the Zealous

11 Nov 23

"Title of dignity. Slightly above gentleman, below knight."
Roman J. Israel, Esq. [i]

On the origins of "Esquire" (or "Esq.") as an honorific for lawyers:

The word itself derives from Old French, and in turn from Latin, where it means something like “shield-holder.” In the 1200s and 1300s in England, a variety of languages were used, so such figures might be referred to as the … French escuier, which became “esquire.” These terms all refer to roughly similar people. This role was generally considered moderately prestigious for young men of some wealth, but at its core it was a service job. You carry a knight’s stuff, tend to his horses, that kind of thing. “Esquire” and “squire” were names for the same gig for a few hundred years.

31 Oct 23

Often one party to a contract is allowed to act only with the consent of the other party, "not to be unreasonably withheld."

A common context in this regard is the right to assign an agreement. The language used is typically, "[Party A] may not assign this Agreement without the consent of [Party B], such consent not to be unreasonably withheld."

So what happens if Party B unreasonably withholds consent? Does the refusal then automagically become consent, such that Party A is free to assign away?

14 Oct 23

Jackie Ruffin, First woman lawyer in California championed the idea of public defenders (review of Woman Lawyer – The Trials of Clara Foltz by Barbara Babcock), 98 Women Lawyers Journal 38 (2013):

The life of Clara Foltz, 19th-century trailblazing lawyer, women’s rights activist and social reformer, has few equals for drama, achievement and sheer chutzpah. In Woman Lawyer, Professor Emerita Barbara Babcock, herself a trailblazer as the first woman appointed to the regular faculty at Stanford Law School, has written a richly detailed account of Foltz’s bold and remarkable life, replete with "firsts," including first female lawyer in California, first woman to serve in a statewide California office and first female deputy prosecutor.