L

L.W.O.P.
A life prison sentence, literally life without parole.

L3C
See: low-profit limited liability company (L3C)

Labor And Materials (Time And Materials)
What some builders or repair people contract to provide and be paid for, rather than a fixed price or a percentage of the costs. In many states, if the person performing the work is not a licensed contractor, he or she is limited to labor and materials in any lawsuit for contract payment, and may not receive a profit above that amount.

Labor Certification
A required procedure for many foreign nationals who have a job offer from a U.S. employer and want to use it to apply for U.S. permanent residence (a green card). In most cases, the job offer alone is not enough to qualify the potential immigrant for a green card. First, the employer must prove that there are no qualified U.S. workers available and willing to take the job. To do so, the employer must conduct an advertising and hiring process and then turn to the U.S. Department of Labor for individual approval of a labor certification. At that point, the intending immigrant can continue with the process and apply for a green card. This process is also referred to as "PERM," meaning Program Electronic Review Management.

Laches
A legal defense to a claim for equitable relief asserting that the plaintiff's long delay in bringing the claim has prejudiced the defendant (as a sort of legal ambush). For example, if a homeowner watches while the neighbor builds a house over their property line, and only then brings a suit to have the house removed, the encroaching neighbor may raise the defense of laches. Don't confuse laches with "statutes of limitations," which set forth specific periods of time within which plaintiffs must file certain types of lawsuits.

Land
Real estate that can be transferred by deed. It usually includes permanent structures such as buildings.

Land Trust
An agreement by which a trustee holds ownership of land for the benefit of an individual or entity. Land trusts are often used by nonprofit organizations for conservation purposes, by large corporations to amass significant landholdings, and by individuals to keep their names out of the public records.

Landlady
Female of landlord or owner of real property from whom one rents or leases residential or commercial real estate.

Landlocked
A parcel of real property that has no access to a public street and cannot be reached except by crossing another's property. See: easement

Landlord
The owner of real estate, such as a house, apartment building, or land, that is leased or rented to another person or entity, called the tenant.

Landlord And Tenant
The area of law concerning renting and leasing residential or commercial property and the rights of both the owner and the renter or lessee.

Landlord's Lien
The right of a landlord to seize and sell personal property belonging to tenants, to cover unpaid rent or damages to the property. Few states still allow landlord liens, and of those that do, the process is extremely complicated, requiring written notice to the tenant, exclusion of property that is needed for basic living, and a public sale.

Lanham Act
The federal statute that governs trademarks, service marks, and unfair competition. The Lanham Act covers matters that include the procedures for federally registering trademarks, when owners of trademarks may be entitled to federal judicial protection against infringement, and other guidelines and remedies for trademark owners.

Lapse
Under a will, the failure of a gift of property. A gift lapses when the beneficiary dies before the person who made the will, and no alternate has been named. Some states have antilapse statutes, which prevent gifts to relatives of the deceased person from lapsing unless the relative has no heirs of his or her own. A lapsed gift becomes part of the residuary estate.

Lapse Statute
See: antilapse statute

Larceny
Another term for theft. Although the definition of this term differs from state to state, it typically means taking property belonging to another with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property. If the taking is not forceful, it is larceny; if it is accompanied by force directed against a person, it is robbery, a much more serious offense. Many states differentiate between petit larceny (usually a misdemeanor, punishable by time in the county jail) and grand larceny (theft of a large amount, punishable as a felony in state prison).

Last Antecedent Rule
A doctrine of interpretation by which a court finds that qualifying words or phrases refer to the language immediately preceding the qualifier, unless common sense shows that it was meant to apply to something more distant or less obvious. For example, in the phrase "the commercial vehicular license shall not apply to boats, tractors, and trucks under three tons, " the qualifier "under three tons" applies only to trucks and not to boats or tractors.

Last Clear Chance
A rule, most commonly applied to auto accidents, providing that the negligence of a party suing for damages for an accident is irrelevant if the party being sued could have avoided the accident by reasonable care in the final moments before the accident. Example: a driver drifts over the center line, and an oncoming driver notes the drifting but proceeds without taking simple evasive action and crashes into the first driver. The oncoming driver may be liable for the injuries to the first driver who was over the line.

