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).
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?