Here are definitions of some interesting legal terms from Webster's Unabridged Dictionary
- Barratry: "The practice of exciting and encouraging lawsuits and quarrels."
- Champerty: "The prosecution or defense of a suit, whether by furnishing money or personal services, by one who has no legitimate concern therein, in consideration of an agreement that he shall receive, in the event of success, a share of the matter in suit; maintenance with the addition of an agreement to divide the thing in suit."
- Maintenance: "An officious or unlawful intermeddling in a cause depending between others, by assisting either party with money or means to carry it on."
It is not difficult to find examples of these practices nowadays, in the shysters soliciting bankruptcy, personal injury, or DWI clients on TV; in the contigent fee arrangement so common in personal injury cases; and in the myriad organizations whose names end with the words Defense Fund
. In more civilized times, such practices were frowned on.