- Litigant is a person about to give up his skin for the hope of retaining his bones.
- God works wonders now and then;
Behold a lawyer, an honest man.
- America is a country where the Olympics and the divorce lawyers both have the same slogan – Go for the Gold.
- If there were no bad people, there would be no good lawyers.
- He is no lawyer who cannot take two sides.
- Lawyers I suppose were children once.
- The trouble with law is lawyers.
- Lawyers are like rhinoceroses: thick skinned, short-sighted, and always ready to charge.
- If the laws could speak for themselves, they would complain of the lawyers.
- An incompetent lawyer can delay a trial for years or months. A competent lawyer can delay one even longer.
- If half the lawyers would become plumbers, two of man’s biggest problems would be solved.
- Anybody who thinks talk is cheap should get some legal advice.
- If you have a legal problem, guess how you determine whether or not you need a lawyer.
- It is unfair to believe everything we hear about lawyers, some of it might not be true.
- The lawyer’s truth is not Truth, but consistency or a consistent expediency.
- I think we may classify the lawyers in the natural history of monsters.
- A lawyer is a gentlemen that rescues your estate from your enemies and then keeps it to himself.
- In cross examination, as in fishing, nothing is more ungainly than a fisherman pulled into the water by his catch.
- A lawyer with his briefcase can steal more than a hundred men with guns.
- To succeed in the other trades, capacity must be shown; in the law, concealment of it will do.
- A lawyer is one who protects us against robbery by taking away the temptation.
- Lawyers spend a great deal of their time shoveling smoke.
- A lawyers dream of heaven; every man reclaimed his property at the resurrection, and each tried to recover it from all his forefathers.
- I would be loath to speak ill of any person who I do not know deserves it, but I am afraid he is an attorney.
- It is the trade of lawyers to question everything, yield nothing, and talk by the hour.
- Young lawyers attend the courts, not because they have business there, but because they have no business.
- People are getting smarter nowadays; they are letting lawyers, instead of their conscience, be their guide.
- At the trial Stubbs chose to act as his own lawyer, but a conflict over his fee led to ill feelings.
- A fox may steal your hens, Sir,
A whore your health and pence, Sir,
Your daughter rob your chest, Sir,
Your wife may steal your rest, Sir,
A thief your goods and plate.
But this is all but picking,
With rest, pence, chest and chicken;
If ever was decreed, Sir,
If lawyer’s hand is fee’d, Sir,
He steals your whole estate.
- I have come to the conclusion that one useless man is called a disgrace, two men are called a law firm, and three or more become a Congress.
- Lawyers are just like physicians: what one says, the other contradicts.
- LAWYER: A professional advocate hired to bend the law on behalf of a paying client; for this reason considered the most suitable background for entry into politics.
- There is never a deed so foul that something couldn’t be said for the guy; that’s why there are lawyers.
- Lawyers Are: The only persons in whom ignorance of the law is not punished.
- But as records of courts and justice are admissible, it can easily be proved that powerful and malevolent magicians once existed and were a scourge to mankind. The evidence (including confession) upon which certain women were convicted of witchcraft and executed was without a flaw; it is still unimpeachable. The judges’ decisions based on it were sound in logic and in law. Nothing in any existing court was ever more thoroughly proved than the charges of witchcraft and sorcery for which so many suffered death. If there were no witches, human testimony and human reason are alike destitute of value. — Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary
- Lawyers Are: One skilled in the circumvention of the law
- In the Halls of Justice the only justice is in the halls.
- Lawyers Are: One who defends you at the risk of your pocketbook, reputation and life.
- Lawyers Are: A chimney-sweeper who has no objection to dirty work, because it is his trade.
- Lawyers Are: The only civil delinquents whose judges must of necessity be chosen from (amongst) themselves.
- All in all I’d rather have been a judge than a miner. And what’s more, being a miner, as soon as you are too old and tired and sick and stupid to do the job properly, you have to go. Well, the very opposite applies with judges.
- Lawyers Are: By law’s dark by-ways he has stored his mind with wicked knowledge on how to cheat mankind.
- The Denver Post may have been on to more than it realized when it reported, … the former Deputy Attorney General said the bar has never been so successful in serving the poor.
- Lorenzo Dow, an evangelist of the last century, was on a preaching tour when he came to a small town one cold winter’s night. He entered the local general store to get some warmth, and saw the town’s lawyers gathered around the pot-bellied stove discussing the town’s business. Not one offered to allow Dow into the circle. Dow told the men who he was, and that he had recently had a vision where he had been given a tour of Hell, much like the traveler in Dante’s Inferno. When one of the lawyers asked him what he had seen, he replied, Very much what I see here: all of the lawyers, gathered in the hottest place.
- My daddy is a movie actor, and sometimes he plays the good guy, and sometimes he plays the lawyer.
- A countryman between two lawyers is like a fish between two cats.
- There’s no better way of exercising the imagination than the study of law. No poet ever interpreted nature as freely as a lawyer interprets the truth.
- Lawyers Are: Those who lie, conceal and distort everything and slander everybody.
- The other day my house caught fire. My lawyer said, Shouldn’t be a problem. What kind of coverage do you have? I said, Fire and theft. The lawyer frowned. Uh oh. Wrong kind. Should be fire OR theft.
- Lawyers Are: Those who earn a living by the sweat of their brow-beating.
- A lawyer is a person who writes a 10,000-word document and calls it a brief.
- The trial lawyer does what Socrates was executed for: making the worse argument appear the stronger.
- He is no lawyer who cannot take two sides.
- I’ll never discuss my lawyer’s character in his absence, so let’s discuss his absence of character!
- Lawyers Are: Those who use the law as shoemakers use leather; rubbing it, pressing it, and stretching it with their teeth, all to the end of making it fit their purposes.
- Lawyers are the only profession where the more there are, the more are needed!
- Lawyers are like rhinoceroses: thick skinned, short-sighted, and always ready to charge.
- The law is a sort of hocus-pocus science that smiles in your face while it picks your pocket.
- Lawyers Are: People whose profession it is to disguise matters.
- I don’t want a Lawyer to tell me what I cannot do; I hire him to tell me how to do what I want to do— J.P. Morgan
- Litigation is the basic legal right which guarantees every corporation its decade in court.
- I don’t think you can make a lawyer honest by an act of legislature. You’ve got to work on his conscience. And his lack of conscience is what makes him a lawyer.
- A man who never graduated from school might steal from a freight car. But a man who attends college and graduates as a lawyer might steal the whole railroad.
- To me, a lawyer is basically the person that knows the rules of the country. We’re all throwing the dice, playing the game, moving our pieces around the board, but if there is a problem the lawyer is the only person who has read the inside of the top of the box.
- Lawyers Are: Perilous mouths.
- The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.
- It is better to be a mouse in a cat’s mouth than a man in a lawyer’s hands.
- The ideal client is the very wealthy man in very great trouble.
- Lawyers Are: Those whose interests and abilities lie in perverting, confounding and eluding the law.
- As your attorney, it is my duty to inform you that it is not important that you understand what I’m doing or why you’re paying me so much money. What’s important is that you continue to do so.
- Mark Twain was at a dinner party where he gave one of his customary after-dinner speeches. When he had finished a prominent lawyer stood up, shoved his hands in his pockets and said, Doesn’t it strike this company as unusual that a professional humorist should be so funny? Mark Twain came back with, Doesn’t it strike this company as unusual that a lawyer should have both hands in his own pockets? They all laid their heads together like as many lawyers when they are gettin’ ready to prove that a man’s heirs ain’t got any right to his property.
- Of course I’ve got lawyers. They are like nuclear weapons: I’ve got em coz everyone else has. But as soon as you use them they fuck everything up.
- A good lawyer is a great liar.
- A tradesman of Windham, Connecticut, having occasion to boil a number of cattle’s feet, threw the bones at the back of the courthouse. An attorney asked what bones they were? A bystander replied that he believed them to be client’s bones, as they were well picked.
- Lawyers Are: One whose opinion is worth nothing unless paid for. — English Proverb
- A cat who settles disputes between mice.
- A person whose profession consists of protecting his clients from other members of his profession.
- People who can write a 10,000-word document and call it a brief.
- The judicial process is like a cow. The public is impaled on its horns, the government has it by the tail, and all the while the lawyers are milking it.
- Old lawyers never die. They just establish law firms.
People who love sausage and respect the law should never watch either being made.
He who has said that ‘talk is cheap’, has never hired a lawyer.
There are two kinds of lawyers, those who know the law and those who know the judge.
The trouble with the legal profession is that 98% of its members give the rest a bad name.
In the US, everything that is not prohibited by law is permitted.
In Germany, everything that is not permitted by law is prohibited.
In Russia, everything is prohibited, even if permitted by law.
In France, everything is permitted, even if prohibited by law.
You win some and you lose some, but you get paid for all of them.
Just remember: when you go to court, you are trusting your fate to twelve people that weren’t smart enough to get out of jury duty!
A man who dies without a will has lawyers for his heirs. *
A man was prosecuted. The judge asked him, Don’t you need a lawyer? To which he replies, No, I don’t need any, I’m going to tell the truth.
If it wasn’t for lawyers, we wouldn’t need them.
Talk is cheap… until lawyers get involved.
Bulls do not win bull fights; people do. People do not win people fights; lawyers do.
Old lawyers never die, they just lose their appeal.
A small town that cannot support one lawyer can always support two.
Between grand theft and a legal fee, there only stands a law degree.
The Lawyer’s Motto:
Insofar as manifestations of functional deficiencies are agreed by any and all concerned parties to be imperceivable, and are so stipulated, it is incumbent upon said heretofore mentioned parties to exercise the deferment of otherwise pertinent maintenance procedures.
In Other Words:
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Lawyer’s creed: A man is innocent until proven broke.
Experts are people who know a great deal about very little and who go along learning more and more about less and less until they know practically everything about nothing.
Lawyers, on the other hand, are people who know very little about many things and keep learning less and less about more and more until they know practically nothing about everything.
Judges are people who start out knowing everything about everything but end up knowing nothing about anything because of their constant association with experts and lawyers.
The exact date that professional attorneys came into existence is unknown, although the first complaints about them were recorded in the twelfth century.
Two thirds of the world’s lawyers are located in the United States. This has led, in some quarters, to occasional suggestions for a new export product.
Almost 37 percent of the U.S. House of Representatives and 53 percent of the U.S. Senate are comprised of lawyers. It’s like buying chicken wire from the fox.
Be frank and explicit with your lawyer… It is his business to confuse the issue afterwards.
And God said: Let there be Satan, so people don’t blame everything on me. And let there be lawyers, so people don’t blame everything on Satan.
But the mere truth won’t do. You must have a lawyer.
– Dr. Allan Woodcourt to the wrongly accused George Rouncewell, in Charles Dickens’s Bleak House
It could have been prevented. That is the message [to pharmaceutical companies]. Respect us.
– Juror Derrick Chizer, who voted against Merck in the first Vioxx case to go to trial, who said the 10 like-minded jurors believed a heart attack triggered the Plaintiff’s fatal arrhythmia.
The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers. (Dick the Butcher to Jack Cade in Henry VI, Part 2 (1592) act 4, sc. 2. – Shakespeare’s misquoted implication that lawyers stand in the way of tyranny.)
– W. Shakespeare (1564-1616)
I shall not rest until every German sees that it is a shameful thing to be a lawyer.
The future has several names. For the weak, it is impossible. For the fainthearted, it is unknown. For the thoughtful and valiant, it is ideal.
Those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad.
-Anonymous ancient proverb, wrongly attributed to Euripides. The version here is quoted as a heathen proverb in Daniel: A Model for Young Men (1854) by William Anderson Scott
We love lawyers. If there weren’t any lawyers, there wouldn’t be any jokes!
-Click and Clack
The life of the law has not been logic; it has been experience.
– Oliver Wendell Holmes
Where law ends, tyranny begins.
– William Pitt
…Freedom of religion; freedom of the press, and freedom of person under the protection of the habeas corpus, and trial by juries impartially selected. These principles form the bright constellation which has gone before us and guided our steps through an age of revolution and reformation. The wisdom of our sages and the blood of our heros have been devoted to their attainment. They should be the creed of our political faith.
– Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address (1801)
For 500 years the West patented six killer applications that set it apart. The first to download them was Japan. Over the last century, one Asian country after another has downloaded these killer apps- competition, modern science, the rule of law and private property rights, modern medicine, the consumer society and the work ethic. Those six things are the secret sauce of Western civilization.
– Harvard historian Niall Ferguson, Civilization: The West and the Rest
Fiat justitia ruat caelum.
– Latin phrase meaning Let justice be done though the heavens fall; attributed to Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus, the father-in-law of Julius Caesar
As long as the world shall last there will be wrongs, and if no man objected and if no man rebelled, those wrongs would last forever.
– Clarence Darrow (1857-1938), prominent American lawyer
Consider the reason of the case, for nothing is law that is not reason.
– Sir John Powell
If you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.
-Atticus Finch, in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird
The jury system has come to stand for all we mean by English justice. The scrutiny of 12 honest jurors provides defendants and plaintiffs alike a safeguard from arbitrary perversion of the law.
The one governmental agency that has no ambition.
– Justice William O. Douglas, on the Supreme Court
I consider trial by jury as the only anchor ever yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution.
– Thomas Jefferson (1788)
Laws are the sovereigns of sovereigns.
– Louis XIV
The pen is mightier than the sword.
– Edward Bulwer-Lytton
What I want is a competent lawyer who will counsel me. … I also need him with me at my trial and in hearings. … I would also like to be able to sue him if I later conclude that I have been defectively or inadequately counseled, because I feel that I have received less than satisfactory service in the past. It occurs to me that … we each will feel as though we are caged with a rattlesnake: There is going to be mutual fear, mistrust, dislike, and a contest for dominance. I don’t consider it my fault, however.
– Randall S. Boyd of Denton, TX, in a prose motion seeking appointment of counsel
To the wise, a word is sufficient.
– Prince John Lackland, before the return of King Richard
Life’s real victories must be shared.
– Former President Bill Clinton on the passing of Former President Nelson Mandela
There’s always room for a good lawyer.
– Milas Hale
A law is valuable not because it is law, but because there is right in it.
– Henry Ward Beecher
If you want peace, work for justice
– Pope Paul VI
Laws are the very bulkwarks of liberty; they define every man’s rights, and defend the individual liberties of all men.
– J.G. Holland
Law is the embodiment of the moral sentiment of the people.
– William Blackstone
When you’re up to your nose in shit, keep your mouth shut.
– Jack Beauregard, played by Henry Fonda. My Name is Nobody.
The safety of the people shall be the highest law.
– Marcus Tullius Cicero
Plead the Fifth.
– Gary Vert
Justice denied anywhere diminishes justice everywhere.
–Martin Luther King, Jr.
I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!
– Barry Goldwater
Predicting coding algorithms are already able to do much of the legal research lawyers do. Before long, ‘there will be many thousands of lawyers out of work,’ one legal expert told Pew. Don’t all weep at once.
– Rick Newman on the fate of lawyers, in his August 2014 article 28 Jobs Endangered by Technology, viaYahoo Finance
Whereas the law is passionless, passion must ever sway the heart of man.
Every man is enthusiastic at times. One man has enthusiasm for 30 minutes, another man has it for 30 days. But it is the man who has it for 30 years who makes a success in life.
– Edward B. Butler
V. The next fpecies of trial is of great antiquity, but much difuted; though ftill in force if the parties chufe to abide by it: I mean the trial by wager of battel. This feems to have owed it’s original to the military fpirit of our anceftors, joined to a fuperftitious frame of mind; it being in the nature of an appeal to providence, under an apprehenfion and hope (however prefumptous and unwarrantable) that heaven would give the victory to him who had the right. The decifion of fuits, by this appeal to the God of battels, is by fome faid to have been invented by the Burgundi, one of the northern or German clans that planted themfelves in Gaul. And it is true, that the firft written injuction of judiciary combats that we meet with, is in the laws of Gundebald, A. D. 501, which are preferved in the Burgundian code. Yet it does not feem to have been merely a local cuftom of this or that particular tribe, but to have been the common ufage of all thofe warlike people from the earlieft times. And it may alfo feem from a paffage in Velleius Paterculus, that the Germans, when firft they became knwon to the Romans, were wont to decide all contefts of right by the fword: for when Quintilius Varus endeavoured to introduce among them the Roman laws and method of trial, it was looked upon (fays the hiftorian) as a novitas incognitae difciplinae, ut folita armis decerni, jure terminarentur. And among the antient Goths in Sweden we find the practice of judiciary duels eftablifhed upon much the fame footing as they formerly were in our own country.
-A description of the great antiquity of the trial by wager of battle from Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England, Volume III, p. 337 (1768)
A man who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client.
– early-19th century proverb found in Henry Kett’s The flowers of wit, or a choice collection of bon mots (1814)
All bad precedents begin with justifiable measures.
– Julius Ceasar – Sallust’s Bellum Catilinae, J.T. Ramsey ed (1984)
The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right…
– Judge Learned Hand
I think the first duty of society is justice.
– Alexander Hamilton
Tremble, all ye oppressors of the world!
– Richard Price
Remember always that all of us…are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.
– Franklin D. Roosevelt
True patriotism hates injustice in its own land more than anywhere else.
– Clarence Darrow
A majority held in restraint by constitutional checks and limitations…is the only true sovereign of a free people. Whoever rejects it does of necessity fly to anarchy or to despotism.
– Abraham Lincoln
When you have no basis for an argument, abuse the plaintiff.
Beware the smoke screen!
– Gary Vert
Right… is the child of law.
– Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832)
I wholly disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.
– S.G. Tallentyre, The Friends of Voltaire (1906)
Tact is the ability to describe others as they see themselves.
– Abraham Lincoln
Argument weak; speak loudly!
– a handwritten note by Theodore Roosevelt in the margins of one of his speeches
When it wishes anything done which is really serious, it collects twelve of the ordinary men standing round. The same thing was done, if I remember right, by the Founder of Christianity.
– G. K. Chesterton, speaking of society
By obliging men to turn their attention to other affairs than their own, it rubs off that private selfishness which is the rust of society.
– de Tocqueville on jury service
It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can stop him from lynching me, and I think that’s pretty important.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
An unlimited power to tax involves, necessarily, a power to destroy; because there is a limit beyond which no institution and no property can bear taxation.
– Chief Justice John Marshall
These are the times that try men’s souls.
– Thomas Paine, The Crises (published after Washington’s army had to retreat from Long Island to Breucklyn)
Take to the study of the law. Possession is nine points of it, which thou hast of me. Self-possession is the tenth . . .
– R.D. Blackmore, Lorna Doone
Come now, and let us reason together . . .
– The Song of Solomon – Isaiah
The wisdom of our sages and the blood of our heroes has been devoted to the attainment of trial by jury. It should be the creed of our political faith.
-Thomas Jefferson First Inaugural Address 1801
There is sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.
–Washington Irving (1783-1859)
You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger.
– Author Unknown
Very few souls are saved after the first five minutes of the sermon.
– Mark Twain
The law is reason free from passion.
SIR EDWARD COKE (1552-1634)
Reason is the life of the law; nay, the common law itself is nothing else but reason…The law, which is perfection of reason.
– First Institute 
For a man’s house is his castle, et domus sua cuique tutissimum refugium.
– Third Institute 
The house of everyone is to him as his castle and fortress, as well for his defense against injury and violence as for his repose.
– Semayne’s Case. 5 Report 91
They [corporations] cannot commit treason, nor be outlawed nor excommunicate, for they have no souls.
– Case of Sutton’s Hospital. 10 Report 32
Learn to do right; seek justice, encourage the oppressed, defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.
– The Song of Solomon – Isaiah 1:17
The Seventh Amendment to the Constitution of the United States: ‘In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.’
Now see that noble and most sovereign reason,
Like sweet bells jangled, out of tune and harsh.
-Shakespeare: Hamlet III, i, 162
Lincoln’s image is sometimes invoked as a model for lawyer advertising, with his advertising having been the feature of at least one recent television campaign for legal services. Other times, he, obviously, is advanced as the highest example of professionalism. He is probably an excellent illustration of the ability of a lawyer in that era to combine aspects of commercialism, competence and dignity in the practice of law.
-American Bar Association, Commission on Advertising, Lawyer Advertising at the Crossroads: Professional Policy Considerations 31-32 (1995).
Our reason is our law.
-Milton: Paradise Lost, bk. IX, l. 652
The sleep of reason produces monsters [El sueño de la razón produce monstruos].
– Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes: Los Caprichos . Plate 43¹
Education is what you get by reading the fine print; experience is what you get if you don’t read it.
– from The Furrow, Volume 119, Issue 6
Judge: Is there any reason you could not serve as a juror on this case?
Juror: I don’t want to be away from my job that long.
Judge: Can’t they do without you at work?
Juror: Certainly, but I don’t want them to know it.
– from The Furrow, Volume 119, Issue 6
Lawyers are like other people — fools on the average; but it is easier for an ass to succeed in that trade than any other.
– Mark Twain
Man is a reasoning animal.
-Lucius Annaeus Seneca: Epistles, 41,8
Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.
– Wendell Phillips (1811-1884), abolitionist, orator and columnist for The Liberator, in a speech before the Massachusetts Antislavery Society in 1852.
Woe to those who enact unjust statutes and who write oppressive decrees,
depriving the needy of judgment and robbing my peoples’ poor of their
rights, making widows their plunder, and orphans their prey.
– Isaiah 10:1-2.
Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.
– Robert F. Kennedy (1925-1968, American Attorney General, Senator)
About half the practice of a decent lawyer consists in telling would-be clients that they are damned fools and should stop.
– Elihu Root
A crooked thing is ruined and fit only to ruin everything else. (Chose tournée est corrumpue et propre à tout faire tourner par suite.)
– Guillaume le Maréchal, III, 170
[The law] is a jealous mistress, and requires a long and constant courtship. It is not to be won by trifling favors, but by lavish homage.
The Value and Importance of Legal Studies
– Joseph Story, (1779-1845)
All the sovereigns who have chosen to govern by their own authority, and to direct society instead of obeying its directions, have destroyed or enfeebled the institution of the jury. The Tudor monarchs sent to prison jurors who refused to convict, and Napoleon caused them to be selected by his agents.
The institution of the jury, if confined to criminal causes, is always in danger; but when once it is introduced into civil proceedings, it defies the aggressions of time and man. If it had been as easy to remove the jury from the customs as from the laws of England, it would have perished under the Tudors, and the civil jury did in reality at that period save the liberties of England.
– de Tocqueville on civil jury trials
There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.
– origin unknown; attributed to several sources but made especially popular by Mark Twain’s Own Autobiography: The Chapters from the North American Review
Statistician. A person who draws a mathematically precise line between an unwarranted assumption and a foregone conclusion.
– author unknown
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
The law is the last result of human wisdom acting upon human experience for the benefit of the public.
– Samuel Johnson
It is a fair summary of history to say that the safeguards of liberty have frequently been forged in controversies involving not very nice people.
– Justice Felix Frankfurter, dissenting, United States v. Rabinowitz (1950)
I used to say that, as Solicitor General, I made three arguments of every case. First came the one that I planned–as I thought, logical, coherent, complete. Second was the one actually presented–interrupted, incoherent, disjointed, disappointing. The third was the utterly devastating argument that I thought of after going to bed that night.
– Robert H. Jackson, Advocacy Before the Supreme Court (1951)
Judicial reform is no sport for the short-winded.
– Arthur T. Vanderbilt
To be a successful contingency attorney requires three things: 1). Accept only good cases; 2). Settle the good cases; and 3). Try the rest.
– Gary Vert
And do as adversaries do in law –
Strive mightily, but eat and drink as friends.
– William Shakespeare: The Taming of the Shrew – Act 1 Scene 2
It usually takes three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.
– Mark Twain
The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.
– Mark Twain
Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes that you can do these things. Among them are a few Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or businessman from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid.
– President Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1952
What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow; that is the whole Law: the rest is interpretation.
– Hillel (30 B.C.- 10.A.D.) Source: Talm
Seek justice for all . . . Champion the cause of those who deserve redress for injury to personal property . . . Promote the public good through concerted efforts to secure safe products, a safe work place, a clean environment, and quality healthcare . . . Further the rule of law in a civil justice system, and protect the rights of the accused . . . Advance the common law and the finest traditions of jurisprudence . . . and uphold the honor and dignity of the legal profession and the highest standards of ethical conduct and integrity.
