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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  2. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  3. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  4. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  5. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

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