Some years ago I was teaching a large survey course in Canadian Legal History. I decided it would be an unconventional but effective ice-breaker if I told the class that I was expecting them to come prepared to share their favorite lawyer joke at the beginning of each class, and if they didn’t cooperate, I would share with them the most painful, cringe-worthy lawyer joke I knew instead. It took only one such example for them to embrace the idea, and for the rest of the semester we opened each class with a new joke. At the end of our fifth or sixth class, however, a very earnest student came up to me and asked me pointedly why I was encouraging the denigration of such a noble profession, particularly given that we had all chosen to pursue this field.
I admit I was a bit gobsmacked by this. Flabbergasted. Slack-jawed, even. After a few seconds of awkward silence, I answered something like this: “Our much-maligned profession has been the butt of jokes since time immemorial. While we can console ourselves with the knowledge that this is obviously the result of jealousy on the part of everyone else, the fact remains that lawyer jokes will live on regardless of whether we tell them or not. But it’s important to remember: if you can’t laugh at yourself….someone else will be only too glad to do it for you.” This seemed to mollify her a bit.
Anyway, here are some of my favorites. If you have any suggestions for additions, please let me know. And if you’re a lawyer, please don’t charge your clients for the time spent reading these.
Did you hear about the crook who was having a rough time getting an attorney to represent him? Every time an attorney learned that he hadn’t stolen the money he was charged with, the attorney quit!
“God works wonders now and then; Behold! a lawyer, an honest man.” — Benjamin Franklin
Did you hear about the lawyer whose firm had so few clients that he divorced his wife just so he would have a case?
What do you call 10,000 lawyers at the bottom of the ocean? A good start.
What’s the difference between a lawyer and a vampire bat? One is a bloodsucking parasite, and the other is a mouse-like creature with wings.
What’s the difference between a lawyer and a catfish? One is a bottom-feeding scavenger, and the other is a fish.
A neighborhood church-run food panty realized it had never received a cent from the town’s wealthiest citizen, a lawyer. The minister in charge of the food pantry decided to call on him to see if they could persuade him to contribute. “With all the success you’ve had, and all the blessings bestowed upon you, wouldn’t you like to give back to the community to aid those less fortunate?”, asked the minister. “It certainly appears you can afford it.”
“Oh yes?”, said the lawyer. “Well, were you aware that my mother is dying from a long, painful illness, and has racked up medical bills far in excess of her savings?”
“Ah, no, I wasn’t”, said the minister.
“Or that my brother, who is a disabled veteran, is blind, confined to a wheelchair, and depends on others for all of his daily needs?”, continued the lawyer.
“No, I didn’t realize that”, said the minister, growing embarrassed.
“Well, did you know that my sister’s husband died tragically in a car accident, at the hands of a drunk driver? And that he left her penniless with four children to support?!!”, thundered the lawyer, his face flushed with anger.
Abashed, the minister hung his head and mumbled, “no…I had no idea…I’m so sorry….”
At this the lawyer stood up. “Well”, he said, “if I don’t give any money to them, then what makes you think I should give any to you?”
A doctor on vacation in the Caribbean ran into an old lawyer he knew and asked him what he was doing there. Said the lawyer, “Well, I bought some lousy real estate in Florida, but it caught fire, and I spent the fire insurance proceeds on this fabulous vacation. What about you?” Said the doctor, “I had a similar experience. I had some lousy real estate in Louisiana, and it flooded, so I treated myself to a well-earned vacation using the flood insurance proceeds.” At this the lawyer looked confused. “Gosh,” he asked. “How did you manage to start a flood?”
What’s the difference between a lawyer and a vulture? Lawyers accumulate frequent flyer points.
A successful London barrister went duck hunting in rural Scotland. He shot a bird, which inconveniently dropped onto a farmer’s field on the other side of a fence. As the barriester climbed over the fence to retrieve it, an elderly farmer drove by on his tractor, stopped, and asked the barrister what he was doing.
“I shot a duck and it fell into this field, and I’m going to retrieve it”, said the barrister.
Replied the farmer, “This is my property, and I’ll not allow you to trespass on it.”
The indignant barrister replied, “I’m one of the most successful barristers in London, and if you don’t let me retrieve that duck, I’ll take legal action against you the moment I return back to my office.”
The old farmer smiled and said, “No reason for such unpleasantness. For centuries we’ve settled small disagreements like this with the Scottish Three Kick Rule.”
“The Scottish Three Kick Rule? What’s that?”, asked the barrister.
Said the farmer, “Well, first I kick you three times, and then you kick me three times, and so on, back and forth. The person who gives up first loses the disagreement.”
The barrister sized-up the old farmer and quickly decided that he could easily take him in such a contest. “I agree to abide my your quaint local custom”, said the barrister.
