Checklist for being a plaintiffs’ lawyer

The site “Stuff Journalists Like” posted a (so-far) 20-point “Checklist for being a ‘real’ journalist.”  It’s hilarious in and of itself, but some of the items are really part of a longer “checklist for being a word nerd,” for example:

2.  Corrected a loved one’s grammar in a greeting card.

My mother (love ya mom!) really did this once!  My word-nerdiness is clearly genetic and I was doomed from the start, because both of my parents have/had this gene.   Also

8. Can no longer read a newspaper without scanning for typos and errors.

Hell, I can’t read typos and grammatical errors in anything without being deeply disturbed. And I have, within the past week (1) had a serious discussion about whether a comma following a case name was improperly italicized (you know who you are!), (2) pondered the conditions under which the word “id.” at the end of a sentence is preceded by a period and capitalized or preceded by a comma and in lower case; and (3) laughed derisively at the obvious line-spacing errors in my opponent’s brief (before, of course, realizing that the judge would not give a rat’s ass).

Italicized Comma vs. Not Italicized Comma

Here are a couple more that I think apply almost equally to plaintiffs’ lawyers:

3.  Replaced one of the major food groups with coffee.

I never did like fruit, and coffee occupies more of my diet than any food group but pasta and cheese.

5.  Eat in your car more often than you do at a table.

Replace “car” with “desk” and I’ll cop to that.

9.  Learned that being told to “fuck off” and “go to hell” is part of the job.

13.  Found that fine line between harassment and persistence.

Completely applicable to plaintiffs’ lawyers.  Like journalists, we often find ourselves needing to talk to people who don’t really want to talk to us.

10.  Woke in a cold sweat thinking you forgot to change the date on A1.

Just last night I woke up in the middle of the night — Tim can vouch for this — thinking that I never did review the final table of authorities in the brief we submitted on Thursday.  Luckily, our superhuman paralegal was in charge of it, so I slipped right back into a peaceful slumber.

17.  Have conducted a phone interview while completely naked.

Close:  I have often conducted legal research clothed only in a towel.  When you have good ideas in the shower, they really shouldn’t wait until you’re fully dressed to research them.  I have also edited a brief telephonically with co-counsel while walking the dogs and scooping up after them.

I had also previously suggested two “you might be a plaintiffs’ lawyer” conditions:  that your car is older then your paralegal; and when the skirts on the tables supporting the courtroom technology of your opposing counsel are nicer than the skirt you’re wearing.  What else, plaintiffs’ lawyers, should we add to our checklist?

4 thoughts on “Checklist for being a plaintiffs’ lawyer

  1. BlueLoom

    ::blushing deeply:: Yep, I remember the greeting card. It was a great card.

    You’re right about the genetics, tho. When I was a kid at sleep-away camp, my father (your grandfather) used to return the letters I had written home with the corrections he had made. I figured my parents were lucky that I ever wrote home again.

    Mentally edit the newspaper? Absolutely. Every freakin’ morning I have to correct all the typos and grammatical errors in the WaPo.

    Plaintiffs’ lawyer list: you know you’re a plaintiffs’ lawyer when any person in a black robe can deep-six your holiday plans by requiring that briefs be due on Dec. 22. . . or Dec. 26. What is it with these robes? Does donning a black robe rob you of all humanity?

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  2. Kevin Williams

    My sincerest apologies for the deep disturbances I have caused. Walgreens 1.5+’s are really helping. How about, “…when you take the outrageously offensive statements opposing counsel says in briefs about your clients, blow them up really big and hang them all over your office.” Or am I the only one who does this? I also like to do this when they get three really good adjectives together, as in “Plaintiffs’ counsel’s scurrilous, defamatory and and abusive statements must be. . . . .” I swear they still get paid by the f’in word.

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