f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

June 28, 2003

The Word on Lawyer Discipline: Maybe They DO Mean What They Say

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 1:07 pm

Weakend Special: Lawyers are known for their annoying insistence on verbal clarity AND their use of words to obscure meanings — depending, of course, on whose ox might be gored.

I bring this up because a tv commercial last night promised that “nothing works better” than the advertised product.  Whenever I hear that claim, I wonder “do they mean that literally — would using nothing be better than using their product?”   That thought merged two of my favorite hobbies: contemplating the lawyer discipline system and enjoying the oddities of the English language. 

Below are some of the most important words in the realm of lawyer discipline and ethical responsibility, along with their various dictionary definitions.   Were the words chosen to clarify or obscure?  Which meaning is intended?

Code (from OneLook Dictionary Search Quick Definitions):

noun: a coding system used for transmitting messages requiring brevity or secrecy

noun: a set of rules or principles or laws especially written ones

verb: convert ordinary language into code

Rule (from OneLook Dictionary Search Quick Definitions):

noun: prescribed guide for conduct or action

noun: directions that define the way a game or sport is to be conducted

noun: dominance or power through legal authority

verb: exercise authority over

verb: be larger in number, quantity, or importance

Profession (from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia): 

“A profession is a specialized work function within society. A profession is always held by a person, and it is generally that person’s way of generating income. Some historians believe that the foundation of modern civilization is division of labour into different professions, thus increasing the level of expertise held by professionals. ‘Profession’ is very often restricted to include only those occupations requiring extensive study, such as law, medicine, the Church or engineering. . . . Note that sociologists have been known to define “professionalism” as organised exclusivity along guild lines, much in the sense that George Bernard Shaw characterised all professions as “conspiracies against the laity”.

Sanction (from The American Heritage

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