– Mission Statement – Association of Trial Lawyers of America
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation: . . . For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
– List of Colonists’ Grievances against King George III, Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776
The law must have the last word.
– French President Jacques Chirac in response to rioters in France November 6, 2005
The study of law is sublime, and its practice vulgar.
– Oscar Wilde
No man is above the law and no man below it.
– Theodore Roosevelt
Justice is conscience, not a personal conscience but the conscience of the whole humanity. Those who clearly recognize the voice of their own conscience usually also recognize the voice of justice.
– Alexander Solzhenitsyn
Simple is good.
– Jim Henson
The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie – – deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth – – persistent, persuasive, unrealistic.
– John F. Kennedy
As citizens of this democracy, you are the rulers and the ruled, the law-givers and the law-abiding, the beginning and the end.
– Adlai Ewing Stevenson
It is better to risk saving a guilty person than to condemn an innocent one.
– Voltaire, Zadig, 1747
Our defense is not in our armaments, nor in science, nor in going underground. Our defense is in law and order.
– Albert Einstein
Unkindness has no remedy at law.
– Thomas Fuller (1654 – 1734) comp., Gnomologia: Adages and Proverbs, 5402, 1732.
The precepts of the law are these: to live honestly, to injure no one, and to give everyone his due. Justinian I (482/483-565).
– Justinian Code, A.D. 533.
There shall be one law for the native and for the stranger who sojourns among you. Moses (14th Century B.C.).
– Exodus 12:49
They that make laws must not break them.
– John Ray (1628 – 1705). Comp., A Collection of English Proverbs, p. 166, 1678.
Ignorance of the law excuses no man, not that all men know the law, but ’tis an excuse every man will plead and no man can tell how to confute him.
– John Selden (1584 – 1654). LAW (2), Table Talk, 1689, ed. Frederick Pollock, 1927.
Possession is nine-tenths of the law. Lord Mansfield (1705 – 1793).
– Corporation of Kingston – upon – Hull v. Horner, 1774.
The success of any legal system is measured by its fidelity to the universal ideal of justice. Earl Warren (1891 – 1974). The Law and the Future,
– Fortune Magazine, November 1955.
Lawyers with a weakness for seeing the merits of the other side end up being employed by neither.
– Richard J. Barnet (1929 – 2004). Roots of War. 3.3, 1971.
(Latin): The law is not concerned with trifles.
The more laws, the less justice.
Where the law is uncertain, there is no law.
(Spanish): One lawyer makes work for another.
(German): A lawyer and a wagon wheel must be well greased.
It is unwise to pay too much but it is worse to pay too little. When you pay too much you lose a little money. When you pay too little you sometimes lose everything because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. The common sense law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot. It can’t be done.
– John Ruskin
When law and nature collide, nature usually wins.
– Forrest Reynolds, June 1, 2012, on discussing the verdict in the John Edwards case
Lawyers are just like physicians; what one says the other contradicts.
One thing I have learned from this experience is that it is hard to keep an audience attentive and involved with a speech, but it’s easy if you tell a story that involves your listeners and inspires them with a memorable moral.
– Jim M. Perdue
He is no lawyer who cannot take two sides.
You get a reasonable doubt for a reasonable price.
-Criminal attorney’s saying
Lawyers help those who help themselves.
It is true that, of the people of my Gracious Prince here, some out of all offices and faculties must be executed: clerics, electoral councilors and doctors, city officials, court assessors, several of whom Your Grace knows. There are law students to be arrested. … The notary of our Church consistory, a very learned man, was yesterday arrested and put to the torture. In a word, a third part of the city is surely involved. The richest, most attractive, most prominent of the clergy are already executed. … I have seen put to death children of seven, promising students of ten, twelve, fourteen, and fifteen.
–A Letter from Würzburg (1629), reprinted in Witchcraft in Europe 400-1700 353-54 (Alan Charles Kors and Edward Peters eds., University of Pennsylvania Press, 2001)
Lawyers are a learned class of very ignorant men.
-Erasmus, Dutch philosopher and theologian
I am not afraid of lawyers as I used to be. They are lambs in wolves’ clothing.
-Edna St. Vincent Millay
If you laid all of our laws end to end, there would be no end.
‘Curio vult advisari,’ as the lawyers say; which means, ‘Let us have another glass, and then we can think about it.’
– R.D. Blackmore, Lorna Doone
[Curia advisari vult is a Latin legal term meaning the court wishes to consider the matter (literally, the court wishes to be advised), a term reserving judgment until some subsequent day. It often appears in case reports, abbreviated as Cur. adv. vult, or sometimes c.a.v. or CAV, when the bench takes time for deliberation after hearing counsel’s submissions.]
Law is the second oldest profession.
Thus tis we say though quite uncivil, A cunning lawyer beats the devil!
-Early American Rhyme
Sometimes a man who deserves to be looked upon because he is a fool is despised only because he is a lawyer.
May you have a lawsuit in which you know you are right.
-Spanish Gypsy curse
He that loves the law will get his fill of it.
There is no man so good, who, were he to submit all his thoughts and actions to the laws would not deserve hanging ten times in his life.
-Michel de Montaigne
He wastes his tears who weeps before the judge.
That one hundred and fifty lawyers should do business together ought not to be expected.
-Thomas Jefferson (referring to the U.S. Congress)
Love all men – except lawyers.
Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice
– Proverbs 13:10
I, Lucius Titus, have written this my testament without any lawyer, following my own natural reason rather than excessive and miserable diligence.
-The will of a citizen of Rome
They do tricks even I can’t figure out.
If it weren’t for the lawyers we wouldn’t need them.
-William Jennings Bryan
Great management decisions make themselves
The very definition of a good award is that it gives dissatisfaction to both parties.
– Goodman C. Sayers
Our holding will be spelled out with some specificity in the pages which follow but briefly stated it is this: the prosecution may not use statements, whether exculpatory or inculpatory, stemming from custodial interrogation of the defendant unless it demonstrates the use of procedural safeguards effective to secure the privilege against self-incrimination. By custodial interrogation, we mean questioning initiated by law enforcement officers after a person has been taken into custody or otherwise deprived of his freedom of action in any significant way.
– Earl Warren, Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 444 (1966)
The power of a sonorous phrase to command uncritical acceptance has often been encountered in the law.
– Calvert Magruder, Mental and Emotional Disturbance in the Law of Torts, 49 Harvard -Law Review 1033, 1033 (1936)
I left law school more than 40 years ago, and I still have that dream – and not infrequently.
– Paul Kelly on anxiety-producing exams
Judge: Are you trying to show contempt for the court?
Flower Bell Lee [played by Mae West]: No, I’m doing my best to hide it.
– Mae West and W.C. Fields, My Little Chickadee (screenplay), 1940, quoted in The Wit and Wisdom of Mae West 51 (Joseph Weintraub ed. 1970)
A cent or a pepper corn, in legal estimation, would constitute a valuable consideration.
– Nicholas Emery, Whitney v. Stearns, 16 Me. 394, 397 (1839)
But there is one way in this country in which all men are created equal-there is one human institution that makes a pauper the equal of a Rockefeller, the stupid man the equal of an Einstein, and the ignorant man the equal of any college president. That institution, gentlemen, is a court. It can be the Supreme Court of the United State or the humblest J.P. court in the land, or this honorable court which you serve. Our courts have their faults, as does any human institution, but in this country our courts are the great levelers, and in our courts all men are created equal.
– Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird 218 (1960)
It is not enough to say, that in the opinion of the court, the damages are too high and that we would have given much less. It is the judgment of the jury, and not the judgment of the court, which is to assess the damages in actions for personal torts and injuries….The damages, therefore, must be so excessive as to strike mankind, at first blush, as being beyond all measure, unreasonable and outrageous, and such as manifestly show the jury to have been actuated by passion, partiality, prejudice, or corruption. In short, the damages must be flagrantly outrageous and extravagant, or the court cannot undertake to draw the line; for they have no standard by which to ascertain the excess.
– James Kent, Coleman v. Southwick, 9 Johns. 45, 51-52 (N.Y. 1818)
More truly characteristic of dissent is a dignity, an elevation, of mood and thought and phrase. Deep conviction and warm feeling are saying their last say with knowledge that the cause is lost. The voice of the majority may be that of force triumphant, content with the plaudits of the hour, and recking little of the morrow. The dissenter speaks to the future, and his voice is pitched to a key that will carry through the years.
– Benjamin N. Cardozo, Law and Literature 36 (1931)
It shall be unlawful for any teacher in any of the Universitis [sic], Normals and all other public schools of the State which are supported in whole or in part by the public school funds of the State, to teach any theory that denies the story of the Divine Creation of man as taught in the Bible, and to teach instead that man has descended from a lower order of animals.
– Act of Mar. 13, 1925, ch. 27, § 1, 1925 Tenn. Pub. Acts 50, 50-51
A grand jury would ‘indict a ham sandwich,’ if that’s what you wanted.
– Tom Wolfe (quoting New York State chief judge Sol Wachtler) in The Bonfire of the Vanities
If today you can take a thing like evolution and make it a crime to teach it in the public school, tomorrow you can make it a crime to teach it in the private schools, and the next year you can make it a crime to teach it to the hustings or in the church. At the next session you may ban books and the newspapers. Soon you may set Catholic against Protestant and Protestant against Protestant, and try to foist your own religion upon the minds of men. If you can do one you can do the other. Ignorance and fanaticism is ever busy and needs feeding. Always it is feeding and gloating for more. Today it is the public school teachers, tomorrow the private. The next day the preachers and the lecturers, the magazines, the books, the newspapers. After while, your honor, it is the setting of man against man and creed against creed until with flying banners and beating drums we are marching backward to the glorious ages of the sixteenth century when bigots lighted fagots to burn the men who dared to bring any intelligence and enlightment and culture to the human mind.
– Clarence S. Darrow, Speech at Scopes Trial, Dayton, Tenn., 13 July 1925, in The World’s Most Famous Court Trial 87 (1925)
Those who want the Government to regulate matters of the mind and spirit are like men who are so afraid of being murdered that they commit suicide to avoid assassination.
– Harry S. Truman, Address at the National Archives, Washington, D.C., 15 Dec., 1952, in Public Papers of the Presidents: Harry S. Truman, 1952-53, at 1077, 1079 (1966)
Since the earliest days philosophers have dreamed of a country where the mind and spirit of man would be free; where there would be no limits to inquiry; where men would be free to explore the unknown and to challenge the most deeply rooted beliefs and principles. Our First Amendment was a bold effort to adopt this principle – to establish a country with no legal restrictions of any kind upon the subjects people could investigate, discuss and deny. The Framers knew, better perhaps than we do today, the risks they were taking. They knew that free speech might be the friend of change and revolution. But they also knew that it is always the deadliest enemy of tyranny. With this knowledge they still believed that the ultimate happiness and security of a nation lies in its ability to explore, to change, to grow and ceaselessly to adapt itself to new knowledge born of inquiry free from any kind of governmental control over the mind and spirit of man. Loyalty comes from love of good government, not fear of a bad one.
– Hugo L. Black, The Bill of Rights, 35 New York University Law Review 865, 880-81 (1960)
The issue of a cause rarely depends upon a speech and is but seldom even affected by it. But there is never a cause contested, the result of which is not mainly dependent upon the skill with which the advocate conducts his cross-examination.
. . .
A good advocate should be a good actor. The most cautious cross-examiner will often elicit a damaging answer. Now is the time for the greatest self-control. If you show by your face how the answer hurt, you may lose your case by that one point alone. How often one sees the cross-examiner fairly staggered by such an answer. He pauses, perhaps blushes, and after he has allowed the answer to have its full effect, finally regains his self-possession, but seldom his control of the witness…..
– Francis Wellman The Art of Cross-Examination (1903, 1904)
The practice of law is a busyness.
We can imagine . . . no better way to counter a flag-burner’s message than by saluting the flag that burns. . . We do not consecrate the flag by punishing its desecration, for in doing so we dilute the freedom that this cherished emblem represents.
