legal education and writing

a fortiori

A fortiori signals an argument that it is based on an even stronger argument. In Latin, the term literally means ‘from [the] stronger’. A fortiori is generally used to suggest that an argument is based on another argument so strong as to make...

a posteriori

A posteriori is a Latin phrase that means "by a reason that comes after" (implied by experience). This is generally used to mean "after the facts".

In philosophy, a posteriori reasoning is reasoning starting from the data of...

a priori

A priori signals an assertion that is based on prior knowledge or intuition. In Latin, the term literally means ‘from [the] former’. An a priori determination is formed prior to investigation.

For example:



A.K.A. is the abbreviation of “also known as.” It is often used to specify a party’s aliases or nicknames in a case.

[Last updated in June of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]

ab initio

Ab initio is a Latin term that means "from the beginning” or “from inception.” Ab initio is used to indicate that some fact existed from the start of a relevant time period. It is often used as part of the phrase “void ab initio,” meaning...


ABA is an abbreviation for American Bar Association (ABA).

[Last updated in June of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]


Acknowledgement refers to a formal declaration before an official that one has executed a particular legal document. Some common usages of the term “acknowledgement” in a legal sense include:

Cases such as this one from Nebraska,...

ad litem

The Latin translation of ad litem is "for the suit."


A guardian ad litem is a guardian (usually a lawyer) appointed by the court to manage the affairs of the ward as they relate to a proceeding or particular...

ad seriatim

Ad seriatim is a Latin word meaning one after another or in a series.

For example, a judge delivering an opinion one by one or a court dealing with multiple issues in a certain order.

[Last updated in June of 2022...

admission to practice

Admission to the practice of law (admission to the bar of a state) is governed by rules and regulations promulgated solely by a state's courts, legislatures, and/or bar association. The rules must not violate the constitutional requirements...