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Clerking is a privilege. Fresh out of law school and eager to begin their careers, law clerks at any level of the federal or state judiciary covet the opportunity to learn from a judge’s reservoir of knowledge. But law clerks who anticipate careers writing as advocates are also well-positioned to learn about something that a judge may not know when briefs or other adversary submissions land on the desk.

That “something” concerns jargon, this article’s focus because its use by advocates can impede the court’s understanding of a case’s facts and law. “Jargon” refers to “special words or expressions that are used by a particular profession or group and are difficult for others to understand.” Given the sheer complexity of much contemporary federal and state litigation, judges sometimes find themselves in the “others” category.



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