– William J. Brennan, Jr. Texas v. Johnson, 109 S. Ct. 2533, 2547-48 (1989)
It is a pleasant world we live in, sir, a very pleasant world. There are bad people in it, Mr. Richard, but if there were no bad people, there would be no good lawyers.
– Charles Dickens, The Old Curiosity Shop
You can only protect your liberties in this world by protecting the other man’s freedom. You can only be free if I am free.
– Clarence S. Darrow, Address to jury, Communist Trial, 1920, in Attorney for the Damned 121, 140 (Arthur Weinberg ed. 1957)
And I honor the man who is willing to sink
Half his present repute for the freedom to think,
And, when he has thought, be his cause strong or weak,
Will risk t’ other half for the freedom to speak.
– James Russell Lowell, A Fable for Critics, 1848, in Complete Poetical Works of James Russell Lowell 114, 136 (Horace E. Scudder ed. 1925)
The wisest thing to do with a fool is to encourage him to hire a hall and discourse to his fellow-citizens. Nothing chills nonsense like exposure to the air.
– Woodrow Wilson, Constitutional Government in the United States 38 (1908)
That the freedom of the press is one of the great bulwarks of liberty, and can never be restrained but by despotic governments.
– Virginia Declaration of Rights of 1776, § 12, in Federal and State Constitutions 7:3812, 3814 (Francis N. Thorpe ed. 1909)
Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one.
– A.J. Liebling, The Wayward Press: Do you belong in Journalism? New Yorker, 14 May 1960, at 105, 109
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.
– Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail, 16 Apr. 1963, in Why We Can’t Wait 77, 79 (1964)
We disclaim altogether any jurisdiction in the courts of the United States upon the subject of divorce, or for the allowance of alimony.
– James M. Wayne, Barber v. Barber, 62 U.S. (21 How.) 582, 584 (1858)
That in controversies respecting property, and in suits between man and man, the ancient trial by jury is preferable to any other, and ought to be held sacred.
– Virginia Declaration of Rights of 1776, § 11, in Federal and State Constitutions 7:3812, 3814 (Francis N. Thorpe ed. 1909)
Where there is Hunger, Law is not regarded; and where Law is not regarded, there will be Hunger.
– Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1755, in Papers of Benjamin Franklin 5:472 (Leonard W. Labaree ed. 1962)
Ignorance of the law is no excuse in any country. If it were, the laws would lose their effect, because it can always be pretended.
– Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Andre Limozin, 22 Dec. 1787, in Papers of Thomas Jefferson 12:451 (Julian P. Boyd ed. 1955)
I know no method to secure the repeal of bad or obnoxious laws so effective as their stringent execution.
– Ulysses S. Grant, First Inaugural Address, 4 Mar. 1869, in Messages and Papers of the Presidents 7:6, 6 (James D. Richardson ed. 1898)
Never fear the want of business. A man who qualifies himself well for his calling never fails of employment in it.
– Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Peter Carr, 22 June 1792, in Writings of Thomas Jefferson 6:92 (Paul L. Ford ed. 1895)
Our profession is good, if practiced in the spirit of it; it is damnable fraud and iniquity when its true spirit is supplied by a spirit of mischief-making and money catching.
– Daniel Webster, Letter to James Hervey Bingham, 19 Jan. 1806, in Papers of Daniel Webster: Legal Papers 1.69
[When advised not to become a lawyer because the profession was overcrowded:] There is always room at the top.
– Daniel Webster, quoted in Edward Latham, Famous Sayings and Their Authors 65 (1904)
Whatever their failings as a class may be, and however likely to lose their immortal souls, lawyers do not generally lose papers.
– Arthur Train, Hocus-Pocus, in Tut, Tut! Mr. Tutt 119, 120 (1923)
Look well to the right of you, look well to the left of you, for one of you three won’t be here next year.
– Edward H. Warren, quoted in W. Barton Leach, Look Well to the Right…, 58 Harvard Law Review 1137, 1138 (1945)
On one occasion a student made a curiously inept response to a question from Professor Warren. The Bull roared at him, You will never make a lawyer. You might just as well pack up your books now and leave the school. The student rose, gathered his notebooks, and started to leave, pausing only to say in full voice, I accept your suggestion, Sir, but I do not propose to leave without giving myself the pleasure of telling you to go plumb straight to Hell. Sit down, Sir, sit down, said The Bull. Your response makes it clear that my judgment was too hasty.
– Joseph N. Welch, Edward Henry Warren, 58 Harvard Law Review 1134, 1136 (1945)
They have a proverb here [in London], which I do not know how to account for ; – in speaking of a difficult point, they say, it would puzzle a Philadelphia lawyer*.
– A Humorous Description of the Manners and Fashions of London; in a Letter from a Citizen of America to his Correspondent in Philadelphia, 2 Columbian Magazine 181, 182 (1788) *This is the earliest known usage of the phrase Philadelphia lawyer to mean a shrewd lawyer expert in legal technicalities. This term may have been inspired by Philadelphia attorney Andrew Hamilton’s successful defense of John Peter Zenger in a New York court in 1735.
Searching for quotations on lawyers, I found this on your site:
They have a proverb here [in London], which I do not know how to account for ; – in speaking of a difficult point, they say, it would puzzle a Philadelphia lawyer*.
– A Humorous Description of the Manners and Fashions of London; in a Letter from a Citizen of America to his Correspondent in Philadelphia, 2 Columbian Magazine 181, 182 (1788) *This is the earliest known usage of the phrase Philadelphia lawyer to mean a shrewd lawyer expert in legal technicalities. This term may have been inspired by Philadelphia attorney Andrew Hamilton’s successful defense of John Peter Zenger in a New York court in 1735.
There is a much earlier use of Philadelphia lawyer. The Gospel of Luke, in KJV, refers to a certain lawyer who asked Who is my neighbor? [To whom do I owe a duty of care?] Other translations say that the lawyer of Philadelphia asked this question. The city called Philadelphia in Bible times is the city now known as Amman, Jordan.
I learned this in New Testament Studies at Pacific Lutheran University here in Tacoma, Washington.
Theresa Tilton, Attorney at Law
Luke 10:25-37 (King James Version)
King James Version (KJV)
And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?
And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.
And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.
But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?
And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.
And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.
But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,
And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.
Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?
And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.
Let me not be thought as intending anything derogatory to the profession of the law, or to the distinguished members of that illustrious order. Well am I aware that we have in this ancient city innumerable worthy gentlemen, the knights-errant of modern days, who go about redressing wrongs and defending the defenseless, not for the love of filthy lucre, nor the selfish cravings of renown, but merely for the pleasure of doing good. Sooner would I throw this trusty pen into the flames and cork up my ink bottle forever, than infringe even for a nail’s breadth upon the dignity of these truly benevolent champions of the distressed. On the contrary, I allude merely to those caitiff scouts who, in these latter days of evil, infest the skirts of the profession, as did the recreant Cornish knights of yore the honorable order of chivalry, – who under its auspices, commit flagrant wrongs, – who thrive by quibbles, by quirks and chicanery, and like vermin increase the corruption in which they are engendered.
– Washington Irving, The History of New York 261-62 (1868) (1809)
A French observer is surprised to hear how often an English or an American lawyer quotes the opinions of others, and how little he alludes to his own; … This abnegation of his own opinion, and this implicit deference to the opinion of his forefathers, which are common to the English and American lawyer, this servitude of thought which he is obliged to profess, necessarily give him more timid habits and more conservative inclinations in England and America than in France.
– Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America 1:353 (Francis Bowen trans. 1862) (1835)
The good judge is not he who does hair-splitting justice to every allegation, but who, aiming at substantial justice, rules something intelligible for the guidance of suitors. The good lawyer is not the man who has an eye to every side and angle of contingency, and qualifies all his qualifications, but who throws himself on your part so heartily that he can get you out of a scrape.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Power, The Conduct of Life, 1860, in Complete Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson 6:53, 76 (1904)
Your law may be perfect, your knowledge of human affairs may be such as to enable you to apply it with wisdom and skill, and yet without individual acquaintance with men, their haunts and habits, the pursuit of the profession becomes difficult, slow, and expensive. A lawyer who does not know men is handicapped.
– Louis D. Brandeis, Letter to William H. Dunbar, 2 Feb. 1893, in Letters of Louis D. Brandeis 1:108 (Melvin I. Urofsky and David W. Levy eds. 1971)
Courage is the most important attribute of a lawyer. It is more important than competence or vision. It can never be an elective in any law school. It can never be de-limited, dated or outworn, and it should pervade the heart, the halls of justice and the chambers of the mind.
– Robert F. Kennedy, Speech at University of San Francisco Law School, San Francisco, 29 Sept. 1962, quoted in Sue G. Hall, The Quotable Robert F. Kennedy 111 (1967)
One hires lawyers as on hires plumbers, because one wants to keep one’s hands off the beastly drains.
– Amanda Cross, The Question of Max 61 (1976)
Send lawyers, guns and money, the shit has hit the fan.
– Warren Zevon, Lawyers, Guns and Money’ (song) (1978)
Some debts are not to be reckoned.
– Thomas Cromwell, played by Mark Rylance, on PBS’s Wolf Hall, Season 1 Episode 2 (2015)
The lawyers’ contribution to the civilizing of humanity is evidenced in the capacity of lawyers to argue furiously in the courtroom, then sit down as friends over a drink or dinner. This habit is often interpreted by the layman as a mark of their ultimate corruption. In my opinion, it is their greatest moral achievement: It is a characteristic of humane tolerance that is most desperately needed at the present time.
– John R. Silber, quoted in Wall Street Journal, 16 Mar. 1972, at 14
Anyone who believes a better day dawns when lawyers are eliminated bears the burden of explaining who will take their place. Who will protect the poor, the injured, the victims of negligence, the victims of racial violence?
– John J. Curtin, Jr., Remarks to American Bar Association, Atlanta, 13 Aug. 1991, quoted in Time, 26 Aug. 1991, at 54
Lawyers, Preachers, and Tomtits Eggs, there are more of them hatch’d than come to perfection.
– Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1734, in Papers of Benjamin Franklin 1:354 (Leonard W. Labaree ed. 1959)
I should apologize, perhaps, for the style of this bill. I dislike the verbose and intricate style of the English statutes, and in our revised code I endeavored to restore it to the simple one of the ancient statues, in such original bills as I drew in that work. I suppose the reformation has not been acceptable, as it has been little followed. You, however, can easily correct this bill to the taste of my brother lawyers, by making every other word a said or aforesaid, and saying everything over two or three times, so that nobody but we of the craft can untwist the diction, and find out what it means; and that, too, not so plainly but that we may conscientiously divide one half on each side. Mend it, therefore, in form and substance to the orthodox taste, and make it what it should be; or, if you think it radically wrong, try something else, and let us make a beginning in some way. No matter how wrong, experience will amend it as we go along, and make it effectual in the end.
– Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Joseph C. Cabell, 9 Sept. 1817, in Writings of Thomas Jefferson 17:417-18 (Andrew A. Lipscomb ed. 1904)
There are two things wrong with almost all legal writing. One is its style. The other is its content.
– Fred Rodell, Goodbye to Law Reviews, 23 Virginia Law Review 38, 38 (1936)
Laws are sand, customs are rock. Laws can be evaded and punishment escaped, but an openly transgressed custom brings sure punishment.
– Mark Twain, The Gorky Incident, 1906, in Mark Twain: Letters From the Earth 155, 156 (Bernard De Voto ed. 1939)
What we need to do is to stop passing laws. We have enough laws now to govern the world for the next 10,000 years. Every crank who has a foolish notion that he would like to impose upon everybody else hastens to some legislative body and demands that it be graven upon the statutes. Every fanatic who wants to control his neighbor’s conduct is here or at some other legislative body demanding that a law be passed to regulate that neighbor’s conduct.
– James A. Reed, in 67 Congressional Record 10,708 (1926)
The government of the United States has been emphatically termed a government of laws, and not of men. It will certainly cease to deserve this high appellation, if the laws furnish no remedy for the violation of a vested legal right.
