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The Legal Information Institute can help you find out what is being hidden in that small print for free

Updated on September 13, 2010

The Legal Information Institute can help you find out what is being hidden from you in that contract for free

If you are comparing one company with another or if an attorney who doesn’t have your best interest at heart is snowing you, it would be helpful for you to be able to quickly wade through their sticky morass of legalese.

Compared to the average person, I have a small leg-up because I used to be a court reporter and legal clerk.

Even though I haven’t done any real legal work for many years, I still remember a lot of the legal jargon and can read a contract well enough to uncover many of the little ugly secrets that the banks, insurance companies and other businesses may be trying to hide.

Several times over the years I have refused to sign a contract unless the language is changed, particularly the language that says something like, I will automatically pay for my own prosecution, if something should go wrong. Guess what? I usually don’t have to. I will line it out and initial and date the change.

Most of the time I get my exception to the wording. If not, I take my business somewhere else; and, I have.

Even though a lot of things have changed, it still is good to have some of that knowledge tucked away in some -- sometimes hard-to-reach -- recesses of my brain.

Even though I can grasp a lot of legal information, I would have a hard time trying to explain the difference between a civil criminal liability and a purely civil liability to someone with no legal background.

Take something a simple as a tort for example:

Torts can be civil wrongs even when not recognized by criminal law as grounds for a lawsuit. These wrongs result in an injury or harm constituting the basis for a claim by the injured party.

OJ Simpson would be an example.

For one reason or another, OJ wasn’t found guilty in a criminal proceeding, but he was forced by a tort court to pay for some of the harm that resulted from his actions, that hurt other people.

Cornell University Law School is coming to our rescue with their Legal Information Institute – LII

The Legal Information Institute states on their website:

“We are a not-for-profit group that believes everyone should be able to read and understand the laws that govern them, without cost. We carry out this vision by:

· Publishing law online, for free.

· Creating materials that help people understand law.

· Exploring new technologies that make it easier for people to find the law.”

My advice would be to familiarize your self with the way the site works and to bookmark it in a conspicuous place so that it will be easy to find it when that time comes; and it will.

Legal Information Institute also has a presence on Facebook at:


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    • katiem2 profile image

      katiem2 7 years ago from I'm outta here

      Ewwww very interesting and helpful legal facts, Thanks fopr the free legal information. I feel more confident all ready, bookmarking this and rating it UP! :)

    • DiamondRN profile image

      Bob Diamond RPh 7 years ago from Charlotte, NC USA

      A lot of companies are now asking you to agree to arbitration ahead of time, instead of going to court, if something should go wrong, Pamela.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

      This hub is full of good information and I marked the website. I didn't know that remarks about my prosecution were even in legal documents. Thanks, rated up!

    • drpastorcarlotta profile image

      Pastor Dr. Carlotta Boles 7 years ago from BREAKOUT MINISTRIES, INC. KC

      IM First!!! This Hub is very, very, informational and I voted useful!!!!! Keep on writing my friend and God Bless YOU!!!!!!!