The old farmer slowly got down from his tractor and walked up to the barrister. The first kick of his heavy work boot hit squarely in the barrister’s groin, which dropped him to his knees in agony. The second kick to his head levelled him completely. The third kick, aimed precisely at his kidney, almost caused the barrister to cry out for mercy, but he willed himself not to. The barrister slowly and painfully righted himself, gasping for breath through teeth clenched in pain. “Okay, old man, now it’s my turn”, said the barrister.
The old farmer smiled and said, “Naw, I give up. You can keep the duck.”
A man died and was taken to a place of eternal torment by the Devil. As he passed raging pits of fire and shrieking sinners writhing in agony, he saw a man he recognized as a lawyer snuggling up to a beautiful woman. “That’s unfair!”, the man cried. “I have to spend all eternity in these fire pits of damnation, yet that lawyer gets to spend it with a beautiful woman!”. “Shut up!”, barked the Devil, jabbing the man with his pitchfork. “It’s not up to you to question that woman’s punishment!”
Satan appeared to an attorney and offered him all the wordly wealth and pleasures he could imagine, if only he would sign over his eternal soul and those of his wife and children. The attorney thought about it for a few minutes and finally said, “okay, I give up– what’s the catch?”
What do you get when you cross the Godfather with a lawyer? An offer you can’t understand.
Lawyer: “Your Honor, I wish to appeal my client’s case on the basis of newly discovered evidence.” Judge: “And what is the nature of the new evidence?” Lawyer: “I have discovered that my client still has money.”
Two pre-schoolers overheard at the playground. “My name is Johnny. What’s yours?”, asked the first boy. “Tommy”, replied the second. “My daddy’s a doctor. What does your daddy do?’, asked Johnny. “My daddy’s a lawyer”, answered Tommy. “Honest?”, asked Johnny. “No, just the regular kind”, replied Tommy.
Diogenes went to look for an honest lawyer. “How’s it going?”, someone asked. “Not too bad”, said Diogenes. “I still have my lantern.”
What’s the definition of ‘mixed emotions’? Watching your lawyer drive over a cliff in your new car.
An attorney was on vacation in the tropics. While he walking through a small town a car accident occured which quickly drew the attention of a large crowd. Running to the scene of the accident, the attorney was unable to make his way past the crowd until inspiration hit: He began yelling “let me through, let me through! I’m the victim’s son”. The crowd made room for him to get past, allowing the attorney to reach the victim: a donkey.
A doctor and attorney were chatting at a party. During the course of their conversation, they were constantly interrupted by party-goers who described their ailments and asked the doctor for medical advice. After an hour of this, the exasperated doctor said to the lawyer, “This is driving me crazy. Do you have a similar problem? How do you stop people from pestering you for free legal advice when you’re in public?” Replied the lawyer, “It does happen to me, and my solution is to give it to them….and then I send them a bill. Works like a charm.” The doctor was shocked, but upon reflection decided to give it a try. The next day, still feeling slightly guilty, he went to place the bills he had prepared in his mailbox– only to find a bill from the lawyer.
A man walks into a lawyer’s office. “I have a problem with my neighbor. But before we talk about that, I need to know: how much do you charge?”
Says the lawyer, “well, I have a very simple fee structure. You pay me $5000, and you can ask me three questions.”
“$5000 for three questions? That seems awfully steep”, says the potential client.
“Yes”, says the lawyer. “Now, what’s your third question?”
There’s an interesting new novel about two ex-convicts. One of them studies to become a lawyer, the other decides to go straight.
What’s the difference between an attorney and a pit bull? Jewelry!
Changing lawyers is a lot like moving to a different deck chair on the Titanic.
Two men named George and Harry set out in a hot air balloon to cross the Atlantic Ocean. After 37 hours in the air, George says “Harry, we better lose some altitude so we can see where we are”. Harry lets out some of the hot air in the balloon, and the balloon descends to below the cloud cover. George says, “I still can’t tell where we are, lets ask that guy on the ground”. So they descend further, and Harry yells down to the man “Excuse me, could you tell us where we are?” The man on the ground yells back “You’re in a balloon, 100 feet up in the air”. George turns to Harry and says “That man must be a lawyer”. And Harry says “Why do you say that?”, George asks. “Because the advice he gave us is 100% accurate, and yet totally useless”.
The man called back up to the balloon, “You must be a legal client.” George yelled back, “Why do you say that?” “Well,” the man replied, “you don’t know where you are, or where you are going. You got into your predicament through a lack of planning, and could have avoided it by asking for help before you acted but you expect me to provide you with instant information if not a solution. The fact is you are in the exact same position you were in before we met, but now it is somehow my fault.”