– Chief Justice John Marshall, Marbury v. Madison 5 U.S. (1 Cranch) 137, 163 (1803)
See also OBEDIENCE TO LAW 2, OBEDIENCE TO LAW 3
In the United States, every one is personally interested in enforcing the obedience of the whole community to the law; for as the minority may shortly rally the majority to its principles, it is interested in professing that respect for the decrees of the legislator which it may soon have occasion to claim for its own. However irksome an enactment may be, the citizen of the United States complies with it, not only because it is the work of the majority, but because it is his own, and he regards it as a contract to which he is himself a party.
– Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America 1:317 (Francis Bowen trans. 1862) (1835)
As [a citizen] is a law-maker, he should not be a law-breaker, for he ought to be conscious that every departure from the established ordinances of society is an infraction of his rights. His power can only be maintained by the supremacy of the laws, as in monarchies, the authority of the king is asserted by obedience to his orders. The citizen in lending a cheerful assistance to the ministers of the law, on all occasions, is merely helping to maintain his own power. This feature in particular, distinguishes the citizen from the subject.
– James Fenimore Cooper, The American Democrat 83 (1956) (1838)
A very wise father once remarked, that in the government of his children, he forbade as few things as possible; a wise legislation would do the same. It is folly to make laws on subjects beyond human prerogative, knowing that in the very nature of things they must be set aside. To make laws that man can not and will not obey, serves to bring all law into contempt. It is very important in a republic, that the people should respect the laws, for if we throw them to the winds, what becomes of civil government?
– Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Address before 10th National Woman’s rights Convention, New York, May 1860, in History of Woman Suffrage 1:716, 721 (Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda J. Gage eds. 1881)
The words which are criticized as dirty [in James Joyce’s Ulysses] are old Saxon words known to almost all men and, I venture, to many women, and are such words as would be naturally and habitually used, I believe, by the types of folk whose life, physical, and mental, Joyce is seeking to describe. In respect of the recurrent emergence of the theme of sex in the minds of his characters, it must always be remembered that his locale was Celtic and his season spring.
– John M. Woolsey, United States v. One Book Called Ulysses, 5 F. Supp. 182, 183-84 (S.D.N.Y. 1933)
[Standard for obscenity:] Whether to the average person, applying contemporary community standards, the dominant theme of the material taken as a whole appeals to prurient interest.
– William J. Brennan, Jr. Roth v. United States, 354 U.S. 476, 489 (1957)
I have reached the conclusion . . . that under the First and Fourteenth Amendments criminal laws in this area [obscenity] are constitutionally limited to hard-core pornography. I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know if when I see it; and the motion picture involved in this case is not that.
– Potter Stewart, Jacobellis v. Ohio, 378 U.S. 184, 197 (1964) (concurring)
The First Amendment guarantees liberty of human expression in order to preserve in our Nation what Mr. Justice Holmes called a free trade in ideas. To that end, the Constitution protects more than just a man’s freedom to say or write or publish what he wants. It secures as well the liberty of each man to decide for himself what he will read and to what he will listen. The Constitution guarantees, in short, a society of free choice.
– Potter Stewart, Ginsberg v. New York, 390 U.S. 629, 649 (1968) (concurring)
The term f—–g pigs in the context in which it was used referred not to copulation of porcine animals but was rather a highly insulting epithet directed to the police officers…..Appellant’s use of the vulgarism describing the filial partner in an oedipal relationship is fairly to be viewed as an epithet rather than as a phrase appealing to a shameful or morbid interest in intra-family sex….There is, after all, a strong possibility that an expert witness called in the matter before us might have testified to the occasional use of the offending profane adjective in bar association quarters or in trial judges’ lounges-alas, all too often in reference to a decision of the Court of Appeal.
– Robert S. Thompson, People v. Price, 4 Cal. App. 3d 941, 948-49, 84 Cal. Rptr. 585 (1970) (dissenting)
I put sixteen years into that damn obscenity thing. I tried and I tried, and I waffled back and forth, and I finally gave up. If you can’t define it, you can’t prosecute people for it. And that’s why, in the Paris Adult Theatre decision, I finally abandoned the whole effort. I reached the conclusion that every criminal-obscenity statute-and most obscenity laws are criminal-was necessarily unconstitutional, because it was impossible, from the statute, to define obscenity. Accordingly, anybody charged with violating the statute would not have known that his conduct was a violation of the law. He wouldn’t know whether the material was obscene until the court told him.
– William J. Brennan, Jr., quoted in Nat Hentoff, Profiles: The Constitutionalist, New Yorker, 12 Mar. 1990, at 45, 56
The appellant has attempted to distinguish the factual situation in this case from that in Renfroe v. Higgins Rack Coating and Manufacturing Co., Inc. (1969), 17 Mich App 259. He didn’t. We couldn’t.
Affirmed. Costs to appellee.
– John H. Gillis, Denny v. Radar Industries, 28 Mich. App. 294, 294 (1970)
* This is the opinion in its entirety.
Literary license allows an avid alliterationist authority to postulate parenthetically that the predominating principles presented here may be summarized thusly: Preventing public pollution permits promiscuous perusal of personality but persistent perspicacious patron persuasively provided pertinent perdurable preponderating presumption precedent preventing prison.
– H. Sol Clark, Banks v. State, 132 Ga. App. 809, 810, 209 S.E. 2d 252 (1974)
Our amended Constitution is the lodestar for our aspirations. Like every text worth reading, it is not crystalline. The phrasing is broad and the limitations of its provisions are not clearly marked. Its majestic generalities and ennobling pronouncements are both luminous and obscure. This ambiguity of course calls forth interpretation, the interaction of reader and text. The encounter with the Constitutional text has been, in many senses, my life’s work.
– William J. Brennan, Jr., The Constitution of the United States: Contemporary Ratification (speech), Washington, D.C. 12 Oct. 1985, in Original Meaning Jurisprudence: A Sourcebook 151, 152 (1987)
I, Andrew Johnson, …..hereby proclaim and declare unconditionally, and without reservation, to all and to every person who directly or indirectly participated in the late insurrection or rebellion, a full pardon and amnesty for the offence of treason against the United States, or of adhering to their enemies during the late civil war, with restoration of all rights, privileges, and immunities under the Constitution and the laws which have been made in pursuance thereof.
– Proclamation 25 Dec., 1868, 15 Stat. 711, 712
The patent system…added the fuel of interest to the fire of genius.
– Abraham Lincoln, Second Lecture on Discoveries and Inventions, Jacksonville, Ill., 11 Feb.1859, in Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, 3:363 (Roy P. Basler ed. 1953)
[To the Court requesting a precedent for his position during the Crafts trial:] I will look, your Honor, and endeavor to find a precedent, if you require it; though it would seem to be a pity that the Court should lose the honor of being the first to establish so just a rule.
– Rufus Choate, quoted in Works of Rufus Choate 1:292 (Samuel G. Brown ed. 1862)
We recognize that stare decisis embodies an important social policy. It represents an element of continuity in law, and is rooted in the psychologic need to satisfy reasonable expectations. But stare decisis is a principle of policy and not a mechanical formula of adherence to the latest decision, however recent and questionable, when such adherence involves collision with a prior doctrine more embracing in its scope, intrinsically sounder, and verified by experience…This Court, unlike the House of Lords, has from the beginning rejected a doctrine of disability at self-correction.
– Felix Frankfurter, Helvering v. Hallock, 309 U.S. 106, 119, 121 (1940)
I would rather create a precedent than find one.
– William O. Douglas, The Court Years: 1939-1975, at 179 (1980)
The right to be let alone is indeed the beginning of all freedom.
– William O. Douglas, Public Utilities Comm’n v. Pollak, 343 U.S. 451, 467 (1952) (dissenting)
We are rapidly entering the age of no privacy, where everyone is open to surveillance at all times; where there are no secrets from government.
– William O. Douglas, Osborn v. United States, 385 U.S. 323, 341 (1966) (dissenting)
In no country in the world is the love of property more active and more anxious than in the United States; nowhere does the majority display less inclination for those principles which threaten to alter, in whatever manner, the laws of property.
– Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America 2:314 (Francis Bowen trans.1862) (1835)
Any person who is the head of a family, or who has arrived at the age of twenty-one years, and is a citizen of the United States, or who shall have filed his declaration of intention to become such, as required by the naturalization laws of the United States, and who has never borne arms against the United States Government or given aid and comfort to its enemies, shall, from and after the first January, eighteen hundred and sixty-three, be entitled to enter one quarter section or a less quantity of unappropriated public lands, upon which said person may have filed a preemption claim, or which may, at the time the application is made, be subject to preemption at one dollar and twenty-five cents, or less, per acre; or eighty acres or less of such unappropriated lands, at two dollars and fifty cents per acre, to be located in a body, in conformity to the legal subdivisions of the public lands, and after the same shall have been surveyed.
– Homestead Act of 1862, ch. 75, § 1, 12 Stat. 392, 392
With the rise of property, considered as an institution, with the settlement of its rights, and, above all, with the established certainty of its transmission to lineal descendants, came the first possibility among mankind of the true family in its modern acceptation. . . It is impossible to separate property, considered in the concrete, from civilization, or for civilization to exist without its presence, protection, and regulated inheritance. Of property in this sense, all barbarous nations are necessarily ignorant.
– Lewis Henry Morgan, Systems of Consanguinity and Affinity 492 (1870)
The primary duty of a lawyer engaged in public prosecution is not to convict, but to see that justice is done.
– Canons of Professional Ethics Canon 5 (1908)
[William Jennings Bryan:] Your Honor, I think I can shorten this testimony. The only purpose Mr. Darrow has is to slur at the Bible, but I will answer his question. I will answer it all at once, and I have no objection in the world, I want the world to know that this man, who does not believe in a God, is trying to use a court in Tennessee-
[Clarence S. Darrow:] I object to that.
[Bryan:] to slur at it, and while it will require time, I am willing to take it.
[Darrow:] I object to your statement. I am exempting you on your fool ideas that no intelligent Christian on earth believes.
– Clarence S. Darrow, Scopes Trial, Dayton, Tenn., 20 July 1925, in The World’s Most Famous Court Trial 304 (1925)
Men may believe what they cannot prove. They may not be put to the proof of their religious doctrines or beliefs. Religious experiences which are as real as life to some may be incomprehensible to others.
– William O. Douglas, United States v. Ballard, 322 U.S. 78, 86 (1944)
Among religions in this country which do not teach what would generally be considered a belief in the existence of God are Buddhism, Taoism, Ethical Culture, Secular Humanism and others.
– Hugo L. Black, Torcaso v. Watkins, 367 U.S. 488, 495 n.11 (1961)
This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember, or overthrow it.
– Abraham Lincoln, First Inaugural Address, 4 Mar. 1861, in Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln 4:269 (Roy P. Basler ed. 1953)
The word revolution has of course acquired a subversive connotation in modern times. But it has roots that are eminently respectable in American history. This country is the product of revolution. Our very being emphasizes that when grievances pile high and there are no political remedies, the exercise of sovereign powers reverts to the people. Teaching and espousing revolution-as distinguished from indulging in overt acts-are therefore obviously within the range of the First Amendment.
– William O. Douglas, W.E.B. Du Bois Clubs v. Clark, 389 U.S. 309, 315-16 (1967)
If we cannot secure all our rights, let us secure what we can.
– Thomas Jefferson, Letter to James Madison, 15 Mar. 1789, in Papers of Thomas Jefferson 14:660 (Julian P. Boyd ed. 1958)
But the word right is one of the most deceptive of pitfalls; it is so easy to slip from a qualified meaning in the premise to an unqualified one in the conclusion. Most rights are qualified.
– Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., American Bank and Trust Co. v. Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, 256 U.S. 350, 358 (1921)
This freedom of movement is the very essence of our free society, setting us apart. Like the right of assembly and the right of association, it often makes all other rights meaningful-knowing, studying, arguing, exploring, conversing, observing and even thinking. Once the right to travel is curtailed, all other rights suffer, just as when curfew or home detention is placed on a person.
– William O. Douglas, Aptheker v. Secretary of State, 378 U.S. 500, 520 (1964) (concurring)
America is of course sovereign; but her sovereignty is woven in an international web that makes her one of the family of nations. The ties with all the continents are close-commercially as well as culturally. Our concerns are planetary, beyond sunrises and sunsets. Citizenship implicates us in those problems and perplexities, as well as in domestic ones. We cannot exercise and enjoy citizenship in world perspective without the right to travel abroad; and I see no constitutional way to curb it unless, as I said, there is the power to detain.
