Let Bull Translate Some Tricky Legal Lingo For You

Could you talk your way out of anything like Bull? If so, you'll need to know how to speak his language. Here's your guide! Watch all new episodes of Bull on Tuesdays at 9/8c on CBS and CBS All Access.

Dr. Jason Bull talks the talk that lets his clients walk

Dr. Jason Bull talks the talk that lets his clients walk

As the nation's foremost jury consultant, Dr. Jason Bull (Michael Weatherly) is masterful in his ability to read others—which is why you want his Trial Analysis Corporation on your side. But in order for his skills to translate, he also has to translate some tricky courtroom lingo. Could you talk your way out of anything like Bull? If so, you'll need to know how to speak his language. Here's your guide!

STREAM: Full Episodes Of Bull On CBS All Access

Watch all new episodes of Bull on Tuesdays at 9/8c on CBS and CBS All Access.
Cui bono?

Cui bono?

Term: Cui bono?

Term: Cui bono?

Translation from Latin: For whose benefit?

This phrase is a key forensic question in both police and legal investigation. Literally asking who benefits from the crime, the adage suggests that the person truly guilty of the crime can be found amongst those who have the most to gain.

In "The Fall," Bull represents a skydiving company after the Governor of Connecticut dies when his parachute fails. If the governor died from the fall, why does the TAC suspect their client's being scapegoated? Cui bono?

STREAM: "The Fall" (Episode 13, Season 1 of Bull) on CBS All Access
In camera

In camera

Term: In camera

Term: In camera

Translation from Latin: In chambers

Referring to the use of a private meeting space, usually the judge's office, any actions or conversations held in camera deliberately avoid open court to avoid tainting the jury or revealing certain types of confidential information.

In Bull's premiere episode, "The Necklace," a photo of the defendant and the victim is leaked to the press. As a result of its damning nature, the defendant's father and lawyer meet in camera to make a plea deal. See the incriminating photo for yourself and decide if it would change your opinion.

STREAM: "The Necklace" (Episode 1, Season 1 of Bull) on CBS All Access
Pro bono

Pro bono

Term: Pro bono

Term: Pro bono

Translation from Latin: For the public good

Pro bono can refer to any professional work that is done voluntarily or without payment, but is often associated with its use in the legal world. Many law firms make a charitable commitment to providing a certain number of hours to the community each year.

In "Unambiguous," Bull represents a young woman accused of murdering her rapist, taking on the case pro bono. After an interview with a podcaster about her upcoming trial is edited to paint the real victim as the killer, everyone assumes she must be guilty—but why doesn't Bull?

STREAM: "Unambiguous" (Episode 3, Season 1 of Bull) on CBS All Access
Non compos mentis

Non compos mentis

Term: Non compos mentis

Term: Non compos mentis

Translation from Latin: Not of sound mind

A defendant's mental state can play into several aspects of a trial, and as a result the significance of being non compos mentis can vary a bit by jurisdiction and situation. A colloquial "temporary insanity" defense could argue that the defendant wasn't of sound mind when an incident occurred. There can also be a consideration over whether a defendant is competent to stand trial if they have an active psychiatric issue.

In "Make Me," Bull intends to prove his college student client who murdered his father was non compos mentis due to hypnosis—until the TAC discovers game changing new evidence. Find out what Chunk Palmer unearthed in "Make Me."

STREAM: "Make Me" (Episode 20, Season 1 of Bull) on CBS All Access
Pro se

Pro se

Term: Pro se

Term: Pro se

Translation from Latin: For oneself

Appearing pro se means choosing to represent yourself, speaking on your own behalf in the courtroom instead of working through an attorney. It is sometimes used interchangeably with pro per, an abbreviated version of "propria persona" (yet another way of saying "for oneself").

When renowned attorney Jules Caffrey is charged with murdering his fiancee in "Bring It On," Bull steps in to help. The lawyer wants to appear in court pro se. This risky move, coupled with Caffrey's penchant for courtroom theatrics, puts Bull's skill to the test.

STREAM: "Bring It On" (Episode 19, Season 1 of Bull) on CBS All Access
Malum in se

Malum in se

Term: Malum in se

Term: Malum in se

Translation from Latin: Wrong (or evil) in itself

Actions that are malum in se are inherently wrong by nature—no matter what the law says.

In "Callisto", a young genius is charged with patent infringement after developing a better drug to treat her baby sister's disease. Bull takes on her case—wouldn't letting her sister die have been malum in se

STREAM: "Callisto" (Episode 4, Season 1 of Bull) on CBS All Access
Voir Dire

Voir Dire

Term: Voir dire

Term: Voir dire

Translation from French (sort of): Speak the truth

Unlike many courtroom terms that come straight from Latin, voir dire evolved from Latin's verum dicere to French before settling in as the term we hear often in Bull. As a result, a modern French speaker would be forgiven if they thought it odd that somebody would "view all" or "to see to speak." It really refers to making an oath, or literally "to speak the truth."

The voir dire process is one of the most critical aspects of Dr. Bull's job. In this step of jury selection, lawyers ask jurors questions under oath—eliciting responses that will help them (and Dr. Bull) determine who to strike from the jury pool.

Watch Bull master voir dire and refresh your courtroom lingo by streaming full episodes of Bull on CBS All Access!

Watch all new episodes of Bull on Tuesdays at 9/8c on CBS and CBS All Access.