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Amy Goodusky: Scholarly Survey Finds A Hungry Bunch Of Lawyers

, The Connecticut Law Tribune

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I have had my struggles with research engines. Possibly, their valve-cover gaskets need adjusting. Perhaps it's the differential. In any event, my last foray into the medical arena of research yielded surprising results. The article came up in a search about nursing care. This was the title: "Facial lesions in piglets with intact or grinded teeth."

It was published in a Scandinavian medical journal. Well, you know, what happens in Sweden …

The appearance of this unexpected article caused me to fold down the cover of my laptop and reach for the chocolate. After several Hershey's Kisses, I entered a state of temporary bliss, and began daydreaming about … research.

I've had a wonderful life. As a result, I have a very short bucket list. One of the items on it, however, is to publish a scholarly article, like the Scandinavian interloper discussed above. One of the first provisos of any type of writing is to confine oneself to subjects or things with which one is familiar. It would not do, for instance, to write about, say, iguanas, as I know nothing about them.

Immediately, I thought of lawyers. This should not be construed as an association of attorneys with reptiles, notwithstanding James Baldwin's admonition that to pursue any profession or calling is to suffer an intimate knowledge of its ugly side. With this in mind, I decided to make a tentative foray toward my goal. I would conduct a survey! Here are the results.

Materials and Methods: Telephone; pen; laptop; chocolate; calculator.

Study population: Attorneys with whom the author is acquainted, most of whom practice in Connecticut. Age range between 29 and 67. Approximately 69 percent of the respondents were male, and the remainder female.

Controls: Results were controlled for age, practice sector, gender, and willingness to speak to the writer. Subjects were promised anonymity, and results were discounted if the respondents appeared to be answering the questions just to mollify the researcher.

Funding: None. I will have to work on this.

Results: Of the surveyed population, 76.2 percent of the respondents favored coffee as their beverage of choice; 19.4 percent opted for alcohol of some description, with a strong gender- and age-related preference for beer (97.1 percent male, 81.3 percent under 65). Meanwhile, 2.1 percent stated a preference for lighter fluid (n:1), but this respondent was having a particularly bad day.

Snack food choices were widely distributed. About 45.3 percent of the attorneys surveyed preferred salty, cheesy or crispy snacks to facilitate brief-writing or other legal work. Some 3.2 percent selected raisins, dried fruit or granola, and tended not to practice in litigation. Thirty-six percent opted for chocolate or chocolate related food. The remaining 15.5 percent (n: 2) were equally divided in preferences for pizza and ice cream. This result had a strong correlation to type of law practiced; the pizza enthusiast's practice sector is criminal defense work. The lawyer who preferred ice cream does juvenile work.

Relaxation activities also spanned a broad spectrum. These results tended to break down along gender- and age-related lines. Lawyers with children preferred sleeping as their relaxation activity. Litigators, particularly male litigators, were not biased toward active sports, but instead tended to choose golf as an activity that helped them relax. An additional 3.1 percent (n:1) liked tennis; another 6.2 percent (n:2), when corrected for gender bias, chose knitting. There were other varied selections, including photography, ballroom dancing, flying a private plane (this respondent practices in the corporate sector) and one respondent selected coed naked Jello wrestling. This result was discounted as facetious, especially as his other responses also appeared to lack candor.

Conclusions: The attorneys surveyed indicated strong preferences for their selections, and were prepared to advocate for their choices. Most appeared to be willing participants, and to think carefully about the questions.

The results reflect the following scientific assessment: Whatever gets you through the night is all right.•

Amy F. Goodusky, a former paralegal, rock 'n' roll singer and horseback riding instructor, is of counsel at O'Brien, Tanski & Young in Hartford.

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