– William O. Douglas, Aptheker v. Secretary of State, 378 U.S. 500, 520-21 (1964) (concurring)
Of course, I believe that every child has a right to decent education and shelter, food and medical care; of course, I believe that refugees from political oppression have a right to a haven in a free land; of course I believe that every person has a right to work in dignity and for a decent wage. I do believe and affirm the social contract that grounds these rights. But more to the point I also believe that I am commanded-that we are obligated-to realize those rights.
– Robert M. Cover, Obligation: A Jewish Jurisprudence of the Social Order, 5 Journal of Law and Religion 65, 73-74 (1988)
And I take this opportunity to declare, that …I will to my dying day oppose, with all the powers and faculties God has given me, all such instruments of slavery on the one hand, and villainy on the other, as this writ of assistance is. It appears to me…the worst instrument of arbitrary power, the most destructive of English liberty, and the fundamental principles of the constitution, that ever was found in an English law-book.
– James Otis, Argument against the writs of assistance, Boston, Feb. 1761, quoted in John Adams, Abstract of the Argument for and against the Writts of Assistance, 1761, in Legal Papers of John Adams 2:134, 139-40 (L. Kinvin Wroth and Hiller B. Zobel eds. 1965)
Your Honours will find in the old book, concerning the office of a justice of peace, precedents of general warrants to search suspected houses. But in more modern books you will find only special warrants to search such and such houses specially named, in which the complainant has before sworn he suspects his goods are concealed; and you will find it adjudged that special warrants only are legal. In the same manner I rely on it, that the writ prayed for in this petition being general is illegal. It is a power that places the liberty of every man in the hands of every petty officer.
– James Otis, Argument against the writs of assistance, Boston, Feb. 1761, quoted in John Adams, Abstract of the Argument for and against the Writts of Assistance, 1761, in Legal Papers of John Adams 2:134, 141-42 (L. Kinvin Wroth and Hiller B. Zobel eds. 1965)
Now one of the most essential branches of English liberty, is the freedom of one’s house. A man’s house is his castle;* and while he is quiet, he is as well guarded as a prince in his castle. This writ [of assistance], if it should be declared legal, would totally annihilate this privilege.
– James Otis, Argument against the writs of assistance, Boston, Feb. 1761, quoted in John Adams, Abstract of the Argument for and against the Writts of Assistance, 1761, in Legal Papers of John Adams 2:134; 142 (L. Kinvin Wroth and Hiller B. Zobel eds. 1965)
*Burton Stevenson, Home Book of Proverbs, Maxims and Familiar Phrases 1192 (1948), traces the proverb, A man’s house is his castle, back to 1567 and notes legal usages of it by Sir Edward Coke in the 17th century.
That general warrants, whereby an officer of messenger may be commanded to search suspected places without evidence of a fact committed, or to seize any person or persons not named, or whose offence is not particularly described and supported by evidence, are grievous and oppressive, and ought not to be granted.
– Virginia Declaration of Rights of 1776, § 10, in Federal and State Constitutions 7:3812, 3814 (Francis N. Thorpe ed. 1909)
It shall be unlawful for any person, directly or indirectly, by the use of any means or instrumentality of interstate commerce, or of the mails…
(A) To employ any device, scheme, or artifice to defraud,
(B) To make any untrue statement of a material fact or to omit to state a material fact necessary in order to make the statements made, in the light of the circumstances under which they were made, not misleading, or
(C) To engage in any act, practice, or course of business which operates or would operate as a fraud or deceit upon any person, in connection with the purchase or sale of any security.
– Rule 10b-5,13 Fed. Reg. 8183-84 (1948) (codified at 17 C.F.R. § 240.10b-5)
[Definition of insider trading:] Stealing too fast.
– Calvin Trillin, The Inside on Insider Trading, in If You Can’t Say Something Nice 141, 143 (1987)
He must make instant decisions that would take months for a lawyer.
– Paul Harvey, on policemen
Racial discrimination in public education is unconstitutional…..All provisions of federal, state or local law requiring or permitting such discrimination must yield to this principle.
– Earl Warren, Brown v. Board of Education, 349 U.S. 294, 298 (1955)
The hardest case we ever heard of lived in Arkansas. He was only fourteen years old. One night he deliberately murdered his father and mother in cold blood, with a meat-axe. He was tried and found guilty. The Judge drew on his black cap, and in a voice choked with emotion asked the young prisoner if he had anything to say before the sentence of the Court was passed on him….Why, no, replied the prisoner, I think I haven’t, though I hope yer Honor will show some consideration FOR THE FEELINGS OF A POOR ORPHAN!
– Artemus Ward, A Hard Case, in Artemus Ward in London 183, 183-84 (1867)
I’m often asked why there is such a great variation among sentences imposed by Texas judges. I can only quote the Texas judge who was asked why a killer sometimes doesn’t even get indicted and a cattle thief can get ten years. The judge answered: A lot of fellows ought to be shot, but we don’t have any cows that need stealin’.
– Pearcy Foreman, quoted in Michael Dorman, King of the Courtroom 104 (1969)
Oyez, oyez, oyez! All persons having business before the honorable, the Supreme Court of the United States, are admonished to draw near and give their attention, for the court is now sitting. God save the United States and this honorable Court.
– Marshal’s cry at the opening of public sessions of the United States Supreme Court
Equal Justice Under Law.
– Inscription on West Portico of Supreme Court Building, Washington, D.C.
Justice the Guardian of Liberty.
– Inscription on East Portico of Supreme Court Building, Washington, D.C. Court
[We’ll] never really know how many brothers-in-law were ‘accidentally kilt’ by their kin who were holding their shotgun and stepping over a fence at the same time.
– Robert Meriweather, Professor of Political Science, Education and History and Dean of Students at Hendrix College (1959-1993)
Knowing Master Huckaback to be a man of his word, as well as one who would have others so, I was careful to be in good time the next morning . . .
– R.D. Blackmore, Lorna Doone
Justice the Guardian of Liberty.
– Inscription on East Portico of Supreme Court Building, Washington, D.C.
Anything less than full justice is cruelty.
– William Penn
Your brand is your promise to the consumer. It’s your reputation. It’s the encapsulation of your core values. . .When someone attempts to steal our brand it’s personal, as though some part of my family has been assaulted.
– Doug Shafer, A Vineyard In Napa
Here this extraordinary man [Charles Townsend], then Chancellor of the Exchequer, found himself in great straits. To please universally was the object of his life; but to tax and to please, no more than to love and to be wise, is not given to men. However, he attempted it.
– Edmund Burke, Speech on American Taxation, 19 April 1774, in Writings and Speeches of Edmund Burke 2:409, 454 (Paul Langford ed. 1981)
Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.*
– Benjamin Franklin, Letter to Jean Baptiste Le Roy, 13 Nov. 1789, in Writings of Benjamin Franklin 10:69 (Albert H. Smyth ed. 1907)
*Not the man in the moon, not the groaning-board, not the speaking of friar Bacon’s brazen- head, not the inspiration of mother Shipton, or the miracles of Dr. Faustus, things as certain as death and taxes, can be more firmly believed. – Daniel Defoe, The History of the Devil, 1726, in Defoe’s Works 3:283, 481 (1912)
I don’t see why a man shouldn’t pay an inheritance tax. If a Country is good enough to pay taxes to while you are living, it’s good enough to pay in after you die. By the time you die you should be so used to paying taxes that it would just be almost second nature to you.
– Will Rogers, They’ve Got a New Dictionary at Ellis Island, 28 Feb. 1926, in Will Rogers’ Weekly Articles 2:157, 158 (James M. Smallwood ed. 1980)
[Responding to a statement that laws should be considerate of the poor:] Not more so than of the rich. The laws should be equal and just; and the poor are the last people who ought to wish them otherwise, since they are certain to be the losers when any other principle governs….No class suffers so much by a departure from the rule, as the rich have a thousand other means of attaining their ends, when the way is left clear to them, by setting up any other master than the right.
– James Fenimore Cooper, The Chainbearer, 1845, in Complete Works of J. Fenimore Cooper 27:94-95 (1893)
The true form of the Rule against Perpetuities is believed to be this: – NO INTEREST SUBJECT TO A CONDITION PRECEDENT IS GOOD, UNLESS THE CONDITION MUST BE FULFILLED, IF AT ALL, WITHIN TWENTY-ONE YEARS AFTER SOME LIFE IN BEING AT THE CREATION OF THE INTEREST.
– John Chipman Gray, The Rule Against Perpetuities 144 (1886)
During my life, and now by my will and codicils, I have given considerable sums of money to promote public or humanitarian causes which have had my deliberate and sympathetic interest. If any of my children think excessive such gifts of mine outside of my family, I ask them to remember not only the merit of the causes and the corresponding usefulness of the gifts but also the dominating ideals of my life.
They should never forget the dangers which unfortunately attend the inheritance of large fortunes, even though the money come from the painstaking affections of a father. I beg of them to remember that such danger lies not only in the obvious temptation to enervating luxury, but in the inducement . . . to withdraw from the wholesome duty of vigorous, serious, useful work. In my opinion a life not largely dedicated to such work cannot be happy and honorable; And to such it is my earnest hope-and will be to my death-that my children shall, so far as their strength permits, be steadfastly devoted.
– Joseph Pulitzer, Will, in James Wyman Barrett, Joseph Pulitzer and His World 295-96 (1941)
And do as adversaries do in law – Strive mightily, but eat and drink as friends.
– William Shakespeare, The Taming of the Shrew, act I, scene ii
Instead, I want to see a mighty flood of justice, a river of righteous living that will never run dry.
– The Holy Bible – Amos 5:24
In the heart of every lawyer, worthy of the name, there burns a deep ambition so to bear himself that the profession may be stronger by reason of his passage through its ranks, and that he may leave the law itself a better instrument of human justice than he found it.
– John W. Davis
I do solemnly swear or affirm:
I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Arkansas, and I will faithfully perform the duties of attorney at law.
I will maintain the respect and courtesy due to courts of justice, judicial officers, and those who assist them.
I will, to the best of my ability, abide by the Model Rules of Professional Conduct and any other standards of ethics proclaimed by the courts, and in doubtful cases I will attempt to abide by the spirit of those ethical rules and precepts of honor and fair play.
To opposing parties and their counsel, I pledge fairness, integrity, and civility, not only in court, but also in all written and oral communications.
I will not reject, from any consideration personal to myself, the cause of the impoverished, the defenseless, or the oppressed.
I will endeavor always to advance the cause of justice and to defend and to keep inviolate the rights of all persons whose trust is conferred upon me as an attorney at law.
– Oath administered to new attorneys in Arkansas
We will either find a way, or make one.
In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.
– Albert Einstein
I have lived my life, and I have fought my battles, not against the weak and the poor – anybody can do that – but against power, against injustice, against oppression, and I have asked no odds from them, and I never shall.
– Clarence S. Darrow, Defense against charge of jury bribing in McNamara Case, 1912, in Attorney for the Damned 491, 497 (Arthur Weinberg ed. 1957)
We cannot not be here. People look to us.
-Mari Wright, Executive Director of the Southwest Georgia Chapter of the American Red Cross.
The law favors farmers.
– an old folk saying
…There nothing more expensive than a bad lawyer.
Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.
– Albert Einstein
In matters of truth and justice, there is no difference between large and small problems, for issues concerning people are all the same.
– Albert Einstein
It’s never about the opponent or who we’re facing. . . . Coach likes to say they’re faceless – and they are. It’s about us and about what we do and how we take everything on the field. It doesn’t matter who we play. We’re trying to play the way we’re capable of playing.
– Alabama senior quarterback AJ McCarron, quoting Coach Nick Saban
Men of few words are the best men.
– William Shakespeare
This report, by its very length, defends itself against the risk of being read.
– Sir Winston Churchhill
I have made this [letter] longer, because I have not had the time to make it shorter.
– French writer and mathematician Blaise Pascal
Funny Order from Kenton, KY Circuit Court
– Click to download PDF
[W]hat many of those who oppose the use of juries in civil trials seem to ignore [is that t]he founders of our Nation considered the right of trial by jury in civil cases an important bulwark against tyranny and corruption, a safeguard too precious to be left to the whim of the sovereign, or, it might be added, to that of the judiciary.
