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The Aspen Publishing Bouvier Law Dictionary: Compact Edition

  • Stephen Michael Sheppard
Series / Bouvier Law Dictionary
Teaching Materials

This new dictionary is derived from the famous 1853 law dictionary used by Daniel Webster, Abraham Lincoln, and Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. Relying on Bouvier's structure and original entries, Professor Stephen Sheppard of the University of Arkansas, has added thousands of new terms and rewritten the most appropriate of the original terms for the first complete revision of this essential dictionary in a hundred years.


  • Clear. These entries are written to be understood by the modern student, argued by the modern lawyer, and cited by the modern judge. They explain, rather than repeat old jargon.
  • Authoritative. The definitions are derived from ancient and contemporary sources, including current statutes, regulations, cases, and treatises, as well as ancient and medieval sources. They are newly written by Steve Sheppard, whose writings have been published by Oxford, Cambridge and other presses, whose law degrees and doctorate are from Oxford and Columbia, whose international legal practice and litigation and whose experience teaching at the University of Arkansas guided the selection of terms.
  • Encyclopedic. The definitions are organized in intuitive structures. Major terms are used to organize concepts and related terms, so that, for instance, the exceptions to Hearsay are under hearsay, and the forms of estate are under Estate. With thorough cross-references, this is an easy book to use and to locate one term from another.
  • Thorough. The 8,500 entries explain more than 11,200 words and phrases. This is far longer than the original two-volume Bouvier's 6,600 entries, and reaches not only the terms most often sought but many scarce terms used in contemporary practice.
  • In-Depth. These entries are robust, written in paragraphs, not sentence fragments. Each is a clear statement of the meaning of the word or phrase, and many provide context and examples that explain not just what the term means but why it matters and how itand#8217;s used.
  • Resourceful. The concise edition is soon to be followed by a desk edition that provides very single entry with quotations that are carefully selected both to illustrate the use of the word or phrase in legal writing but also to demonstrate some of the greater number of sources consulted in writing the definition. The full effect of these tens of thousands of quotations is to be a reference like the great Abridgments of the Common Law, a source for thought and research.


I'm a part time 4L who has had to work in order to support my legal education. I worked for a few lawyers and have had to look up legal phrases and words dozens of times. Naturally I was hesitant to use the Bouvier Law Dictionary since I wasn't even aware it existed but it completely surpassed my expectations.

Thankfully I started to use Bouvier and was able to understand legal concepts which arose in my law classes and in legal practice. When I was working for a local attorney I was able to use the dictionary in practice and in the classroom. The Bouvier Law Dictionary<

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