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Legal Humor – a Bit of Fun

Updated: Jun 25, 2021

Retirement Planning: If you had purchased $1000 of Nortel stock one year ago, it would now be worth $49.

With Enron, you would have $16 left of the original $1,000.

With WorldCom, you would have less than $5 left.

BUT, if you had purchased $1,000.00 worth of beer one year ago, drank all the beer, then turned in the cans for the aluminum recycling price, you would have $54.

Based on the above, current Milwaukee investment advice is to drink heavily and recycle.

It’s called the 401-Keg Plan.


An accountant and a lawyer bumped into each other in the elevator one evening, both heading home from work. The accountant said, “Nice weather we’re having, isn’t it?” As the attorney was about to reply, the accountant gasped and held up his hand. “Wait,” said the accountant. “Don’t answer that! I can’t afford the fee for your opinion.”


A local newspaper mistakenly printed an obituary for the town’s oldest practicing lawyer. He called them immediately and threatened to sue unless they printed a retraction. The next day, the following notice appeared: “We regret that the report of Attorney Smith’s death was in error.”


A small town prosecuting attorney called his first witness to the stand in a trial – a grandmotherly, elderly woman. He approached her and asked, “Mrs. Jones, do you know me?”

She responded, “Why, yes, I do know you Mr. Williams. I’ve known you since you were a young boy. And frankly, you’ve been a big disappointment to me. You lie, you cheat on your wife, you manipulate people and talk about them behind their backs. You think you’re a rising big shot when you haven’t the brains to realize you never will amount to anything more than a two-bit paper pusher. Yes, I know you.”

The lawyer was stunned. Not knowing what else to do he pointed across the room and asked, “Mrs. Williams, do you know the defense attorney?”

She again replied, “Why, yes I do. I’ve known Mr. Bradley since he was a youngster, too. I used to baby-sit him for his parents. And he, too, has been a real disappointment to me. He’s lazy, bigoted, he has a drinking problem. The man can’t build a normal relationship with anyone and his law practice is one of the shoddiest in the entire state. Yes, I know him.”

At this point, the judge rapped the courtroom to silence and called both counselors to the bench. In a very quiet voice, he said with menace, “If either of you asks her if she knows me, you’ll be in jail for contempt of court in a heartbeat!”


Will Rogers on Legal Writing: "The minute you read something and you can’t understand it, you can almost be sure that it was drawn up by a lawyer. Then if you give it to another lawyer to read and he don’t know just what it means, why then you can be sure it was drawn up by a lawyer. If it’s in a few words and is plain and understandable only one way, it was written by a non-lawyer. Every time a lawyer writes something, he is not writing for posterity, he is writing so that endless others of his craft can make a living out of trying to figure out what he said, ‘course perhaps he hadn’t really said anything, that’s what makes it hard to explain."


An attorney, new to town, sat down at the testimonial dinner honoring the local judge.

“Holy cow,” he said aloud to the lady seated next to him, “You mean to tell me that bald, pudgy, bucktoothed, ugly little man is Judge Widgens!?”

The lady fired him a withering look. “Young man,” she said, “Do you know who I am?”

“No,” replied the newcomer.

“I am Mrs. Widgens!”

“I see,” said the lawyer. “And do you, Mrs. Widgens, know who I am?”

“I most certainly do not!” said the Judge’s wife.

“We'll keep it that way” said the lawyer, and he hurriedly left the room.


The attorney, picking a jury, said to Mrs. Winters, “Ma’am, you’re the perfect person to sit on this jury. Yet you tell me you can’t do it. Why do you want me to dismiss you?”

She answered, “They don’t want me away from my job.”

“You mean they can’t get along without you for a few days?” he retorted.

“Oh, they can get along without me alright,” she answered. “I just don’t want them to realize it!”


A physician presented her bill to the probate court as the legal way to collect her fees from the deceased person’s estate. "Do you need me to swear to my bill?” the doctor asked of the clerk.

“No,” answered the clerk, “Death of the deceased is sufficient evidence that you attended him professionally.”


A doctor and a lawyer, who were friends, were chatting at a cocktail party. They were interrupted by a woman neither knew well, complaining to the doctor that her arm hurt. She explained the symptoms, and even rolled up her sleeve to have the doctor look at her arm. After she walked away, the doctor said to his friend, “I never know what to do in those situations! Do you think I should send her a bill?”

The lawyer thought about it, and said yes, it was appropriate to send a bill. The next day, the doctor had his nurse send the woman a bill and the lawyer had his secretary send the doctor a bill.


A young lawyer, starting up his private practice, was very anxious to impress potential clients. When he saw the first visitor to his office come through the door, he immediately picked up his phone and spoke into it,” I’m sorry, but my caseload is so tremendous that I’m not going to be able to look into your problem for at least a month. I’ll have to get back to you then.”

He then turned to the man who had just walked in, and said, “Now, what can I do for you?””