Last Will And Testament
An old-fashioned term for what is now usually called just a "will," which is a document in which you state who should inherit your property, direct how to pay debts and taxes, and name a guardian for your minor children in case one is ever needed.

Latent Ambiguity
See: ambiguity

Latent Defect
A hidden flaw, weakness, or imperfection that cannot be discovered by reasonable inspection. It may refer to real property (a hidden defect in the title to land) or personal property (a defect in the steering mechanism of a car). Discovery of a latent defect generally entitles the purchaser to a refund or a nondefective replacement. Compare: patent defect

Lateral Support
A landowner's right to have his or her land supported by the land that lies next to it, for example, against any slippage, cave-in, or landslide. Example: a developer excavated into a hill to build an apartment building, without putting in a retaining wall. Surrounding buildings caved in, and the developer had to pay the entire value of the destroyed buildings.

Law
1) Any system of regulations to govern the conduct of the people of an organization, community, society, or nation. 2) A statute, ordinance, or regulation enacted by the legislative branch of a government.

Law And Motion Calendar
A description of the kinds of legal matters a particular judge or courtroom will hear that day, week, or any other block of time. The law and motion calendar consists of pretrial motions (such as a motion to compel the other side in a civil case to answer discovery requests) or other legal requests that are not connected to a trial, and does not include trials themselves.

Law In Books
Legal rules found in texts. This term is most often used in a derogatory way to refer to old rules that no longer reflect the way the law actually works.

Law Of Admiralty
See: maritime law

Law Of The Case
Once judges have decided a legal question during the conduct of a lawsuit, they are unlikely to change their views and will respond that the ruling is the "law of the case."

Law Of The Land
The body of rules, regulations, and laws that govern a country or jurisdiction. The United States Constitution declares itself "the supreme law of the land."

Lawful Enemy Combatant
Someone who is engaged in hostilities against the United States or its allies as a member of a regular armed force of another country. Currently defined by federal law in the Military Commissions Act of 2006.

Lawful Issue
Formerly, statutes governing wills used this phrase to specify children born to married parents, and to exclude those born out of wedlock. Now, the phrase means the same as the words issue and lineal descendant.

Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR)
A non-U.S. citizen who has been given permission to make a permanent home (and work) in the United States. Permanent residents are given "green cards" (not really green) to prove their status. U.S. permanent residents may travel as much as they like, but their place of residence must remain in the United States and they must keep that residence on a permanent basis. Otherwise, they'll be said to have abandoned their U.S. residence, and could lose their right to the green card. A permanent resident who leaves the United States and stays away for more than six months risks having the U.S. immigration officials believe that he or she has abandoned residence.

Lawrence V. Texas (2003)
The U.S. Supreme Court case in which the Court struck down as unconstitutional laws prohibiting sexual acts between consenting adults.

Lawsuit
1) A legal action by one person or entity against another person or entity, to be decided in a court of law. 2) The complaint or petition that begins a court case.

Lawyer
See: attorney

Lay A Foundation
The act of demonstrating to a judge that a piece of evidence a litigant would like to introduce meets evidence rules requirements concerning authenticity and trustworthiness. For example, a medical report cannot be introduced unless the physician who wrote it testifies that he wrote it; and a photograph must be authenticated by the photographer or by testimony that it truly reflects a particular place or event. Even after a proper foundation is laid, however, evidence can still be excluded if, for example, it is not relevant to the point for which it is being offered.

Lay Witness
A witness who is not an expert. Lay witnesses may not offer opinions, unless they are based on firsthand knowledge or help to clarify testimony.

Lead Hazard
A health hazard resulting from the breakdown of lead paint or lead solder, and the creation of lead dust or lead in drinking water. When such lead is ingested, it can cause brain damage and other damage. A 1996 federal law, "Title X," and the ensuing federal regulations set standards for permissible levels of lead hazards.

