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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