The last line of my "Lessons Learned from Law School" bit in the Stanford Lawyer is "I have learned that learning law irretrievably warps how you view the world."
I need to write another piece: "How To Tell You're Still a Lawyer Even Though You Haven't Practiced in Many, Many Years (Aside From the Nicely Framed Piece of Vellum Hanging on Your Wall)."
Also known as: "You may be a lawyer if..."
If the first words you say after tripping over a badly laid floor is "That's a tort waiting to happen."
If your son asks at dinner what the criminal culpability of the characters in Romeo and Juliet would be, and you find yourself wracking your brain to remember your first year criminal law so you can give him an accurate answer.*
If you watch cop shows to count the Fourth Amendment violations, and on the rare occasions when the characters do agonize about not having a warrant (which only seems to happen when someone is in danger) you find yourself screaming "Exigent circumstances, you morons!"
If one of the reasons you most like the Prop. 8 suit is that you can discuss standing without your friends' eyes glazing over.
If SCOTUSblog is the one non-social networking site you read most frequently, even if you tend to skip over the corporate and intellectual property law cases as being uninteresting.**
If you see your sons' old abandoned Winnie the Pooh books, and you idly wonder how many years are left on the copyright protections.
If you worry about whether the Wilfrid Owen poem that gets more hits than anything else in the five year history of your blog is in the public domain. (It is. I checked.)
If one of the most enjoyable things about talking with a lawyer is that you can discuss your interest in capital punishment and not have to define any terms.
If you actually care what Circuit federal appellate decisions come out of. (My own particular Circuits of interests are the Fifth, Ninth and Eleventh, mostly because either I or people I care about live in them.)
If you are grateful to the Westboro Baptist Church for anything.
If you find yourself writing about a legal decision "Aside from the outcome, I really liked this opinion."
If the incident report you file on a work-related accident includes any one sentence with more than three four-syllable words in it. Make that two.
And lastly, if you live in fear that some of the people you most disliked and least respected in law school will end up on the bench somewhere someday.
See? As I said, law school changes you forever.
*The one thing we agreed on was that the apothecary was probably guilty of assisted suicide. The Red-Headed Menace suggested that it was Romeo's fault, but I pointed out that since he was dead he couldn't be tried. We then discussed whether Friar Lawrence should have known what would happen and was guilty of involuntary manslaughter, but then also discussed whether he was guilty of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. I was greatly disappointed to find out that it was a school assignment, and that he was simply trying to pump me for information.
**Although if anyone can discuss the Costco case with me, I would appreciate it. Primarily because I shop a lot at Costco.