Key number system - A research aid developed by West Publishing Company which classifies digests of cases in to various law topics and subtopics which are given paragraph numbers called "Key Numbers." Each key number for a given topic helps the researcher quickly find all references to the legal matter being researched.
Lapsed gift - A gift made in a will to a person who has died prior to the will-makers death.
Larceny - Obtaining property by fraud or deceit.
Law - The combination of those rules and principles of conduct promulgated by legislative authority, derived from court decisions and established by local custom.
Law Blank - A printed legal form available for preparing documents.
Law Clerk - In the United States, usually a law school student employed by a law firm to do research and other tasks. In the courts, a lawyer (or law school student) employed to do legal research.
Lawsuit - An action or proceeding in a civil court; term used for a suit or action between two private parties in a court of law.
Leading question - A question that suggests the answer desired of the witness. A party generally may not ask one's own witness leading questions. Leading questions may be asked only of hostile witnesses and on cross-examination.
Legal aid - Professional legal services available usually to persons or organizations unable to afford such services.
Legal process - A formal paper that is legally valid; something issuing from the court, usually a command such as a writ or mandate.
Legal texts - Books that cover specific areas of the law, usually dealing with a single topic.
Legislation - The act of giving or enacting laws; the power to make laws via legislation in contrast to court-made laws.
Legitimate - That which is legal, lawful, recognized by law or according to law.
Leniency - Recommendation for a sentence less than the maximum allowed.
Letters of Administration - Legal document issued by a court that shows an administrator's legal right to take control of assets in the deceased person's name.
Letters Testamentary - Legal document issued by a court that shows an executor's legal right to take control of assets in the deceased person's name.
Liable - Legally responsible.
Libel - Published defamation which tends to injure a person's reputation.
Licensing boards - State agencies created to regulate the issuance of licenses, i.e., to contractors, cosmetologists, realtors, etc.
Lien - An encumbrance or legal burden upon property.
Limine - (See "in limine" in Foreign Words Glossary).
Limited Jurisdiction - Refers to courts that are limited in the types of criminal and civil cases they may hear. For example, traffic violations generally are heard by limited jurisdiction courts.
Litigant - A party to a lawsuit.
Litigation - A lawsuit; a legal action, including all proceedings therein.
Living trust - A trust set up and in effect during the lifetime of the grantor. (Also called inter vivos trust.)
Loose-leaf services -Loose-leaf replacement pages provided by a publisher in areas of the law where changes occur at a rapid rate.