From a Shakespeare line to a Churchill jibe, Derek Inkpin from local solicitors Wiseman Lee has no objection to a few good lawyer jokes. Does he have a good sense of humour? You can be the judge of that
Shakespeare’s plays, as we know, are full of phrases which over 400 years later are still used in common speech. One of the memorable lines from Henry VI, Part 2 is from the mouth of Dick ‘The Butcher’, who suggests one of the ways to improve the prospects of pretenders achieving the throne: “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.”
Perhaps he was thinking that lawyers maintain the privilege of the wealthy and powerful when, in the face of a violent mob, lawyers stand in their way seeking to protect the rule of law.
Jokes or insults about lawyers seem to have been with us for as long as the law has existed. I would be struggling to think of anything funny to say about accountants or architects, but for solicitors and barristers, the world is awash. How many lawyers does it take to change a light bulb? How many can you afford?
Or from yesteryear: after the freshly acquitted horse thief pleaded with the judge for an arrest warrant “for that dirty lawyer of mine,” the explanation was: “Your Honour, you see I didn’t have the money to pay his fee, so he went and took the horse I stole.”
Then there are the old ones. What is the difference between a catfish and a lawyer? One is a scum-sucking-bottom-feeding scavenger. The other is a fish. And, why don’t sharks eat lawyers? Professional courtesy.
Or from the USA: Lawyer: “I have some good news for you.” Client: “What good news? You lost my case, I was convicted of a murder I did not commit and was sentenced to die in the electric chair?” Lawyer: “That’s all true, but I got the voltage lowered.”
And so it goes on. Someone mistakenly left the cages of the reptile house open in the zoo and there were snakes slithering everywhere. The keeper tried frantically to get them back in their cages. Finally, he yelled: “Quick, call a lawyer. We need someone who speaks their language.”
What’s the difference between a good lawyer and a bad lawyer? A bad lawyer might let a case drag on for several years. A good lawyer knows how to make it last even longer.
There are hundreds of these humorous (?) contributions, but I think in my next life, I will choose another job and avoid being the butt of everybody’s jokes and even Winston Churchill’s jibe: “Lawyers occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.”
Wiseman Lee is located at 9–13 Cambridge Park, Wanstead, E11 2PU. For more information, call 020 8215 1000