Leading Question
A question asked of a witness who is under oath, which suggests the answer. An improper leading question would be "Didn't the defendant appear to you to be going too fast in the limited visibility?" The proper question would be: "How fast do you estimate the defendant was going?" followed by "What was the visibility?" and "How far could you see?" Leading questions are not allowed on direct examination (questioning by the side that called the witness), but are allowed on cross-examination (questioning by adverse parties) or when a party's own witness has been declared a "hostile witness" by the judge. (See: hostile witness)

Lease
An oral or written agreement (a contract) between two people concerning the use by one of the property of the other. A lease for more than one year must be in writing. A person can lease real estate (such as an apartment, house, or business property) or personal property (such as a car or a boat). A lease should cover basic issues such as when the lease will begin and end, the rent or other costs, how payments should be made, and any restrictions on the use of the property. The property owner is often called the "lessor," and the person using the property is called the "lessee."

Lease Option
A provision in a lease (for real property, such as a house) or contract (for personal property, such as a car) that gives the tenant or lessee the right to buy the real or personal property at the end of the lease or contract period, for a price established in advance.

Leasehold
The tenant's interest in real estate or right to occupy it, as established by a written or oral lease or by implicit permission of the owner.

Least Restrictive Environment
A requirement of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act that school districts place disabled children in the classroom setting that best meets their individual needs, rather than automatically assume that a special class or school is the best option. In many cases, the least restrictive environment, or LRE, is a regular classroom with nondisabled children (also known as mainstreaming), with additional services provided to help the disabled child succeed at school.

Leave Year
Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the 12-month period by which an employer measures an employee's entitlement to FMLA leave. Eligible employees have a right to take up to 12 weeks of leave in each 12-month leave year.

Lee V. Weisman (1992)
The U.S. Supreme Court case in which the Court held that an official prayer before a public school graduation was unconstitutional, even though the prayer was nondenominational.

Legacy
A gift of personal property to a beneficiary of a will. Technically, legacy does not include gifts of real estate, but the term is often used to refer to any gift from the estate of someone who has died. The more common term for legacy is bequest. (See also: devise)

Legal
In accordance with and not in violation of the law; having any relation to the law.

Legal Succession
Succession of right and property in a manner defined by the law. For example, intestate succession is legal succession because the law determines who inherits. However, testate succession is not legal succession because the testator decides who gets what.

Legal Action
Any lawsuit, judicial proceeding, or prosecution, brought to protect a right or remedy a legal violation or injustice.

Legal Advertising
1) Legal notices required by law to be published in court-approved local newspapers. 2) Advertising for the legal services of lawyers and law firms.

Legal Age
The age of legal majority, at which a person becomes responsible for his or her own actions. In almost all states the basic legal age is 18. State laws vary as to legal age for drinking or buying alcoholic beverages, marriage with or without parental consent, driving, prosecution for crimes, the right to choose an abortion, and liability for damages.

Legal Aid
Free or low-cost legal services for consumers with limited financial means; legal aid services are often provided by local bar associations.

Legal Cause
A cause that produces a direct effect, and without which the effect would not have occurred. (See also: direct and proximate cause)

Legal Custody
The right and obligation to make decisions about a child's upbringing, including schooling and medical care. Many states typically have both parents share legal custody of a child. Compare: physical custody

Legal Duty
See: duty

Legal Fiction
A presumption of fact assumed by a court for convenience, consistency, or to achieve justice.

Legal Malpractice
See: malpractice

Legal Papers
Documents containing a statement of legal status, identity, authority, or ownership, or providing evidence of some type of obligation. Such documents may include wills, deeds, leases, titles, birth certificates, and contracts. Legal papers may also refer to documents such as a complaint or summons, prepared in order to pursue a legal or court action.

Legal Risk Placement
A type of adoption in which the child is placed with the prospective adoptive parents before the birth parents have legally given up their rights or had their rights terminated. If the termination of rights doesn't occur, then the adopting parents must give the child back. This is a risk for the adopting parents, who may lose a child to whom they've become attached. Legal risk placements are sometimes used in the case of foster children when the expectation is that the parents' rights will be terminated.

