Lingo to Go

A Firm Perspective is written by Martha Goldman, a retired Big Law firm library manager who then returned to the NYLS Mendik Library where her career began…


As you progress through research classes, all sorts of legal jargon referred to by initials, popular or shortened names and abbreviations pass your way.  It’s almost akin to learning a new language and can be frustrating.  Some are universal and others are more relevant to specific areas of legal practice. Two resources that can help decipher what the abbreviations mean are the Cardiff Index to Legal Abbreviations and the Bluebook (you can sign up for a free trial of the online edition).  For example, if you already know what the non-legal abbreviation ROTFL means, the foray into legal jargon will be easy.  Once you are familiar with the most common abbreviations and their sources, you will be ready to understand and tackle an assignment.


For assistance with research and jargon translation, contact the Reference Librarians at