It’s a deceptively simple question, and I imagined the answer was either “yes” or “no”, perhaps with caveats depending on the type of case or the make-up of the jury or some other variable I would soon discover. In fact, the answer is far more complex and, I think, more interesting.
First though, it’s important to explain what I mean by “big words.” Legal discourse is so different from standard English (or any other language) that it has its own name: legalese. Legalese is an arcane portmanteau that borrows words from Latin and the far reaches of several other contemporary (and even borderline extinct) languages.
More about sounding smart with sounding stodgy here: