ambiguity

Here are a few pieces from the Internet I’ve enjoyed recently. You might want to take a peek.

What’s in a Name? A lot of people were surprised to learn from a Reuters story this week that there’s neither King nor Wood at the Chinese mega-firm King & Wood &mdash nor has there ever been. As I understand it, in the olden days, it was universally considered to be unethical for a law firm to use anything other than real life practicing lawyers in its name (or former real life practicing lawyers who have passed on). Apparently, there was a feeling that law firm clients are easily confused, and that feeling (and rule) still prevails in several states. Fortunately, law firms in Missouri are now free to operate under fictitious names, which paved the way for my favorite: leadfootspeedingticket.com. (Shameless plug.) It also simplifies things when the ten name partners can’t decide who should take one for the team and fall off the masthead.

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Anderson v. Hess Corp.

The word “or” can cause confusion in a contract that can be expensive to resolve when the assistance of lawyers and federal judges is required. Diligent drafters should be on the lookout for potential ambiguity in order to avoid unnecessary expense and litigation. Anderson v. Hess Corp. is a case in point.

The Andersons, along with the owners of several parcels of land that adjoin the Andersons’ land, were parties to an oil lease with Hess Corporation. The lease automatically renewed at the end of its term if Hess Corporation was then conducting “drilling or reworking operations.”

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