Nothing,” replied the man. “I’m here to hook up your phone.”


A sailor took the witness stand in the trial. “Would you please tell the court,” said the attorney, “if you recognize either the defendant or the plaintiff.”

"Beg pardon, sir,” said the sailor, “but I don’t know what those terms mean.”

The lawyer’s eyes narrowed. “Shame on you! How can you come to testify at an important trial and not even know those basic terms?”

“Sorry, sir.”

The lawyer said, “OK, where were you when the accused is said to have struck the victim?”

“Sir, I was abaft the binnacle,” said the sailor.

“What?! Where?” demanded the lawyer.

“Shame on you! How can you try a case about a boat and not know those basic terms?” said the sailor.

(Yes, I had to look up the terms, too. “Abaft” means “toward the stern from” and a “binnacle” is the casing that holds the ship’s compass.)


A Lawyer’s Dictionary of Medical Terminology

(this was given to me by a client, who is a Doctor)

Artery – Places for paintings and sculptures

Bacteria – Rear entrance to the cafeteria

Barium – What doctors do to patients who die

Bowel – Key letters sounding like a, e, i, o and u

Cat Scan – Feline survey followed by midnight yowling

Cauterize – Made eye contact at the cocktail party

Dilate – Live inordinately long

Ear – Where you now are

Enema – Not a friend

Fester – Quicker

GI Series – Military ball games

Impotent – Person worthy of attention

Kidney – Part of a child’s leg

Labor pain – Work injury generating Workmen S Comp

Morbid – A higher offer

Nitrates – Cheaper than day rates

Node – Finally realized it

Outpatient – Inpatient who has fainted

Postoperative – Letter carrier

Rectum – Dang near killed ’em

Terminal illness – Barfing at the airport

Tumor – Right after “one for the road”

Urine – Opposite of “You’re out”

Varicose – Quite nearby

Vein – Conceited


What do you have when you’ve got six lawyers buried up to their necks in sand? Not enough sand.

Why won’t sharks eat lawyers? Professional courtesy.

Why does New Jersey have so many toxic waste dumps and Washington D.C. has so many lawyers? New Jersey got first choice.


So the lawyer is cross-examining the doctor about whether or not he had checked the pulse of the deceased before he signed the death certificate. “No,” the doctor said, “I did not check his pulse.”

“And did you listen for a heartbeat?” said the lawyer. “No, I did not,” said the doctor.

“So,” said the lawyer, “when you signed the death certificate, you had not taken steps to make sure he was dead.”

The doctor said, “Well, let me put it this way. The man’s brain was in a jar on my desk, but for all I know he could be out practicing law somewhere.”


Setting: U.S. Dist. Court in Duluth, MN (1921)

Following a noon recess, the defendant’s attorney cross-examined the plaintiff’s expert witness, a retired professor of zoology. Ill-advised or without proper judgment, the defense attorney managed to get drunk during the recess for lunch. Excerpts from the transcript:

Q: So you say you are a specialist, an expert, on beavers and beaver traps and snails?

A: I didn’t say such a thing, sir. I said I know a great deal about beavers, just as I think I know, or many people say I know, a great deal about many animals. I have lived with them. I have observed them. I have handled them. I have fed them. I was almost going to say that I have conversed with them. They have a sort of language, you know. They are not inarticulate. And the cruelest thing we can call them is dumb animals; and also–

Q: You say they can talk?

A: Well there is a sense in which all nature has a language which we who study it can understand.

Q: Answer my question.

A: What was your question?

Q: You say a beaver can talk?

A: Please don’t try to make me ridiculous. What I said was this: All animals can speak, and by that I mean they communicate with one another and understand their own language. Even–

Q: Can you talk to it?

A: I can answer it this way–

Q: Answer yes or no.

A: Yes.

COUNSEL: I want the reporter to get this. This is good. Mr. Reporter, be sure and get this.

THE COURT: He is getting it.

Q: Then you have talked to a giraffe?

A: Yes, with that qualification.

Q: And the giraffe talked to you?

A: Yes.

Q: Did you ever talk to a lion?

A: Yes.

Q: And the lion talked to you?

A: Yes, with the qualifications I have stated.

Q: Did you ever talk to a skunk?

A: Yes.

Q: Well the next time you have a talk with one of those bastards, ask him for me what the God damned hell is the big idea.

End of transcript. Source: South Dakota Bar Journal, March 1975.


Gilbert and Freeman were discussing conditions in the legal profession. “How’s business?” asked Gilbert. "Absolutely rotten!”

“What now?”

“It’s most discouraging,” Freeman replied. “I just chased an ambulance twelve miles and found a LAWYER inside it.”


The three partners of a firm went to a convention out of town. As the plane carried them to their destination, one of the partners gulped and told the second partner, “I forgot to lock the safe.” The third partner said, “There’s nothing to worry about. All three of us are here!”


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