Legal Separation
The legal status of living apart while remaining legally married. Parties who legally separate may petition for property division and support rights, and in all ways end their marital relationship while retaining the status, usually for religious reasons or to retain insurance benefits.

Legal Services
The work performed by a lawyer for a client.

Legal Tender
Currency that is issued by a government. Checks, credit cards, and other noncash payments are generally not legal tender.

Legalese
Slang for the sometimes arcane, convoluted, and specialized jargon of lawyers and legal scholars.

Legatee
A person or organization who receives a gift under the terms of a will. Historically, a legatee receives only personal property, not real property; however the word now is most often used to refer to a person who takes any kind of property under a will. Compare: devisee

Legislative Immunity
A legal doctrine that prevents legislators from being sued for actions performed and decisions made in the course of serving in government. This doctrine does not protect legislators from criminal prosecution, nor does it relieve them from responsibility for actions outside the scope of their office.

Legitimate
1) Legal, proper, or real. 2) A child born to parents who are married.

Lemon
A car that continues to be defective after a reasonable number of attempts at repair, or after the car has been out of commission for a certain period of time. Under most state lemon laws, the owner has the option --often exercised after arbitration or a lawsuit -- of getting a refund or a replacement vehicle.

Lemon Law
Statutes adopted in some states to make it easier for a buyer of a new vehicle to sue for damages or replacement if the dealer or manufacturer cannot make it run properly after a reasonable number of attempts to fix the car.

Lessee
Also known as the tenant, the person who rents real estate from the owner (the lessor).

Lesser Crime
Also known as a lesser-included offense, a crime that is necessarily part of a more complex crime. For example, in most situations murder would include the lesser crime of assault and battery.

Lessor
The owner of real property, who rents it to the tenant, or lessee.

Let
To lease or rent real property to another person, as in "Room to Let."

Letter Of Credit
A letter from a bank or other financial institution guaranteeing payment of a certain amount on behalf of a customer. The letter of credit substitutes the bank's credit for the customer's credit. Letters of credit are used primarily to facilitate international transactions.

Letter Of Request
A document from a court to a foreign court requesting some type of judicial assistance. Often used to ask the foreign court to serve process on, or take evidence from, someone in the foreign jurisdiction. Also known as rogatory letters or letters rogatory.

Letters
See: letters of administration, letters testamentary

Letters Of Administration
The document a probate court issues to the person appointed as administrator (personal representative) of the estate of someone who died without a will. The letters authorize the administrator to settle the deceased person's estate according to the state's intestate succession laws. Banks, brokerages, and government agencies often require a certified copy of the letters before accepting the administrator's authority to collect the deceased person's assets. (See also: letters testamentary)

Letters Rogatory
See: letter of request

Letters Testamentary
The document a probate court issues to an executor (personal representative) of a deceased person's estate, authorizing the executor to settle the estate according to the terms of the person's will. Banks, brokerages, and government agencies often require a certified copy of the letters before accepting the executor's authority to collect the deceased person's assets. (See also: letters of administration)

Leverage
1) The use of borrowed money to purchase real estate or business assets, usually involving borrowed money that equals a high percentage of the value of the purchased property. The dangers of high leverage are overappraisal of the property, a decline in the value of the property, and high carrying costs (interest, insurance, taxes, maintenance). 2) To borrow most of the funds necessary as a loan against real estate to buy other real estate or business assets.

Levy
1) To seize property to satisfy a debt or lawsuit judgment. Sometimes used as a noun to refer to the property seizure. 2) To impose or assess, as a tax.

Lewd
Any conduct that is considered indecent or offensive. Today the term is often used when referring to pornography, prostitution, and indecent exposure.

Lewd And Lascivious
Conduct that is sexual in nature and deemed by judges to be criminal. Examples include indecent exposure, prostitution, and indecent acts.

Lex Loci
(lecks loh-see) Latin for the "law of the place." It means local law.

LGBT
An abbreviation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender people or groups.

