Thursday, January 12, 2017

More on typos

A couple days ago SCAN posted about a "2016" typo error (should've been 2017, of course) of the sort that is common around this time of year. But SCAN readers insist on edifying and entertaining posts, not mere gotchas and bland bromide reminders. So we turn once again to the great Charles Rembar's The Law of the Land, chapter 12 (on Equity) which includes a footnote about legal typos:

"The practice of law is especially rich in charming typos; the seriousness of the occasion makes the pratfall all the more engaging."

In Rembar's era, legal drafting was done via dictation, so many of his examples arise in that context:

    Image result for charles rembar the law of the land
  • When "soul discretion"appeared in a draft contract, he quipped, "that spiritual decision, though estimable, is a bit too unpredictable for a matter of this kind."
  • In a memo regarding the outcome of a criminal trial, he gets back from the steno pool "a neatly typed page in which it is said that assuming a sympathetic attitude on the part of the jury, the case is likely to end in 'a quibble' (that is, a verdict of not guilty)."
  • He references a letter "which refers to a party who has not stirred himself to respond to an attack as 'lying doormat.'"
  • He is given a contract to review, and instead of seeing the typical language along the lines of "This agreement shall commence on X date and terminate on Y date," he finds "Disagreement shall continue in full force and effect for ..."
  • And he cites a memo dealing with a tax on business income, which said "the tax was measured by 'grocery seats.' (You must pronounce it.)"