An associate was sent abroad to represent a long-term client accused of robbery. After days of trial, the case was won, the client acquitted and released. The associated immediately emailed his managing partner: “Justice prevailed!”. The partner emailed back: “Appeal immediately.”
Q: How many lawyers does it take to roof a house? A: That depends on how thin you slice them.
“A lawyer is a gentleman who rescues your estate from your enemies and keeps it for himself.” - Lord Brougham
A man arrested for embezzling millions of dollars went to a criminal lawyer. The lawyer told him, “Don’t worry about it– you’ll never go to jail with all that money.” And of course he was right– when the man went to prison, he didn’t have a dime!
A man walks into a post office in early February to mail a package. As he is waiting in line, he sees a middle-aged woman standing at a counter, methodically placing “love” stamps on a huge stack of envelopes with hearts all over them. She then takes out a perfume bottle and generously spritzes the stack of envelopes. Intrigued, the man says to her, “you must have a lot of boyfriends!” “No”, says the woman, “I’m just mailing out 1,000 Valentine Day’s cards signed ‘guess who?’”. “Why on earth would you do that?”, asks the man. Replies the woman, “I’m a divorce lawyer.”
A career pickpocket was in court, charged with several counts of larceny. After accepting his plea of not guilty, the presiding judge set the pickpocket’s bail at $1000 pending trial. “Your honor”, said his lawyer, “my client cannot possibly come up with that amount at this time, but if you’d allow him just a few minutes to mingle with the crowd…..”
An independent woman started her own business. She was shrewd and diligent, so business kept growing. After a short time she realized she needed an in-house counsel, and so she began interviewing young lawyers. “As I’m sure you can appreciate,” she started off with one of the first applicants, “in a business like this, our personal integrity must be beyond question.” She leaned forward. “Mr. Smith, are you an ‘honest’ lawyer?”
“Honest?” replied the candidate. “Let me tell you something about honesty. Why, I’m so honest that my dad lent me one hundred thousand dollars for my education and I paid back every penny with interest the minute I defended my very first client.”
“Impressive. And what sort of case was that?”
Mr. Smith squirmed uncomfortably in his seat: ”Well, my dad sued me for the money.”
Top 5 Warning Signs that you Might Need a New Criminal Lawyer:
#1: Your lawyer tells you that his last good case was of Budweiser.
#2: When the prosecutors see your lawyer, they high-five each other.
#3: Your lawyer picks the jury by playing “duck-duck-goose.”
#4: Your lawyer tells you that he has never told a lie.
#5: A prison guard is shaving your head.
A defense lawyer successfuly defends a major organized crime figure on charges related to distributing narcotics, murder, attempted murder, racketeering, and extortion. As he is leaving the courtroom for his press conference, an indignant older woman accosts him: “Sir, have you no decency? is there anyone you wouldn’t defend?” Replies the lawyer, “I don’t know…why, what you have done?”
Q:Why does California have the most attorneys in the U.S., and New Jersey the most toxic waste dumps? A: Because New Jersey had the first pick.
Q: What happens to a lawyer who jumps out of a plane at 35,000 feet without a parachute? A: Who cares?
A man walking on the beach came across an odd-looking bottle. Not being one to ignore tradition, he rubbed it and, much to his surprise, a genie appeared. “For releasing me from my captivity in the bottle, I will grant you three wishes,” said the genie, ”However, there’s a catch– for each of your three wishes, every lawyer in the world will receive double what you ask for.” The man thought for a moment, and wished for a Ferrari. In a puff of smoke a beautiful red Ferrari appeared in front of him. ”Now, every lawyer in the world has been given two Ferraris,” said the genie. “What is your next wish?” Said the man, “I wish for a million dollars,” and the money likewise appeared before him in a puff of smoke. ”Now, every lawyer in the world has two million dollars,” said the genie, “And what is your third wish?” The lucky man thought for a minute and said, “Well genie, I’ve always wanted to donate a kidney.”
Santa Claus, the tooth fairy, and honest lawyer, and an old drunk were walking along when they simultaneously spotted a hundred dollar bill lying in the street. Question: Who gets it? Answer: The old drunk, of course, as the other three are mythical creatures. (thanks to my friend J. Costello for passing this one along)
Q: What do you get when you cross a lawyer with a demon from hell? A: The same thing you had before.
The trouble with the legal profession is that 99% of its members give the rest a bad name.
If I had but one life to give for my country, it would be my lawyer’s.
The problem with lawyer jokes is that lawyers don’t think they’re funny, and no-one else things they’re jokes!
“It is interesting to note that criminals have multiplied of late, and lawyers have also; but I repeat myself.” –Mark Twain
Did you hear about the terrorists who took a whole courtroom full of lawyers hostage? They threatened to release one every hour until their demands were met.
