant pleads guilty in exchange for something. For example, if you rob a liquor store and get caught, you might plead guilty in exchange for a short sentence, saving everyone the trouble of going through a trial. The defendant may also give up information about other crimes or criminals in exchange for a lenient sentence. 8. Adjournment An adjournment is a suspension or delay of the entire trial until a later date. This sometimes happens when new and surprising evidence is introduced that changes the course of the trial. 9. Habeas Corpus Habeas Corpus is Latin for “you have the body,” which sounds ominous, but it is actually one of the most fundamental rights of a citizen. When a writ of habeas corpus is presented to a judge, it means that someone who has imprisoned another person has to show the legal basis for that imprisonment. In other words, the law of habeas corpus is what prevents police and prison officials from locking people up without trying to show they’ve done anything wrong. 10. Recess A recess is a short break from a trial (not to be confused with an adjournment, which is a long break from a trial). Unfortunately, most courthouses do not have adjoining playgrounds, so lawyers tend to spend recesses doing whatever they have to do to continue the trial. This article was written by Melissa Woodson, the community manager for @WashULaw on behalf of CAREEREALISM-Approved Partner, 2tor – an education-technology company that partners with Washington University in St. Louis to offer a premier LLM degree. In her spare time, she enjoys running, cooking, and making half-baked attempts at training her dog. Lawyer jargon image from Shutterstock

When most people think of Nike, they think of shoes, retail stores, and, of course, athletes. That's all true, but there's more. Behind Nike's walls, you'll find the doers and thinkers who design, create, and innovate every day. There are also data scientists who discover and leverage athlete insights to create the future of sport.

You might be surprised to learn about the impact you can have in Data & Analytics at Nike versus at a major tech giant. Nike employees get to work on a wide array of challenges, so if you're obsessed with math, science, computers, and/or data, and you love sport, these stories may inspire you to work at Nike.

SHOW MORE Show less

Employee loyalty is something every company longs for. It's estimated employee turnover costs as much as 130-200% of an employee's salary. When a talented, knowledgeable, trained employee leaves, it's bad for business. And, when lots of them leave, it can be the kiss of death.

SHOW MORE Show less

If you saw our first video, you might have heard about the interview situation one of our viewers, Remi submitted. He was in an interview and was asked the question: How many cows are there in Canada right now? - What a weird question but this is a technique that some hiring managers are using these days.

SHOW MORE Show less

If you saw our first video, you might have heard about the awkward situation one of our viewers, Kevin submitted. He is a college student who's working a part time job to make ends meet. The manager/owner of the company has become a micro-manager who watches him work on camera and reads his company emails. A bit over the top wouldn't you say?

SHOW MORE Show less