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e.g. principle, consideration, jurisdiction
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quid pro quo noun


something for something, signifying an equal exchange or substitution that one makes with another in return for something done, given or promised
For bribery there must be a quid pro quo -- a specific intent to give or receive something of value in exchange for an official act.

Hello, I'm Robin and I'd like to welcome you back to TransLegal's Lesson of the Week.

Today we're going to talk about the Latin phrase "quid pro quo". Now quid pro quo literally means something for something and it's an equal exchange or substitution that a person makes with another in return for something done, given or promised.

Even though we often try to avoid Latin phrases in modern legal English, this is a very useful phrase because the closest English equivalent is "tit-for-tat" which is only appropriate in very informal contexts. The concept is also expressed in the phrase "if you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" but that is obviously inappropriate in formal legal proceedings.

Now in the contract-law context, quid pro quo signifies what each party to an agreement expects from the other, which is also known as mutual consideration.

We also this term in criminal law. For instance, for the crime of bribery there must be a quid pro quo. That is, a specific intent to give or receive something of value in exchange for an official act.

Now while the quid pro quo concept is sometimes viewed negatively as in the bribery instance that I gave you, it's not always the case. In financial circles, the term is typically used to describe a mutual agreement in which each party provides a good or service in return for another good or service. One example, in the securities industry, is what is called a "soft dollar agreement". In a soft dollar agreement, one firm such as institutional investor provides orders to a brokerage firm as a quid pro quo for in-depth research from the brokerage firm. This exchange of services is used as consideration instead of a tradition hard dollar payment.

Now we hear this phrase in the following contexts as well. For instance, "They've called off their campaign as a quid pro quo for the other party accepting the need for legislation". Another example would be "Investing in the newspaper was seen as part of a quid pro quo arrangement for receiving tax benefits". We also hear it in a sentence like "He put money into the business on a quid pro quo basis".

Now the plural form is as simple as quid pro quos.

Now, I'm going to offer you a quid pro quo. If you leave a comment in the box below when I finish, I promise to be back with yet another interesting lesson. Thanks for listening today.

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