Illuminate Legal Terminology™
Law Explorers

Legal research, legal writing, and legal translation are the lights that illuminate the dark, unknown regions in the universe of law.

Research

Can we translate our customary methods and techniques when research transports us into another legal culture?

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Writing

Cultures and legal systems other than our own have made valuable contributions to the history of written law.

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Translation

Translation provides a laboratory in which we can learn to elevate our capacity to select and use legal terminology.

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TERMS OF USE WITH DISCLAIMER

In the middle of the twentieth century, author Rudolf Flesch instructed his readers “to speak and write so that people understand what you mean.”[1]  Flesch directed his instructions toward speakers and writers who “have to talk to an audience who can’t talk back” and “cannot even look at [the audience] to see whether they understand or not.”[2]

In the twenty-first century, we communicate online as well as in person, by radio or television, and through writing.  The spirit of Flesch’s instructions endures in the “Best Practice Guidelines for Legal Information Web Site Providers”[3] that the American Bar Association promulgated in 2003: 

An increasing number of sites on the web provide legal information. Government departments, non-profit community organizations, private companies, educational institutions, individuals, and law firms publish sites. Users of these sites have varying levels of knowledge of the law and the Internet. Therefore, it is essential that legal web sites providers give users sufficient information to make assessments about the accuracy and the quality of the legal information that is published.[4]

One of those guidelines is that “[s]ites should clearly and conspicuously provide users with information about the provider's terms and conditions of use.”[5]

Law Explorers® wants you to comprehend these Terms of Use.[6]  Contact Law Explorers® if you have questions about these Terms of Use (termsofuse@lawexplorers.com) or about the Privacy Policy of Law Explorers® (privacy@lawexplorers.com).  For additional contact information, consult the Contact Law Explorers® page.

1. IYOU USE THE LAW EXPLORERS® WEBSITE, YOU MUST COMPLY WITH THESE TERMS AND CONDITIONS, WHICH, TOGETHER WITH THE PRIVACY POLICY OF LAW EXPLORERS®  GOVERN THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN YOU AND LAW EXPLORERS® IN CONNECTION WITH THIS WEBSITE.

2. IF YOU DISAGREE WITH ANY PART OF THESE TERMS AND CONDITIONS, DO NOT USE THE LAW EXPLORERS® WEBSITE.

3. The name “Law Explorers” refers to Law Explorers Incorporated, the owner of this website.

4. The pronouns “you” and “your” refer to the persons who use the Law Explorers® website.

5. Law Explorers® is a Texas corporation whose mailing address is in Houston, Texas, U.S.A.:

Law Explorers Incorporated

P.O. Box 300102

Houston, Texas

77230

6. LAW EXPLORERS® IS NOT A LAWYER OR A LAW FIRM.

7. LAW EXPLORERS® DOES NOT PRACTICE LAW AND DOES NOT GIVE LEGAL ADVICE.

8. LAWS AND THE SOURCES FOR INFORMATION ABOUT LAW CHANGE OVER TIME AND VARY FROM STATE TO STATE AND FROM COUNTRY TO COUNTRY.

9. IF YOU NEED TO DISCUSS THE FACTS OF A SPECIFIC LEGAL PROBLEM OR TO PREPARE A LEGAL DOCUMENT, YOU SHOULD CONSULT A LAWYER OR OTHER PROFESSIONAL WHO IS LICENSED TO PROVIDE LEGAL SERVICES IN YOUR LOCALITY.[7]

10. NEITHER THE CONTENT OF THIS WEBSITE NOR ANY SERVICE OFFERED BY LAW EXPLORERS® CONSTITUTES LEGAL ADVICE; NEITHER THE CONTENT OF THIS WEBSITE NOR ANY SERVICE OFFERED BY LAW EXPLORERS® IS A SUBSTITUTE FOR THE PROFESSIONAL JUDGMENT OF A LAWYER.

11. The principal purpose of this website is to share general educational information about language, legal systems, terminology, research, writing, and translation.

12. Cooperate with Law Explorers® and the other users of this website — in other words your use of and participation in this website must be constructive as opposed to destructive.[8]

13. Use common sense — “[g]ood sound practical sense in everyday matters.”[9]

14. Obey the Golden Rule — in other words, treat “other people with the same kind of values and respect with which [you] would wish to be treated.”[10]

15. Do not use this website to violate the law.

16. Do not use this website to disseminate spam or other malicious, destructive, or offensive material.

17. Do not use this website to violate copyrights, trademarks, or other property rights.  Please contact Law Explorers® at errors.omissions@lawexplorers.com to report any errors or omissions on this website with respect to a copyright, trademark, or other property right; for additional contact information, consult the Contact Law Explorers® page.

18. The content of this website is subject to change without notice.

19. Law Explorers® has made great efforts to ensure the accuracy of the content of this website and to minimize the number of errors.

20. You acknowledge that the information and materials on this website may contain inaccuracies or errors.

21. Neither Law Explorers® nor any third party makes any express or implied warranty, guarantee, or representation with respect to the accuracy, timeliness, performance, completeness, or suitability of the information and materials on this website for any particular purpose.

22. Your use of any information or materials on this website is completely at your own risk.

23. It is your responsibility to ensure that any product, service, or information that is available through this website meets your specific requirements.

24. Please contact Law Explorers® at errors.omissions@lawexplorers.com to report any inaccuracies or errors that you detect in the information and materials on or related to this website; for additional contact information, consult the Contact Law Explorers® page.

