National Love Your Lawyer Day

 

Did you know that yesterday was National Love Your Lawyer Day?  Me neither.

 

Most people know a lawyer joke or two. But one association is asking people to refrain from making any digs at attorneys for one day in November in an effort to show appreciation for the profession.

As part of its annual National Love Your Lawyer Day, the American Lawyers Public Image Association is asking members of the public to donate $20 to their charity of choice for every lawyer joke they let slip on November 6.

Go here to read the rest.  Leave it to a lawyers group to ignore one of the few aspects of being a lawyer that most people find, if not lovable, at least humorous, the facility of some of us with lawyer jokes.  I have told many during my career, some at my own expense.  I recall one time I was involved in empaneling a jury.  The Judge had made the usual inquiry of the panel as to whether any of them knew anyone involved in the case.  A young lady I had worked with at the local crisis pregnancy center raised her hand and said she knew me.  The Judge asked her if there was anything about her knowledge of me that would prevent her from serving on the jury.  She said no, that other than being an attorney she thought I was a solid citizen.  The earnest way she said it caused the Judge to hold a quick recess to allow him time to recover his judicial demeanor.

Lincoln, a man whose fame has often obscured the quickness of his wits, could recognize the ludicrous aspects of life, never lacking in the courtroom.  Ward Lamon, who Lincoln appointed US Marshal of the District of Columbia and who served as Lincoln’s unofficial bodyguard during the War, he was on a mission to Richmond for Lincoln the fatal evening at Ford’s Theater, was fond of telling this story:

“The most trivial circumstance furnished a back-ground for his wit. The following incident, which illustrates his love of a joke, occurred in the early days of our acquaintance. I, being at the time on the infant side of twenty-one, took particularly pleasure in athletic sports. One day when we were attending the circuit court which met at Bloomington, Ill.,I was wrestling near the court house with some one who had challenged me to a trial, and in the scuffle made a large rent in the rear of my trousers. Before I had time to make any change, I was called into court to take up a case. The evidence was finished. I, being the Prosecuting Attorney at the time, got up to address the jury. Having on a somewhat short coat, my misfortune was rather apparent. One of the lawyers, for a joke, started a subscription paper which was passed from one member of the bar to another as they sat by a long table fronting the bench, to buy a pair of pantaloons for Lamon,–‘he being,’ the paper said, ‘a poor but worthy young man.’ Several put down their names with some ludicrous subscription, and finally the paper was laid by some one in front of Mr. Lincoln, he being engaged in writing at the time. He quietly glanced over the paper, and, immediately taking up his pen, wrote after his name, ‘I can contribute nothing to the end in view.’

Lawyers should always be fond of lawyer jokes, or at least tolerant of them, and simply strive not to be a joke of a lawyer.

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4 Comments

  1. “Leave it to a lawyers group to ignore one of the few aspects of being a lawyer that most people find, if not lovable, at least humorous, the facility of some of us with lawyer jokes.”

    A local aquarium with a large shark tank had a free admission day for lawyers as a “professional courtesy”, and took out radio ads to the effect. The state bar complained! At least they didn’t sue!

  2. Once my grandmother was called for jury duty in a lawsuit and asked if she knew the parties. She had, she had babysat both of them as children. Dismissed.

    The stereotype of lawyers as suing over any trifle is definitely false. I’ve known quite a few people who thought they won the lottery but were turned down by multiple lawyers.

  3. My two favourites:
    1) Queen Victoria was to visit the Court of Session and the Lord President, Lord Glencorse (John Inglis, a noted advocate and wit) had drafted a Loyal Address, which he read to the assembled judges for approval.
    When he came to the line, “Your Majesty’s judges, deeply conscious of their own many failings,” the Lord Justice-Clerk, Lord Moncreiff (who had been Inglis’s great rival at the Bar) stoutly protested that he was not conscious of “many failings” and, if he were, he would demit office.
    Lord Glencorse suggested as a compromise: “Your Majesty’s judges, deeply conscious of each others’ many failings…”
    2) John Clark (who once described a witness as “not worth his value in hemp”) was attempting to argue a point of construction and the Lord Ordinary, Lord Meadowbank, the son of a famous judge, rather peremptorily insisted that “also” and “likewise” were synonymous.
    “Your father was Lord Meadowbank,” reposted Clark, “and your Lordship is Lord Meadowbank; also, but not likewise.”

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