Q: How many lawyers does it take to stop a speeding bus? A: never enough.
Q: why do the rules of professional responsibility prohibit sexual relations between a lawyer and a client? A: to prevent a client from being charged twice for essentially the same service.
Q: Why do lawyers make so much money? A: I’ll tell you as soon as I finish completing your bill for the punchline.
A jury is a collection of people banded together to decide who hired the better lawyer.
A physician, an engineer, and an attorney were discussing who among them belonged to the oldest of the three professions represented. The physician said, “Remember that, on the sixth day, God took a rib from Adam and fashioned Eve, making him the first surgeon. Therefore, medicine is the oldest profession.” The engineer replied, “But, before that, God created the heavens and earth from chaos and confusion, and thus he was the first engineer. Therefore, engineering is an older profession than medicine.” Then, the lawyer spoke up, “Yes, but who do you think created all of the chaos and confusion?”
Did you hear about the new sushi bar that caters exclusively to lawyers? It’s called Sosumi.
One morning at the law office, one attorney looked at the other and said, “Wow, you look really terrible this morning.” The other lawyer replied, “I woke up with a headache this morning and, no matter what I take, I can’t seem to get rid of it.” The first lawyer told him, “Whenever I get a headache like that, I take a few hours off during the day, go home, and make love to my wife. Works every time.” Later that afternoon, the two lawyers met again. The first says, ”Hye, you must have taken my advice. You look much better.” “I am”, says the other, “and thanks for that great advice you gave me. By the way, you have a beautiful house.”
Two friends bumped into each other outside of court one day. “I hear you lost your court case,” said one. “Did your lawyer give you bad advice?” “No,” replied the other. “He charged me a lot for it.”
A police chief, a fire chief, and a city manager were traveling together by car to a municipal management conference in a distant city. Their car broke down in a rural area, and they were forced to seek shelter for the night at a nearby farmhouse. The farmer welcomed them in, but cautioned them that there were only two spare beds, and therefore one of them would have to sleep in the barn with the farm animals. After a short discussion, the police chief agreed to sleep in the barn. Shortly after retiring, a knock was heard on the door of the farmhouse. The party inside answered to find the police chief standing there, complaining that he could not sleep. There were pigs in the barn, he said, and he was reminded of the days when everyone called him a ‘pig’. The fire chief then volunteered to exchange with the police chief. A short time later, another knock was heard at the door. The fire chief complained that the cows in the barn reminded him of Mrs. O’Leary’s cow that started the Chicago fire, and that every time he started to go to sleep, he started to have a fireman’s worst nightmare, that of burning to death. The city attorney, in desperation for sleep, then agreed to sleep in the barn. This seemed like a good idea until a few minutes later, when another knock was heard at the door. When the occupants answered the door, there stood the very indignant cows and pigs.
Q. What’s the difference between a lawyer and a vulture? A. Lawyers accumulate frequent flyer points.
Two lawyers walking through the woods spotted a vicious-looking bear. The first lawyer immediately opened his briefcase, pulled out a pair of sneakers and started putting them on. The second lawyer looked at him and said, “You’re crazy! You’ll never be able to outrun that bear!” “I don’t have to,” the first lawyer replied. “I only have to outrun you.”
A paralegal, an associate and a partner of a large law firm are walking through a city park, when they spotted an antique oil lamp. The paralegal picked it up, but both the associate and partner grabbed for it, arguing that they found it first. Their tussling had the effect of jossling the lamp, and to their shock a Genie emerged in a great purple cloud of smoke. Said the Genie, “In gratitude of your freeing me from the lamp, I grant you three wishes. As there are three of you, you each get one wish.”
The paralegal blurted out, “I want to be in the Caribbean, sipping cocktails with a gorgeous movie star.” Poof! The paralegal’s wish was granted.
The associate stammered out, ”I want to be in Hawaii, relaxing on the beach with a professional hula dancer and an endless supply of Mai Tais.” Poof! The associate’s wish was likewise granted, and he disappeared instantly.
“It’s your turn,” the Genie said to the partner, “And what is your wish?”
The partner replied, “I want those two back in the office after lunch.”
A doctor told his patient that his test results indicated that she had a rare disease and had only six months to live.
“That’s so little time. Isn’t there anything I can do?” pleaded the patient.
“Marry a lawyer,” the doctor advised. “It will be the longest six months of your life.”
WHEN YOU NEED A REALLY GOOD LAWYER– Defendant: “Before I enter my plea, I would like to ask the court to appoint a lawyer to defend me.” Judge: “You were in the actual commission of a crime, with the stolen goods on you, a gun in your hand, and your victim on the floor. What could a lawyer possibly say in your defense?” Defendant: “That’s just it, your Honor…I too am very curious as to what he would possibly say.”