Which book has been utilized by every lawyer and Supreme Court Justice at some point in their career? It is also one of the most widely used legal books in the world and is a must-have for every lawyer and law student. This book has also been cited over 250 times in Supreme Court cases since 1901.
BLACK’S LAW DICTIONARY; Black’s Law was first published by Henry Campbell Black (1860-1927) in 1891. Henry Campbell Black was trained as a lawyer but only practiced law for a short stint. He quickly became frustrated with his profession of choice and left the practice of law behind. Instead of practicing law he chose to write about it. Some would say he was the definition of a legal nerd who chose to vigorously write about law.
Henry wrote up until his death in 1927 having written over one thousand legal articles all while creating his masterwork Black’s Law Dictionary in the process. Ironically his name would be known throughout the legal community for over a hundred years after choosing to leave the legal profession and instead choosing to write about it.
Through the years many terms have been added as laws changed and precedents set. Black’s Law Dictionary is the most ambitious law dictionary ever undertaken with over 2,000 pages, 7,500 new entries, and updates on every page. The creators of each edition pay great attention to detail conducting years of intense research for new legal terms used in law files, legal updates, and precedent-setting cases.
In fact, the editor of BLACK’S LAW DICTIONARY; DELUXE 10TH EDITION co-wrote a number of books with Justice Scalia. It has been said the Justice Scalia helped Black’s editor in the latest edition.
When a new term is found or reinvented it is tested to see if it has been used in the field or if many lawyers are aware of it already. If it is being used and recognized as a legal term it is then added to the latest edition. If words are cut from new editions it’s usually because they are not mainly legal terms but ones in any dictionary.
With each new edition, roughly 15% will have been changed or added to. So for those who have an older edition, it may be time for an update. For those who want the original Black Law dictionary that is also available here’s a link below.
Reprint of the rare first edition of the classic American law dictionary, now in its tenth edition. Originally published in 1891 it Contains definitions of the terms and phrases of American and English jurisprudence, ancient and modern (including the principal terms of international, constitutional, and commercial law). There is also a collection of legal maxims, as well as a bibliography of the principal law dictionaries in English and other languages to 1891.
Whichever version of Black’s Law dictionary you decide to use you won’t be alone as nearly every lawyer, law student and Justice of the Supreme Court has used it at some point.
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