– Chief Justice William Rehnquist
in Parklane Hosiery Co. v. Shore, 439 U.S. 322, 343 (1979)
Men are never so likely to settle a question rightly as when they discuss it freely.
– Thomas Babington Macaulay
There was not a member of the Constitutional Convention who had the least objection to what is contended for by the advocates for a Bill of Rights and trial by jury.
– George Washington (1788)
It is through trial by jury that the people share in government, a consideration which ought to make our legislators very cautious how they take away this mode of trial by new, trifling and vexatious enactments.
– Lord John Russell, Prime Minister of England (1823)
What individual can so well assess the amount of damages which a plaintiff ought to recover for an injury he has received than an intelligent jury?
– Henry Peter Brougham, Lord Chancellor of England (1828)
The law of England has established trial by judge and jury in the conviction that it is the mode best calculated to ascertain the truth.
– Jeremy Bentham, English Philosopher (1832)
The civil jury is the most effective form of sovereignty of the people. It defies the aggressions of time and man. During the reigns of Henry VIII (1509-1547) and Elizabeth I (1158-1603), the civil jury did in reality save the liberties of England.
– Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America (1835)
The jury system is the handmaid of freedom. It takes on the spirit of liberty, and grows with the progress of constitutional government. Rome, Sparta and Carthage fell because they did not know it, let not England and America fall because they threw it away.
– Charles S. May, Address to the Michigan Law School (1875)
In the Declaration of Independence, the King of Great Britain was arraigned before the world for depriving us of trial by jury. This language evinces the purpose of our representatives to risk their lives and their fortunes to secure the ancient right of trial by jury.
– Justice Alphonso C. Avery of North Carolina (1892)
In the jury box, no less than in the polling booth, every day the American way of life is given its rebirth. American jurymen are the custodians and guarantors of the democratic ideal.
– Justice Bernard Botein of New York (1946)
The more I see of trial by judge, the more highly I think of trial by jury.
– Australian King’s Counsel B. R. Wise (1948)
Through 500 years of human history the jury trial has been regarded as an unalienable right cherished in the thinking of freedom-seeking peoples. It remains today a refuse against all those little tyrannies plotted behind hypocritical fronts in well-respected places theoretically dedicated to the preservation of basic civil liberties.
– Judge William J. Palmer of California (1958)
In the minds of American colonists, trial by jury was the firmest barrier of English liberty; it survives today as the voice of the people.
– Arthur Schlesinger, The Birth of the Nation (1968)
The most persistent hate is that which doth degenerate from love.
– Map, De Nugis Curialium, 245
[N]o man’s life, liberty or fortune is safe while the legislature is in session.
– Benjamin Franklin
The right of trial by jury in civil cases is fundamental to our history and jurisprudence. The founders of our nation considered it an important bulwark against tyranny and corruption, a safeguard too precious to be left to the whim of the sovereign.
– U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist (1979)
The concept of the jury system is as close as any society has ever come to true democracy.
-Paula Di Perna, Faces of American Justice (1984)
Plaintiff respectfully demands trial by jury and tenders the required jury fee.
– Non-parenthetical requirement in every complaint alleging personal injury or wrongful death, Law Offices of Gary Green
A jury consists of twelve persons chosen to decide who has the better lawyer.
– Robert Frost
The leading rule for the lawyer, as for the man of every other calling, is diligence. Leave nothing for to-morrow [sic] which can be done to-day [sic]. Never let your correspondence fall behind. Whatever piece of business you have in hand, before stopping, do all the labor pertaining to it which can then be done. The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume II, Notes for a Law Lecture (July 1, 1850), p. 81.
Law is nothing else but the best reason of wise men applied for ages to the transactions and business of mankind. Recollected Words of Abraham Lincoln compiled and edited by Don E. Fehrenbacher and Virginia Fehrenbacher (Stanford, Stanford University Press, 1996), p. 243.
Let reverence for the laws, be breathed by every American mother, to the lisping babe, that prattles on her lap – let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in Primmers, spelling books, and in Almanacs; let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume I, Address Before the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois (January 27, 1838), p. 112.
When I have a particular case in hand, I have that motive and feel an interest in the case, feel an interest in ferreting out the questions to the bottom, love to dig up the question by the roots and hold it up and dry it before the fires of the mind. Recollected Words of Abraham Lincoln compiled and edited by Don E. Fehrenbacher and Virginia Fehrenbacher (Stanford, Stanford University Press, 1996), p. 242.
If you wish to be a lawyer, attach no consequence to the place you are in, or the person you are with; but get books, sit down anywhere, and go to reading for yourself. That will make a lawyer of you quicker than any other way. The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume II, Letter to William H. Grigsby (August 3, 1858), p. 535.
There is a vague popular belief that lawyers are necessarily dishonest. I say vague, because when we consider to what extent confidence and honors are reposed in and conferred upon lawyers by the people, it appears improbable that their impression of dishonesty is very distinct and vivid. Yet the impression is common, almost universal. Let no young man choosing the law for a calling for a moment yield to the popular belief – resolve to be –> honest at all events; and if in your own judgment you cannot be an honest lawyer, <– resolve to be honest without being a lawyer. Choose some other occupation, rather than one in the choosing of which you do, in advance, consent to be a knave. The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume II, Notes for a Law Lecture (July 1, 1850), p. 82.
Again, a law may be both constitutional and expedient, and yet may be administered in an unjust and unfair way. The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume VI, Opinion on the Draft (September 14, 1863), p. 448.
No client ever had money enough to bribe my conscience or to stop its utterance against wrong, and oppression. My conscience is my own – my creators – not man’s. I shall never sink the rights of mankind to the malice, wrong, or avarice of another’s wishes, though those wishes come to me in the relation of client and attorney. Recollected Words of Abraham Lincoln compiled and edited by Don E. Fehrenbacher and Virginia Fehrenbacher (Stanford, Stanford University Press, 1996), p. 242.
In law it is good policy to never plead what you need not, lest you oblige yourself to prove what you can not. The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume I, Letter to Usher F. Linder (February 20, 1848), p. 453.
When I so pressingly urge a strict observance of all the laws, let me not be understood as saying there are no bad laws, nor that grievances may not arise, for the redress of which, no legal provisions have been made. I mean to say no such thing. But I do mean to say, that, although bad laws, if they exist, should be repealed as soon as possible, still while they continue in force, for the sake of example, they should be religiously observed. The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume I, Address Before the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois (January 27, 1838), p. 112.
If you are resolutely determined to make a lawyer of yourself, the thing is more than half done already. The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume II, Letter to Isham Reavis (November 5, 1855), p. 327.
I dared not trust the case on the presumption that the court knows everything. In fact, I argued it on the presumption that the court didn’t know anything. Recollected Words of Abraham Lincoln compiled and edited by Don E. Fehrenbacher and Virginia Fehrenbacher (Stanford, Stanford University Press, 1996), p. 243.
Dear Sir: Yours of the 24th. asking ‘the best mode of obtaining a thorough knowledge of the law’ is received. The mode is very simple, though laborious, and tedious. It is only to get the books, and read, and study them carefully. Begin with Blackstone’s Commentaries, and after reading it carefully through, say twice, take up Chitty’s Pleading, Greenleaf’s Evidence, & Story’s Equity &c. in succession. Work, work, work, is the main thing. The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume IV, Letter to John M. Brockman (September 25, 1860), p. 121.
I understand that it is a maxim of law, that a poor plea may be a good plea to a bad declaration. The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume III, Third Debate with Stephen A. Douglas at Jonesboro, Illinois (September 15, 1858), p. 123.
Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other one thing. The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume II, Letter to Isham Reavis (November 5, 1855), p. 327.
Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can. Point out to them how the nominal winner is often a real loser—in fees, expenses, and waste of time. As a peacemaker the lawyer has a superior opportunity of being a good man. There will still be business enough. The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume II, Notes for a Law Lecture (July 1, 1850), p. 81.
Extemporaneous speaking should be practised [sic] and cultivated. It is the lawyer’s avenue to the public. However able and faithful he may be in other respects, people are slow to bring him business if he cannot make a speech. And yet there is not a more fatal error to young lawyers than relying too much on speech-making. If any one, upon his rare powers of speaking, shall claim an exemption from the drudgery of the law, his case is a failure in advance. The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume II, Notes for a Law Lecture (July 1, 1850), p. 81.
To state the question more directly, are all the laws, but one, to go unexecuted, and the government itself go to pieces, lest that one be violated? Even in such a case, would not the official oath be broken, if the government should be overthrown, when it was believed that disregarding the single law, would tend to preserve it? But it was not believed that this question was presented. It was not believed that any law was violated. The provision of the Constitution that ‘The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, shall not be suspended unless when, in cases of rebellion or invasion, the public safety may require it,’ is equivalent to a provision—is a provision—that such privilege may be suspended when, in cases of rebellion, or invasion, the public safety does require it. It was decided that we have a case of rebellion, and that the public safety does require the qualified suspension of the privilege of the writ which was authorized to be made. Lincoln’s Message to Congress in Special Session, July 4, 1861.
Once Lincoln’s law partner filed a plea that was not in accord with known facts. Lincoln told him: Hadn’t we better withdraw that plea? You know it’s a sham, and a sham is very often but another name for a lie. Don’t let it go on record. The cursed thing may come staring us in the face long after this suit has been forgotten. Recollected Words of Abraham Lincoln compiled and edited by Don E. Fehrenbacher and Virginia Fehrenbacher (Stanford, Stanford University Press, 1996), pp. 239-240.
Lincoln once gave the following advice before his associate gave the opening statement to the jury: I want you to open the case, and when you are doing it, talk to the jury as though your client’s fate depends on every word you utter. Forget that you have any one to fall back upon, and you will do justice to yourself and your client. Recollected Words of Abraham Lincoln compiled and edited by Don E. Fehrenbacher and Virginia Fehrenbacher (Stanford, Stanford University Press, 1996), p. 192.
In a civil case Lincoln was once asked to define the term preponderance of the evidence. He said: Gentlemen of the jury, did you ever see a pair of steel yards or a pair of store scales? If you did I can explain, I think, to your satisfaction the meaning of the word. If the plaintiff has introduced any evidence, put that in the scales and have it weighed. Say it weighs sixteen ounces. If the defendant has introduced any evidence in the case, put that in the scales; and if that evidence weighs sixteen ounces, the scales are balanced and there is no preponderance of evidence on either side. There are four witnesses on each side of this case. If the plaintiff’s evidence weighs one grain of wheat more than the defendant’s, then the plaintiff has the preponderance of evidence – his side of the scales goes down, is the heaviest. If this defendant’s evidence weighs one grain of wheat more than the plaintiff’s, then the defendant’s side of the scales goes down, is the heaviest; and that movement of the scales tells what is the preponderance of evidence. Now apply this illustration to the state of your mind on weighing the evidence for the plaintiff and defendant. Recollected Words of Abraham Lincoln compiled and edited by Don E. Fehrenbacher and Virginia Fehrenbacher (Stanford, Stanford University Press, 1996), p. 243.
