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About the Author

James E. Clapp, a member of the New York and District of Columbia bars and a former litigator, works primarily in the field of legal lexicography. He is the author of Random House Webster's Dictionary of the Law. Elizabeth G. Thornburg is a professor at SMU Dedman School of Law, where she teaches and writes about civil procedure and alternative dispute resolution. Marc Galanter is John & Rylla Bosshard Professor Emeritus of Law and South Asian Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the author of Lowering the Bar: Lawyer Jokes and Legal Culture. Fred R. Shapiro is associate librarian and lecturer in legal research, Yale Law School. He is the editor of The Yale Book of Quotations, available from Yale University Press, and a major contributor to both the second and the third editions of the Oxford English Dictionary.


"Lawtalk combines enormous erudition with loads of levity-the result being a compulsively browsable book that will leave readers wordly-wise."-Bryan A. Garner, President, LawProse, Inc., Editor in Chief, Black's Law Dictionary -- Bryan A. Garner
"A genuine contribution in an area where precious little exists. Extraordinarily original and of even more extraordinary scholarship, truly erudite, researched and sourced. I would run to buy it." --Roger Newman, editor of The Yale Biographical Dictionary of American Law. -- Roger Newman

"This imaginative book will enlighten and amuse not only lawyers, but anyone who thinks about law, talks about law, or has to deal with law-that is to say, all of us,"-Linda Greenhouse, author of Becoming Justice Blackmun -- Linda Greenhouse
"The language of the law is endlessly colorful, sometimes quite literally so: think of blue laws, green cards, blackmail and white-shoe firms. Finally we have an authoritative reference for all these terms and many more, written in a highly engaging style. Even if you're a shyster who couldn't indict a ham sandwich, at least now you'll know where those expressions came from."-Ben Zimmer, executive producer of and -- Ben Zimmer

"Lawtalk is not just entertaining, but also quite educational. Lawyers, judges, and lay people interested in the workings of the legal system can learn a great deal from it,"-Peter Tiersma, Loyola Law School, Los Angeles.

-- Peter Tiersma

"Well-researched and entertaining...a skillful mix of scholarship and readability...extensively documented with social, cultural, historic, and, of course, legal sources."-Joan Pedzich, Library Journal -- Joan Pedzich * Library Journal *
"Lawtalk is serious scholarship . . . leavened with wry wit and a snappy style of writing that keeps one turning pages both to discover more and to smile more."-JoAnn Baca, The Federal Lawyer -- JoAnn Baca * The Federal Lawyer *
"Elegant, deliciously detailed, and authoritative . . . demonstrate[s] that learning can be fun."-Glenn C. Altschuler, Huffington Post -- Glenn C. Altschuler * Huffington Post *
"Lively and entertaining . . . fascinating . . . a gem of a book . . . well-documented and well-researched . . . Lawtalk yields a multitude of interesting and amusing tidbits."-Donna M. Fisher, AALL Spectrum (American Association of Law Libraries) -- Donna M. Fisher * AALL Spectrum *
"Insightful and entertaining"-Spartanburg Herald Journal * Spartanburg Herald Journal *

"Fun and well-researched."-Howard Shapiro, Philadelphia Inquirer -- Howard Shapiro * Philadelphia Inquirer *
"A group of distinguished professorial lawyers . . . tell us the history and meaning of lawyer talk."-Jacob Stein, Washington Lawyer * Washington Lawyer *
"Very well researched and comprehensive. . .The history behind each phrase is fascinating. . .Provides an enlightening insight into the countless pieces of `legalese' to which we are all exposed daily, but have had little reason to question - until now."-Law Actually blog * Law Actually blog *
"[Lawtalk] would be a treasured newcomer to any bookshelf and provides an enlightening insight into the countless pieces of `legalese' to which we are all exposed daily, but have had little reason to question - until now."-Law Actually * Law Actually *
"Insightful . . . [and] as entertaining as it is enlightening."-John G. Browning, Southeast Texas Record -- John G. Browning * Southeast Texas Record *
"A witty, informative collection . . . In a refreshingly candid manner, Lawtalk explores race, gender, and class issues associated with the evolution of commonly used phrases . . . Amusing, enlightening, and authoritative, this well-researched mini-reference is something readers will return to repeatedly."-Danielle Ochs-Tillotson, California Lawyer * California Lawyer *
"Lawtalk stands apart from many popular works on word origins for the academic rigor underpinning its accessibility."-Rebecca Shapiro, Dictionaries: Journal of the Dictionary Society of North America -- Rebecca Shapiro * Dictionaries: Journal of the Dictionary Society of North America *

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