Dictionary call-out for ‘legal lingo’

01 June 2016 By Melissa Coade

A campaign to record ‘legal lingo’ in the Australian vernacular has taken to social media to crowdsource contributions from lawyers.

When it comes to words, lawyers sit chief among linguists and spin doctors. With a trade in language, text and meaning, it is natural that many harbor dreams to someday author a book. While the next rom-com novela may yet be on the distant horizon, lawyers have been given the opportunity to contribute to the online edition of the Australian Legal Dictionary.


The Legal Lingo crowdsourcing campaign is a celebration of the legal world’s wordsmiths, managing director Australia for LexisNexis Joanne Beckett said.

"This is a fantastic opportunity for the legal community to come together, celebrate the rhetoric that marks the transformations affecting the legal profession, and showcase their wordsmith capabilities," Ms Beckett said.

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Lawyers who wrestle with words in negotiations and tease meaning from simple conjunctions in the codified Black Letter now have the opportunity to be a cited dictionary authority, with the top 25 contributors to be credited as an author in the LexisNexis revised edition.

Legal Lingo hopes to capture a selection of Australia’s colloquial legal terms and definitions by crowdsourcing via social media. 

By way of example, the word 'silk' offers a flavour for the type of lingo the online Australian Legal Dictionary hopes to receive -- ‘Silk’ being a generic term for either a QC or an SC, a more experienced barrister, who has been promoted to the position. The term is derived from the silk robes once worn by a person who held the title.

"This is a first-in-market approach for LexisNexis to crowdsource content through digital means, which presents not only the changing impacts on the legal industry, but also new opportunities," Ms Beckett said.

Evolving areas of law to be featured in the online dictionary will address market trends, such as elder law, social media, electronic conveyancing and assisted reproduction. It will also canvass non-legal subject areas, such as business and commerce, to reflect "the expanding roles of lawyers".

The Legal Lingo crowdsourcing initiative will run until Monday 20 June.

Dictionary call-out for ‘legal lingo’
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