Black’s Law Dictionary

Bryan A. Garner

This May, Thomson Reuters published the tenth edition of the estimable Black’s Law Dictionary (affiliate link). The most widely cited legal book in the world, Black’s is a must-have for every lawyer and law student.

Henry Campbell Black published the first edition in 1891. Starting with the publication of the seventh edition in 1995, Black’s has been edited by Professor Bryan A. Garner, the noted lexicographer, legal-writing expert, and author of such books as Garner’s Modern American Usage, Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges, and Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts (the last two co-authored with Justice Antonin Scalia (affiliate links)).

I met with Garner during his recent visit to New York, where he taught his famous legal-writing course to various law firms and government employers. His voice was hoarse from a summer cold, but he generously soldiered through an interview with the help of some tea. Here’s a (lightly edited and condensed) write-up of our conversation.

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* When you think of professions likely to be menaced by armed maniacs, you don’t think of veterinarians. You’d be wrong. [Legal Juice]

* Robert Ambrogi talks with Bryan Garner about the latest edition of Black’s Law Dictionary, including the fact that three new terms coined by David Lat made this edition. Let’s start the campaign for Appellageddon and SCOTocaplypse for next time around! [Robert Ambrogi's LawSites]

* The ABA has appointed an all-star panel to study law school financing. By “all-star” they mean “all the people responsible for the status quo.” That’s how you do “reform,” guys. [Lawyers, Guns & Money]

* A photo essay of people breaking the stupid laws on the books in various states. [The Phoblographer]

* Law professors making a difference in the real world. Specifically, pushing the anti-smoking message. [PR Log]

* A Seattle attorney pleads to 5 counts of third-degree rape to avoid trial over attacks on a series of massage therapists. He says he’s just a sex addict. The government says he was “kicking in doors, and pulling knives on them.” That sounds pretty extreme for a sex addiction. [Seattle Times]

* Check out Elie talking about the ATL Top 50 Rankings, after the jump… [Mimesis Law]

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* D.C. litigator Bruce Klores is living a double life as a Grilled Cheese restaurateur. He’s planning some politically-themed sandwiches, like the Boehner: “maybe if someone orders it, we’ll just say no.” [Washington Post]

* Bryan Garner took to Twitter to announce that three neologisms by David Lat are joining Black’s Law Dictionary (affiliate link). Check out which terms made the cut for the 10th edition. [Twitter]

* Oklahoma is chasing its proposal to ban all marriage with a bill to issue tickets electronically. Where’s the human touch of being harassed by the cops? [Overlawyered]

* Here are the best suitcases for an overnight business trip. [Corporette]

* We already pointed out that Quentin Tarantino is heading to court over the leaked script to The Hateful Eight. Here’s a quick rundown of the complaint. [IT-Lex]

* A riveting account, by lawyer turned journalist Adam Teicholz, of the brutal murder that shook the gay community in a small Louisiana town. [Vanity Fair]

* Crude oil is transported by rail, and those railroads have safety regulations. [Breaking Energy]

* RIP Pete Seeger. I know he was a folk singer rather than a lawyer, but he wrote a song called “New York J-D Blues,” which sums up Biglaw in this town. [Volokh Conspiracy / Washington Post]

Bryan Garner

How old is “bench slap”? Should I put it in Black’s Law Dictionary? How would you define it?

– Legal writing guru Bryan Garner, editor of Black’s Law Dictionary and co-author (with Justice Scalia) of Reading Law (affiliate links), asking on Twitter about a possible addition to Black’s.

(Information about the origins of “benchslap,” after the jump.)

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