Liability
1) In law, the state of being liable -- that is, legally accountable for an act or omission. 2) In business, money owed by a business to others, such as payroll taxes, a court judgment, an account payable, or a loan debt.

Liability Insurance Coverage
Insurance that provides compensation to third parties who are injured or whose property is damaged due to the fault of the insurance holder. You may have liability insurance for your car or your home, or to cover actions you take in the course of your profession. Liability policies are sometimes called "third-party policies."

Liable
Legally responsible. For example, a person may be liable for a debt, liable for an accident due to careless behavior, liable for failing do something required by a contract, or liable for the commission of a crime. Someone who is found liable for an act or omission must usually pay money damages or, if the act was a criminal one, face punishment. (See also: liability)

Liar Loan
A slang term for the "stated income" loan.

Libel
An untruthful statement about a person, published in writing or through broadcast media, that injures the person's reputation or standing in the community. Libel is a tort (a type of civil wrong), and the injured person can bring a lawsuit against the person who made the false statement. Libel and slander (an untruthful statement that is spoken, but not published in writing or broadcast through the media), are both considered forms of defamation.

Libel Per Se
False statements that are so widely understood to be harmful that they are presumed to be defamatory, such as an accusation that a person has committed a crime, has a dreaded disease, or is unable to perform one's occupation.

Liberty
Freedom from restraint, slavery, or imprisonment, and the power to follow one's own will within the limits set by the law or society.

License
1) Permission to do something otherwise prohibited under law -- for example, a license to practice law or drive a car. 2) A contract giving written permission, for a limited time, to someone to exploit an invention, creative work, or trademark. A license provides a way for an innovator to make money from an invention or creative work without having to manufacture and sell copies, and without having to permanently relinquish ownership. Some licenses are exclusive (limiting the grant to one company) while others are nonexclusive (permitting several companies in an industry to market the product). 3) A private grant of right to use real property for a particular purpose, such as putting on a concert.

Licensee
A person or entity that obtains a license.

Licensor
A person or entity that grants a license.

Licit
Lawful, permitted. Compare: illicit

Lie Detector Test
The popular name for a polygraph, which tests a person's physiological response (for example, changes in blood pressure and respiration) to questions asked by a testing expert to judge whether the person is telling the truth. The test's reliability is a matter of ongoing controversy, and in most U.S. states polygraph test results are not admissible in court.

Lien
A creditor's legal claim against particular property owned by a debtor as security for a debt. Liens the debtor agrees to, called security interests, include mortgages, home equity loans, car loans, and personal loans for which the debtor pledges property as collateral. Nonconsensual liens are liens placed on property without the debtor's consent, and include tax liens, judgment liens (liens a creditor obtains by suing and getting a court judgment against the debtor), and mechanics' liens (liens filed by a contractor who worked on the debtor's house but didn't get paid).

Lienor
A person or entity that holds a lien on the funds or property of another.

Life Act
The common name for the Legal Immigration Family Equity Act, signed into law by President Clinton in 2000. The Act included many changes to the immigration laws, including an extension of Section 245(i) (allowing certain categories of green card applicants who wouldn't otherwise be eligible to adjust status in the United States to do so by paying a penalty fee); a new K-3 visa category allowing married people to use a version of the existing "fiancé visa" to enter the United States in order to apply for adjustment of status (rather than completing the entire permanent residence application overseas); and a new V visa category for spouses and children of lawful permanent residents who had filed an immigrant visa petition on or before December 21, 2000 but who after three years were still waiting for petition approval or for their Priority Date to become current and a visa to become available.

Life Beneficiary
Someone who receives benefits, under a trust or by will, only for his or her lifetime (or in rare cases, for someone else's lifetime). For an example, see bypass trust. (See also: life estate)

Life Estate
The right to the use and enjoyment of certain property (usually real estate) for life only. So someone who inherits a life estate in a house may live in the house for his or her life but has no right to sell it or to leave it at death. Life estates aren't as commonly used as they once were, but are still useful in certain situations. For example, a man in his second marriage might leave a life estate in his house to his surviving wife, with the provision that at her death, it is to go to his children from his previous marriage. (See also: remainderman)

Life Expectancy
The length of time a person is expected to live based on age, gender, health, and many other factors. In insurance, and sometimes in court, life expectancy is based on standard tables called actuarial tables.

