A lawyer walks into a bar…

January 7, 2009
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Stop me if you’ve heard this one: How many personal injury lawyers does it take to change a light bulb? The answer: Three – one to change the light bulb, one to destabilize the ladder, and one to sue the ladder manufacturer.

The joke above comes from my new 2009 desk calendar: “Lawyers: Jokes, Quotes, and Anecdotes.” It’s filled with other jokes that take a crack at the profession, along with quotes from the movies or real people about attorneys, and excerpts from actual court records.

I can think of no other profession besides car salesman, or perhaps clergyman, that has as many jokes made at its expense as the legal profession. The calendar got me thinking about why that is and what makes these jokes funny. Is it because there’s a hint of truth to them or that they play into the stereotype the general public has about lawyers?

At what point in our society did lawyers get a bad rap and jokes about them become funny? I’ve found some of the quotes in this calendar go back to the mid 19th century. I’ve heard or read numerous jokes about lawyers, and I usually laugh at them. How do you, as members of the legal profession, feel about lawyer jokes?

Here are a few more for your enjoyment:

Why is money green? A: Because attorneys pick it when it’s ripe.

What do you call a criminal lawyer? A: Self-aware.

Did you hear the one about the big-shot attorney who broke off his engagement after six months? He sent his ex-fiancée an invoice for 4,572 billable hours.
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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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