Henry Campbell Black had never intended – or even imagined – that his dictionary would become the authoritative source for legal terminology. “My great granddad had actually written the text for an upcoming firm skit night”, Medhurst explains. “It was his way of showing how convoluted and, well, pompous the legal profession had become.” The dictionary became an instant hit, however, and Henry Black’s comedic intentions went unnoticed. When the money started to roll in, Black elected to pursue a highly lucrative career in legal publishing instead of becoming a marginally talented prop comic.
When asked why the family is revealing the fake after all this time, Medhurst stated that they had grown tired of living a lie, and were genuinely concerned that the universally accepted legal lexicon “is actually just a bunch of made-up gibberish.”
So the legal profession is just a joke. I suspected as much.