Life Insurance
A contract in which an insurance company agrees to pay money to a designated beneficiary upon the death of the policyholder. In exchange, the policyholder pays a regularly scheduled fee, known as the insurance premiums. The purpose of life insurance is to provide financial support to those who survive the policyholder, such as family members or business partners. When the policyholder dies, the insurance proceeds pass to the beneficiaries free of probate, though they are counted for federal estate tax purposes. There are many types of life insurance, including: term life insurance, whole life insurance, and universal life insurance.

Life Insurance Avails
See: avails

Life Insurance Trust
A trust set up to own a life insurance policy, so that the policy proceeds arent subject to estate tax when the original policy owner dies. Life insurance trusts are usually irrevocable.

Life Tenant
Someone who has a life estate in property.

Life Without Possibility Of Parole
A prison sentence for life, with no parole possible. In a death penalty case, a jury that decides not to sentence the defendant to death may instead sentence to life without parole. In states without the death penalty, this is the most extreme sentence.

Life-Prolonging Procedure
See: life-sustaining treatment

Life-Sustaining Procedures
See: life-prolonging procedure

Life-Sustaining Treatment
Medical procedures that would only prolong the process of dying or sustain a condition of permanent unconsciousness. A patient who is receiving life-sustaining treatment will die soon, whether or not treatment is administered. Life-sustaining treatment may include a respirator, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), dialysis, surgery, and other medical procedures

Like-Kind Property
Property that is similar to property being sold in a 1031 exchange. Property must be like-kind to be eligible for an exchange, but that does not mean it need be similar. Properties must simply be of the same nature or character (meaning both are investment or business properties), but not the same grade or quality.

Likelihood Of Confusion
See: confusingly similar

Lilly Ledbetter
The namesake of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009. Ms. Ledbetter was the plaintiff in a lawsuit against her employer, in which she claimed that she had been paid less because of her gender. The U.S. Supreme Court threw out her case because she had not brought it within the 180-day statute of limitations, which the Court held started running on the day that Ms. Ledbetter and her employer first agreed on her pay. The 2009 law was passed by Congress specifically to overturn this decision and establish that the statute of limitations starts over with each paycheck. See: statute of limitations

Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act Of 2009
Amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to say that the 180-day statute of limitations for filing an equal pay claim starts over with each unequal paycheck. Signed into law by President Barack Obama, this law was passed specifically to overturn a U.S. Supreme Court case that held that the statute of limitations starts on the day the pay was first agreed upon. See: Statute of limitations

Limitation Of Actions
See: statute of limitations

Limited Equity Housing
(Also referred to as limited equity housing cooperatives, or LEHCs.) An arrangement designed to encourage low- and moderate-income families to buy their own place to live. The housing is offered for sale, usually by a nonprofit organization, at an extremely favorable price with a low down payment. Typically the housing has been built (or an apartment building has been converted) for multiple families, who then share common areas and some decision making. The catch is that, upon selling, the owner gets none of the profit if the market value of the unit has gone up. Any profit returns to the organization that built the home, which then resells the unit at an affordable price.

Limited Jurisdiction
When a particular court has a narrowly defined authority over certain types of cases, such as bankruptcy, claims against the government, probate, family matters, or immigration.

Limited Liability
A feature of corporations and LLCs where the business owners are legally responsible for paying business debts, claims, and judgments only to the extent of the capital they invested in the business. This means that if the business folds, creditors cannot seize or sell the business owner's home, car, or other personal assets.

Limited Liability Company (LLC)
A business ownership structure that shields its owners' personal assets through the doctrine of limited liability (like a corporation) but has pass-through taxation (like a partnership), where profits (or losses) are passed through to the owners and taxed on their personal income tax returns.

Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)
A type of partnership recognized in a majority of states that protects a partner from personal liability for negligent acts committed by other partners or by employees not under his or her direct control. Some states also protect partners from personal liability for contract breaches or intentional torts. Some states restrict this type partnership to professionals, such as lawyers, accountants, architects, and health care providers.

Limited Partnership
A business structure that allows one or more partners (called limited partners) to enjoy limited personal liability for partnership debts while another partner or partners (called general partners) have unlimited personal liability. The key difference between general and limited partners is with management decisionmaking--general partners run the business and limited partners (who are usually passive investors) are not allowed to make day-to-day business decisions. If they do, they risk being treated as general partners with unlimited personal liability.

Limited Personal Liability
See: limited liability

Limited Power Of Attorney
A power of attorney that gives the agent power to handle only a specified matter -- for example, to sign papers completing a single business transaction or property transfer. Compare: general power of attorney

Limiting Instructions
Jury instructions in which a judge instructs that evidence is admissible for one purpose but not for another. The judge will often instruct jurors to consider the evidence only for the legitimate purpose,and ignore it for any other purpose. (See: jury instruction)

Lineal Consanguinity
The relationship between blood relatives where one is a direct descendant of the other. For example, a person has consanguinity with her mother, grandmother, and daughter. (See also: consanguinity)

Lineal Descendant
See: issue

Lineup
A procedure in which the police place a suspect in a line with a group of other people and ask an eyewitness to the crime whether the person he saw at the crime scene is in the lineup. The police are supposed to choose similar-looking people to appear with the suspect. If the suspect alone matches the physical description of the perpetrator, evidence of the identification may be excluded at trial. For example, if the robber is described as a Latino male, and the suspect, a Latino male, is placed in a lineup with ten white males, a witness's identification of him as the robber will be challenged by the defense attorney.

Link
Any component of a Web page that connects to another Web page or another portion of the same Web page. Clicking on underlined text or a graphic image activates most links. For example, if a user clicks on the words, financial calculator, or an image of a calculator, the user will be transported to a page that contains a calculator. Links are sometimes called hyperlinks. Compare: deep link

Liquid Asset
Business or personal property that can be quickly and easily converted into cash, such as stock, bank accounts, and accounts receivable.

Liquidate
To sell the assets of a business, pay the business's debts, and divide the remainder among shareholders, partners, or other investors.

Liquidated Damages
In a contract, an amount of money agreed upon by both parties that a party who breaches the contract will pay to the other party. Liquidated damages clauses may not be enforced by judges when they appear in consumer contracts, because they are often used to punish the party who breaks the contract, rather than to compensate the other side for its actual damages.

Liquidating Partner
The member of an insolvent or dissolving partnership responsible for paying the debts and settling the accounts of the partnership.

Lis Pendens
(lease pen-denz) (1) Latin for "a suit pending." The term may refer to any pending lawsuit. (2) A written notice that a lawsuit has been filed concerning real estate, involving either the title to the property or a claimed ownership interest in it. The notice is usually filed in the county land records office. Recording a lis pendens alerts a potential purchaser or lender that the propertys title is in question, which makes the property less attractive to a buyer or lender. After the notice is filed, anyone who nevertheless purchases the land or property described in the notice takes it subject to the ultimate decision of the lawsuit.

Listed Property
Certain types of depreciable assets used in a business for which the IRC requires special record keeping to prorate personal and business use. These assets are prone to being used for personal use, such as cellular phones, home-based computers, boats, airplanes, and vehicles.

Literary Works
One of the broad categories of material protected under the copyright laws. Literary works are expressed in words, numbers, or other verbal or numerical symbols or indicia. Under this broad definition, software -- because it is expressed in programming code in numbers and letters -- is considered a copyrightable literary work.

Litigant
Any party to a lawsuit. This might include a plaintiff, defendant, petitioner, respondent, cross-complainant, or cross-defendant, but not a witness or attorney.

Litigation
The process of bringing and pursuing (litigating) a lawsuit.

Litigator
A trial lawyer; an attorney who represents plaintiffs or defendants in court.

