Maybe someone that knows Latin can help me. I’m looking for the proper way to write “Let the Lawyer Beware!” much the way the buyer must beware (caveat emptor). An online dictionary tells me that consultus is the Latin for legal expert, and from which consultant is derived; though jurista seems like a possibility and it also looks and sounds better.
So this post has nothing to do with being afraid of lawyers, but rather, as a warning to those with the juris doctorate.
Frankly, I’ve always hated the use of Latin phrases in the law, as it always seemed pretentious. My usage is usually de minimis, limited to res ipsa loquitor and a few other well known phrases. But if using Latin helps save someone from outsourcing their marketing (and ethics) to others, it will be a good thing.
Why write on this again? Because I’m featured in the ABA Journal this week, in an edition that deals with online activities, Wired! The article is part of The Business of Law section, entitled Search and Deceive, and dedicated to comment spam and the problems hiring marketers for law firms. (Kevin O’Keefe is featured also, and as you can see from the picture they used, he’s clearly more photogenic than yours truly.)
Their piece is inspired by Martindale-Hubbel’s use of comment spam that I wrote about late last year (Martindale-Hubbell Apologizes For Blog Spam; Suspends Spammer; Promises to Answer Questions)
The essence of the article is this:
With the proliferation of social media forums and fly-by-night legal directories, lawyers need to be even more cautious when they enlist the services of outside sales and marketing firms to improve website traffic and search engine rankings.
The many problems with FindLaw, of course, equally apply, but the FindLaw postings occurred after the original article was written.
It’s good to see these problems now leaking out of the legal blogosphere to mainstream legal publications.
But I still need that Latin phrase. Though I’ll accept Middle French, Middle English and any other dead language. Anyone? Bueller? (Yeah, I know, like he’d ever know Latin…)
“Jurista” works, and is the most general term for a member of the legal profession, whether a judge (judex), public prosecutor (fiscalis), barrister (advocatus), or legal counselor (jurisconsultus).
“Consultus” would mean “counselor” in the general sense–even if that counselor were not engaged in what we’d now call the practice of law. An attorney in his role as legal counselor would be a “jurisconsultus” (legal counselor; solicitor [British usage]), but that might be a big awkward for your use.
Once a lawyer has entered an appearance for a client before a tribunal, however, he becomes an “advocatus” (advocate; barrister).