The sort of word-usage question that gets under my skin.

December 1st, 2009

What with being a wordsmith maven obsessive, and all.

US lawyer charged over $1bn Ponzi fraud scheme

A former lawyer based in South Florida has been charged with operating a $1bn (£603m) investment fraud scheme. . . .

So . . . what does it take to become a “former” lawyer? Disbarment? Stopped practicing? Took up another profession? Renounced the law?
Since the source is the BBC, maybe this is a case of being divided by a common language, but I can’t recall a lawyer ever being described this way. You become a lawyer, you’re “a lawyer” even after you stop practicing. It’s like describing Gerald Ford as “from Michigan.” Didn’t matter that he was born in Nebraska, didn’t matter where he lived later in life — he was always “from Michigan.”

Thoughts, gentle wordfolk?

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