This post is a day late, but it is inspired by something we received in the mail yesterday -- pocket parts! For those of you unaware of what pocket parts are, let me shine some light on the topic. There are numerous series of books and compilations that are constantly being updated (from collections of statutes to dictionaries). When the volumes are updated, rather than printing a brand new volume to accommodate a small change, the publisher issues a pocket part that can be inserted into the back of the appropriate volume. The changing of pocket parts when new orders come in is a time-consuming task, yet it is vitally important so that minute changes in the law may still be accessible to the patron. Yesterday, we updated our Words & Phrases collection with the latest 2014 pocket parts.
What are Words & Phrases, you ask? According to Thomson Reuters (the publisher), Words & Phrases is "a multi-volume set containing judicial definitions, from both state and federal courts, of words and phrases, arranged alphabetically. Definitions may pertain to statutory language, court rules, administrative regulations, or business documents, among other sources. Each definition contains a citation from the court that provided the definition. Each definition is also classified by West's attorney-editors to the West Key Number System®. Through pocket part supplementation, all new judicial constructions and interpretations of words and phrases are promptly supplied as they become available from the courts." Basically, Words & Phrases provides a current collection of legal terminology with definitions of the terms as explained by our courts. This is an extremely useful tool since the definition of a particular term may be different in the legal world than in common usage, and it may differ from state to state. The foundation of a legal argument is understanding the terms and being able to argue the points in favor of your client. By possessing a clear understanding of what a particular term or phrase means, a lawyer can create a firm foundation upon which to build his legal arguments.