Specialising in stupidity

Tulkinghorn must thank the anonymous caller who last week rang to complain about The Lawyer's use of language. No, our reporters have not been caught in the City bad-mouthing all and sundry, spraying abusive graffiti on the walls of Clifford Chance, or leaving drunken messages on senior partners' voicemails. Absolutely not.

So what gross libel has The Lawyer committed? Well actually, none. Our Mr Disgruntled from Dagenham rang to complain about the use of the word "specialism" in the table of new silks on page two of last week's edition. He called it the "cannibalisation of our beautiful English language", and even used that horrific phrase "Americanisation".

However, Mr Disgruntled should, perhaps, be renamed Mr Ignoramus as the word specialism is defined in The Oxford English Dictionary as, and Tulkinghorn quotes, "a specialized area of study or work", with no hint of it having anything to do with our friends across the pond.

Tulkinghorn would think that if a five-minute section of the timesheet could remain blank in order to make such an important phonecall, then another five seconds spent looking up the word in a dictionary could also be spared. After all, it would have been worth it in order to spare oneself from the sheer horror and indignity of appearing not only as anally retentive but rather ill-informed at that. So there.