Quid Pro Quo: Legal Definition & Examples

Instructor: Jessica Schubert

Jessica is a practicing attorney and has taught law and has a J.D. and LL.M.

This lesson will teach you what constitutes quid pro quo. You will learn the legal definition of the phrase. Thereafter, you will examine several examples to gain a greater understanding of what is meant by quid pro quo.

Legal Definition

Have you ever heard the phrase 'if you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours?' Well, this is a classic example of quid pro quo.

Quid pro quo is translated from Latin to 'something for something.' In the legal arena, the phrase means giving up something in order to get something in exchange. It can pop up in a few different places in the legal field, as listed below.

1.) Frequently, quid pro quo occurs in the contracts area where an individual gives up something, such as money, in exchange for something else, such as a service.

2.) Alternatively, quid pro quo is seen in the sexual harassment area, where a person is offered a position or promotion in exchange for sexual favors. The request is the proposition of a quid pro quo; the exchange is the quid pro quo.

3.) Moreover, the concept of quid pro quo emerges in criminal sentencing where criminals receive reduced criminal sentences in exchange for providing testimony against others.

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