Thursday, April 23, 2009

Legalese Bungle...Made By Lawyers

"The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers," wrote Shakespeare in Henry VI. That quote has become famous due to a general social contempt toward lawyers, but, until now, the Proofreader has never had a reason to dislike attorneys. In fact, he even married one and today's mistake is submitted by the Mrs. Proofreader. So, to paraphrase the Bard, let's mock all the lawyers who wrote the sloppy legalese on the California Department of Insurance Web site. As you can see in the highlighted screen shot below, the attorneys who wrote this riveting broker fee regulations summary erred with their use of "therefor" in the last line of the second graph.

At a glance, it looks like these lawyers simply made a pedestrian typo, forgetting to type the "e" on the end of "therefore." And that may have been what happened, but..."Therefor," albeit seldom used, is a legitimate word, common legalese. The problem is that therefor and therefore have different meanings and these attorneys, who most definitely should be on high alert for a mistake like this, should've gone with the one with the e on the end that means “consequently, hence, for that reason.” Come on, they're lawyers.

Interestingly, this isn't the first time the Proofreader's had to break out the highlighter for this Web site. In his maiden post, the Proofreader pointed out an instance of the word "pursuant," also very common in lawyer parlance, misspelled. These lawyers have got to pull it together.

The Proofreader thanks Mrs. Proofreader for submitting the mistake.


22 said...


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