25. References on this website to books, websites, and other publications, sources, or services do not imply that the authors, publishers, sponsors, or providers of those publications, sources, or services have endorsed or approved Law Explorers®, the content of this website, or any service offered on this website.

26. The Law Explorers® website offers links to other (external) websites for your information and convenience.

27. Links to other websites do not imply that Law Explorers® endorses or approves the content, policies, opinions, services, or products of those external websites.

28. Law Explorers® is not responsible for the accuracy, legality, or content of external websites to which it offers links or for the accuracy, legality, or content of other websites to which those external websites offer links.

29. You should contact an external website directly if you have questions about it or its content, policies, opinions, services, or products.

30. Law Explorers® has no control over the nature, content, or availability of external websites.

31. Unauthorized use of this website may give rise to a claim for damages or be a criminal offense.

32. Any dispute related to your use of this website is subject to the laws and courts of the State of Texas and of the United States of America.

33. You acknowledge that you use this website at your own risk and that Law Explorers® is not responsible for any loss or damage that you suffer in connection with the use of this website.

34. You acknowledge that Law Explorers® will not be liable if this website is unavailable.

35. You agree to indemnify Law Explorers® for any loss, damage, or other injury that it suffers as a result of your noncompliance with these Terms of Use or your misuse of this website.

36. You accept responsibility for any loss, damage, or other injury that any third party suffers as a result of your noncompliance with these Terms of Use or your misuse of this website.

37. If any part of these Terms of Use with Disclaimer is void, unenforceable, or unconstitutional, the other parts will continue in force.

 



[1] Rudolf Flesch, The Art of Plain Talk (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1946), 1.

[2] Flesch, The Art of Plain Talk, 1.

[3] “Best Practice Guidelines for Legal Information Web Site Providers,” American Bar Association, Law Practice Management Section: eLawyering Task Force, approved by Action of the House of Delegates February 10, 2003, accessed October 14, 2013, http://www.americanbar.org/groups/law_practice/committees/elawyering-best-practices.html

[4] Here are the first three paragraphs of the announcement that appears on the website of the American Bar Association:

An increasing number of sites on the web provide legal information. Government departments, non-profit community organizations, private companies, educational institutions, individuals, and law firms publish sites. Users of these sites have varying levels of knowledge of the law and the Internet. Therefore, it is essential that legal web sites providers give users sufficient information to make assessments about the accuracy and the quality of the legal information that is published.

The goal of these guidelines is to promote the development of quality legal web sites and to provide guidance to legal web site developers. The purpose of the guidelines is to establish "best practices" for both lawyers and other web site providers who offer legal information, documents and other services to the public, but the guidelines do not address the additional requirements that would be applicable to individual lawyers and law firm sites that provide legal advice. Individual lawyers and law firms should also consider whether the rules of professional responsibility apply to any aspect of their operation of a legal information website. When providers adopt and follow the guidelines, users will be less likely to be misled.

However, it is important to understand that compliance with these guidelines does not constitute approval or certification by the American Bar Association of the content and operation of the web site and no one is authorized to represent that it does. Instead, the guidelines encourage publishers of legal web sites to provide information about the legal content of their sites that assists a user in making a judgment on the quality of the legal information that appears on the site.

 

“Best Practice Guidelines for Legal Information Web Site Providers,” accessed October 14, 2013, http://www.americanbar.org/groups/law_practice/committees/elawyering-best-practices.html.

[5] “Best Practice Guidelines for Legal Information Web Site Providers,” accessed October 14, 2013, http://www.americanbar.org/groups/law_practice/committees/elawyering-best-practices.html.

[6] These terms of use have been adapted in part from the “Sample internet policies and notices” on the “Business Link” website of the government of the United Kingdom that were current as of October 25, 2011.  “Sample internet policies and notices,” government of the United Kingdom, Business Link, accessed October 25, 2011, http://www.businesslink.gov.uk/bdotg/action/layer?r.l1=1073861197&r.l2=1074448560&r.s=tl&topicId=1076141950.  However, “Business Link [was] replaced by GOV.UK on 17 October 2012”; as of February 11, 2013, the address of the replacement website is https://www.gov.uk/.

The “Terms and conditions” page advises that “GOV.UK is published under the Open Government Licence, and you can reproduce information from the site as long as you obey the terms of that licence.”  A version of the Open Government Licence is available online through The National Archives.  “Open Government Licence,” The National Archives, accessed February 11, 2013, http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/.

[7] Organizations such as the American Bar Association offer information about resources for legal assistance.  “Consumers' Guide to Legal Help,” American Bar Association, accessed February 11, 2013,  http://www.abanet.org/legalservices/findlegalhelp/home.cfm.  The Bureau of Consular Affairs, part of the U.S. Department of State, offers general information about retaining an attorney outside the United States of America.  “Retaining a Foreign Attorney,” U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of American Citizens Services, accessed February 11, 2013, http://travel.state.gov/law/retain/retain_714.html.

[8] For purposes of explanation, consider some of the synonyms of the adjectives constructive (“useful,” “helpful,” “productive,” “positive,” “valuable,”and “worthwhile”) and destructive (“devastating,” “ruinous,” “harmful,” “violent,” “negative,” “hostile,” “vicious,” “unfriendly,” “unhelpful,”and “obstructive”).  Christine A. Lindberg, comp., Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus, 2nd ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008), s.v.v. “constructive,” “destructive.”

[9] Shorter Oxford English Dictionary: On Historical Principles, 6th ed., s.v. “common sense.”

[10] Gerald Benedict, The Watkins Dictionary of Religions and Secular Faiths (London: Watkins, 2008), s.v. “Golden Rule.”