Litigious
Description of a person or company with a disposition toward bringing or prolonging lawsuits, even if the suits are unnecessary, unfounded, or largely retaliatory.

Living Trust
A trust that is set up during a person's life. Living trusts are a common and excellent way to avoid probate at death, and may also reduce federal estate tax. Also called "inter vivos trust." (See also: revocable living trust, testamentary trust)

Living Will
A legal document in which you state your wishes about the types of medical care you do or do not want if you are unable to speak for yourself. This document may go by many other names, including health care directive, advance directive, declaration, or directive to physicians.

LLC
See: limited liability company

LLP
See: limited liability partnership

Loan Broker
A person or entity that specializes in matching homebuyers with appropriate mortgage lenders. Loan brokers (also known as mortgage brokers) make most of their money by marking up the costs on the loan the wholesale lender is offering. Loan brokers provide an easy and effective way to find the cheapest mortgage rates, given the borrower's financial situation and goals. Many states require loan brokers to be licensed.

Loan Consolidation
Combining a number of loans into a single new loan. Consolidation typically extends the repayment period, lowers the monthly payments, and thereby increases the interest the borrower will have to pay over the life of the consolidated loan.

Local Rules
See: rules of court

Locus
(low-cuss) Latin for "place," or the location where something occurred.

Loiter
To linger or hang around in a public place with no purpose. Many states and cities have laws that prohibit loitering.

Loitering
A crime best understood as just hanging out.

Long Cause
A lawsuit in which it is estimated that the trial will take more than one day to complete, and must be fitted into the court calendar accordingly.

Long-Arm Statute
A law that gives a court jurisdiction over a nonresident company or individual who has had sufficient contacts with the jurisdiction to warrant being subject to its laws.

Loss
1) The value placed on injury or damages due to an accident caused by another's negligence, breach of contract, or other wrongdoing. The amount of monetary damages can be determined in a lawsuit. 2) When expenses are greater than profits, the difference between the amount of money spent and the income.

Loss Carryover
See: carryover

Loss Damage Waiver (LDW)
See: collision damage waiver

Loss Of Bargain Rule
The concept that the amount of damages to be paid to a party in a breach of contract case should be sufficient to put that party in the position that it would have been in if the contract had been fully performed by both parties.

Loss Of Consortium
A type of legal claim made by a spouse when the other spouse has been injured to a point of being unable to provide the benefits of a family relationship, including intimacy, affection, company, and sexual relations.

Loss Of Use
The inability to use an automobile, premises, or some equipment due to damage caused by the negligence or wrongdoing of another. This concept may entitle claimants to damages. For example, during the period of non-occupancy while a burned building is restored, the regular occupant has lost its use and may be entitled to compensation for the days he or she must live or work elsewhere.

Loving V. Virginia (1967)
The U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down as unconstitutional laws prohibiting interracial marriage.

Low-Profit Limited Liability Company (L3C)
A company organized to perform services or engage in activities that benefit the public. Unlike a nonprofit, an L3C is operated like a regular profit-making business and is allowed to make a profit as a secondary goal. A small but growing number of states -- including Illinois, Michigan, Utah, Vermont, and Wyoming -- have passed legislation allowing L3Cs.

Lower Court
1) Any court of relatively lesser rank, such as municipal or justice court below a superior or county court, a superior or county court below an appeals court, or a federal district court of appeals below the U.S. Supreme Court. 2) A reference in an appeal to the trial court that originally heard the case.

LRE
See: least restrictive environment

LULAC
The short name for a 1993 class-action lawsuit called League of United Latin American Citizens ("LULAC") v. INS. The plaintiffs were undocumented people who had tried to apply for amnesty under the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) based on their "continuous unlawful presence" in the United States since 1982, but were told by immigration authorities that, because they'd taken a brief trip abroad and returned with facially valid documentation, they'd broken the continuity of their unlawful stay and didn't qualify for amnesty. After many appeals, the issue was ultimately resolved in the immigrants' favor through passage of the LIFE Act.