A lean compromise is better than a fat lawsuit. – George Herbert, British Poet
There are more lawyers in just Washington, D.C. than in all of Japan. They’ve got about as many lawyers as we have sumo-wrestlers. – Lee Iacocca, Former President and CEO of Chrysler
Every unfortunate event does not give rise to lawsuit. – Judge Mills Lane, District Court Judge and TV Personality
Where there is a will there is a lawsuit. – Addison Mizner, American Architect
Avoid lawsuits beyond all things; they pervert your conscience, impair your health, and dissipate your property. – Jean de la Bruyere, French Philosopher & Essayist
We need a law that will permit a voter to sue a candidate for breach of promise. – Mark Twain, American Author and Humorist
Anybody who thinks talk is cheap should get some legal advice. – Franklin P. Jones, American Journalist and Humorist
Things aren’t right. If a burglar breaks into your home and you shoot him, he can sue you. For what, restraint of trade? – Bill Maher, American Political Commentator, TV Personality, Comedian
The legal system is often a mystery, and we, its priests, preside over rituals baffling to everyday citizens. – Henry Miller
The only people who benefit from lawsuits are lawyers. I think we made a couple of them rich. – Gavin Rossdale, Musician
Lawyer: One who defends you at the risk of your pocketbook, reputation and life. – Eugene E. Brussell, author of Webster’s New World Dictionary of Quotable Definitions If you laid all of our laws end to end, there would be no end. – Mark Twain
This is what has to be remembered about the law; beneath that cold, harsh, impersonal exterior beats a cold, harsh, impersonal heart. – David Frost, British Journalist, TV Personality
I have come to the conclusion that one useless man is called a disgrace, two men are called a law firm, and three or more become a Congress. – John Adams Character in the Play 1776
An incompetent lawyer can delay a trial for months or years. A competent lawyer can delay one even longer.- Evelle Younger, Former California District Attorney, Prosecuting Charles Manson and Sirhan Sirhan
A lawyer will do anything to win a case, sometimes he will even tell the truth. Patrick Murray, American Politician
I learned law so well, the day I graduated I sued the college, won the case, and got my tuition back. – Fred Allen, American Comedian
You won’t get sued for anticompetitive behavior. – Linus Torvalds, Developer of Linux
Animals have these advantages over man: They have no theologians to instruct them, their funerals cost them nothing, and no one starts lawsuits over their wills. – Voltaire, French Philosopher and Writer
Litigation takes the place of sex at middle age. – Gore Vidal, American Writer
Avoid lawsuits beyond all things; they pervert your conscience, impair your health, and dissipate your property. – Jean de la Bruyere, French Philosopher
A bad agreement is better than a good lawsuit – Italian Proverb quotes
I was never ruined but twice – once when I lost a lawsuit, once when I won one – Voltaire
Ignorance of the law excuses no man — from practicing it. – Addison Mizner
A lawsuit is a fruit tree planted in a lawyer’s garden. – Italian Proverb
Next to the confrontation between two highly honed batteries of lawyers, jungle warfare is a stately minuet. – Bill Veeck, Major League Baseball Franchise Owner
Of course, people are getting smarter nowadays; they are letting lawyers instead of their conscience be their guides. – Will Rogers, American Cowboy and Humorist
GANDHIJI’S THOUGHTS ON THE LAW AND THE LAWYERS
1. I had learnt the true practice of law. I had learnt to find out the better side of human nature and to enter men’s hearts. I realized that the true function of a lawyer was to unite parties riven asunder. The lesson was so indelibly burnt into me that a large part of my time during the twenty years of my practice as a lawyer was occupied in bringing about private compromises of hundreds of cases. I lost nothing thereby – not even money, certainly not my soul.
An Autobiography, (1959), p. 97
2. It was not impossible to practise law without compromising truth. Even truthfulness in the practice of the profession cannot cure it of the fundamental defect that vitiates it.
An Autobiography, (1959), p. 269
3. Throughout my career at the bar I never once departed from the strictest truth and honesty. The first thing which you must always bear in mind, if you would spiritualize the practice of law, is not to make your profession subservient to the interests of your purse, as is unfortunately but too often the case at present, but to use your profession for the service of your country. . . . The fees charged by lawyers are unconscionable everywhere. I confess, I myself have charged what I would now call high fees. But even whilst I was engaged in my practice, let me tell you I never let my profession stand in the way of my public service. . . . And there is another thing I would like to warn you against. In England, in South Africa, almost everywhere I have found that in the practice of their profession Lawyers are consciously or unconsciously ‘led into untruth for the sake of their clients. An eminent English Lawyer has gone so far as to say that it may even be the duty of a lawyer to defend a client whom he knows to be guilty. There I disagree. The duty of a lawyer is always to place before the judges, and to help them to arrive at, the truth, never to prove the guilty as innocent.
Young India, 22-12-1927, pp. 427-28
4. A true lawyer is one who places truth and service in the first place and the emoluments of the profession in the next place only.
Harijan, 26-11-1938, p. 351
5. Facts mean truth, and once we adhere to truth, the law comes to our aid naturally.
An Autobiography, (1959), p. 96
6. I recalled the late Mr. Pincutt’s advice – facts are three-fourths of the law.
An Autobiography, (1959), p. 95
7. Lawyers and English-educated persons do not by any means enjoy a monopoly of hair-splitting.
Satyagraha in South Africa, Madras, Ganesan, p. 202
8. Lawyers are also men, and there is something good in every man. Whenever instances of lawyers having done good can be brought forward, it will be found that the good is due to them as men rather than as lawyers.
Indian Home Rule, 1958, p. 55
9. Lawyers will, as a rule, advance quarrels instead of repressing them. Moreover, men take up that profession, not in order to help others out of their miseries, but to enrich themselves. It is one of the avenues of becoming wealthy and their interest exists in multiplying disputes. It is within my knowledge that they are glad when men have disputes.
Indian Home Rule, 1958, p. 55
10. I have not a shadow of a doubt that society would be much cleaner and healthier if there was less resort to law courts than there is.
Young India, 3-12-1919
11. An unjust law is itself a species of violence. Arrest for its breach is more so.
Non-violence in Peace and War, Vol. 2, p. 150
12. The economic drain that the law courts cause has at no time been considered. And yet it is not a trifle. Every institution founded under the present system is run on a most extravagant scale. Law courts are probably the most extravagantly run. I have some knowledge of the scale in England, a fair knowledge of the Indian and an intimate knowledge of the South African. I have no hesitation in saying that the Indian is comparatively the most extravagant and bears no relation to the general economic condition of the people.
The best South African lawyers – and they are lawyers of great ability – dare not charge the fees the lawyers in India do. Fifteen guineas is almost a top fee for legal opinion. Several thousand rupees have been known to have been charged in India. There is something sinful in a system under which it is possible for a lawyer to earn from fifty thousand to one lakh rupees per month. Legal practice is not – ought not to be — a speculative business. The best legal talent must be available to the poorest at reasonable rates.
Young India, 6-10-1920, pp. 2-3
[Ideas derived by Gandhiji from Ruskin’s Unto This Last in the year 1904:]
13. The teachings of Unto This Last I understood to be:
a) That the good of the individual is contained in the good of all.
b) That a lawyer’s work has the same value as the barber’s, inasmuch as all have the same right of earning their livelihood from their work.
c) That a life of labour, i.e. the life of the tiller of the soil and the handicraftsman is the life worth living.
The first of these I knew. The second I had dimly realized. The third had never occurred to me. Unto This Last made it as clear as daylight for me that the second and the third were contained in the first.
An Autobiography, (1959) p. 221
14. If all labored for their bread and no more, then there would be enough food and enough leisure for all.
Then there would be no cry of over-population, no disease and no such misery as we see around. Such labour will be the highest form of sacrifice. Men will no doubt do many other things either through their bodies or through their minds, but all this will be labour of love for the common good. . . . May not men earn their bread by intellectual labour? No. The needs of the body must be supplied by the body. Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, perhaps, applies here as well. Mere mental, that is, intellectual labour is for the soul and is its own satisfaction. It should never demand payment. In the ideal State, doctors, lawyers and the like will work solely for the benefit of society, not for self.
Harijian, 29-6-1935, p. 165
15. A medical practitioner from Kenya asks whether medical practitioners can engage in money-lending business or speculation. I have long held the opinion that professional men, whether medical or legal or other, should not seek to add to their income by speculation or other pursuits. It tends to make them careless in their special work. There have been cases in which doctors and lawyers have ruined their reputation by going outside their profession to make money.
Harijian, 16-12-1939, p. 379
16. Justice in British courts is an expensive luxury. It is often ‘the longest purse that wins’.
17. It is much to be wished that people would avoid litigation. ‘Agree with thine adversary quickly’ is the soundest legal maxim ever uttered. The author knew what he was saying. But it will be asked, what when we are dragged, as we often are, to the courts?
I would say ‘do not defend’. If you are in the wrong, you will deserve the sentence whatever it may be. If you are wrongly brought to the court and yet penalized, let your innocence soothe you in your unmerited suffering. Undefended, you will in every case suffer the least and what is more you will have the satisfaction of sharing the fate of the majority of your fellow-beings who cannot get themselves defended.
Young India, 23-7-1919
18. Put your talents in the service of the country instead of converting them into £ s.d. If you are a medical man, there is disease enough in India to need all your medical skill. If you are a lawyer, there are differences and quarrels enough in India. Instead of fomenting more trouble, patch up those quarrels and stop litigation. If you are an engineer, build model houses suited to the means and needs of our people and yet full of health and fresh air. There is nothing that you have learnt which cannot be turned to account.
Young India, 25-11-1931, p. 334
[Several Mysore lawyers who had taken part in the Mysore Satyagraha struggle had been disbarred by the Mysore Chief Court. Gandhiji wrote about them :]
19. Let these lawyers be proud of their poverty which will be probably their lot now. Let them remember Thoreau’s saying that possession of riches is a crime and poverty a virtue under an unjust administration. This is an eternal maxim for Satyagrahis. The disbarred lawyers have a rare opportunity of so re-modeling their lives that they can always be above want. Let them remember that practice of law ought not to mean taking more daily than, say, a village carpenter’s wage.
Harijian, 13-7-1940, p. 205
20. If India is to live an exemplary life of independence which will be the envy of the world, all the bhangis (sweepers), doctors, lawyers, teachers, merchants and others would get the same wages for an honest day’s work. Indian society may never reach the goal, but it is the duty of every Indian to set his sail towards that goal and no other, if India is to be a happy land.
Harijian, 16-3-1947, p. 67
21. A wise man deliberately forgets many things, even as a lawyer forgets the cases and their details as soon as they are disposed of.
Letter to Mirabehn, 25-1-1931 in Bapu’s Letters to Mira, p. 150
22. Only he who has mastered the art of obedience to law knows the art of disobedience to law.
Young India, 5-11-1919
23. Once a law is enacted, many difficulties must be encountered before it can be reversed. It is only when public opinion is highly educated that the laws in force in a country can be repealed. A Constitution under which laws are modified or repealed every now and then cannot be said to be stable or well organized.
Satyagraha in South Africa, Ch. 10. p., 140
[Editor’s Note: In 1927, an American authoress, Miss Catherine Mayo, published under the title Mother India a book which was scurrilous and grossly defamatory of India and her people. Reviewing the said book in Young India Gandhiji called it a ‘Drain Inspector’s Report’. In the course of his articles Gandhiji observed:]
24. She (Miss Mayo) has done me the honour of quoting me frequently in support of her argument. . . . But in her hurry to see everything Indian in bad light, she has not only taken liberty with my writings, but she has not thought it necessary even to verify through me certain things ascribed by her or others to me. In fact she has combined in her own person what we understand in India the judicial and the executive officer. She is both the prosecutor and the judge…. Having no case, she has followed the method of the pettifogging lawyer who vainly tries to discredit a hostile but unshakable witness by making him state things from memory which might be found on verification to be not quite accurate.
Young India, 15-9-1927, p. 308 and 2-2-1928, p. 34
25. If everybody lives by the sweat of his brow, the earth will become a paradise. The question of the use of special talents hardly needs separate consideration. If everyone labours physically for his bread it follows that poets, doctors, lawyers, etc. will regard it their duty to use those talents gratis for the service of humanity. Their output will be all the better and richer for their selfless devotion to duty.
Harijian, 2-3-1947, p. 47
26. I believe in the division of labour or work. But I do insist on equality of wages. The lawyer, the doctor or the teacher is entitled to no more than the bhangi. Then only will the division of work uplift the nation or the earth. There is no other royal road to true civilization or happiness.
Harijian, 23-3-1947, p. 78
27. May not men earn their bread by intellectual labour? No. The needs of the body must be supplied by the body. Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s perhaps applies here as well. Mere mental, that is intellectual, labour is for the soul and is its own satisfaction. It should never demand payment. In the ideal state, doctors, lawyers and the like will work solely for the benefit of society not for self.
Harijian, 29-6-1935, p. 156
28. If we were not under the spell of lawyers and law courts and if there were no touts to tempt us into the quagmire of the courts and to appeal to our basest passions we would be leading a much happier life than we do today. Let those who frequent the law courts – the best of them – bear witness to the fact that the atmosphere about them is foetid. Perjured witnesses are ranged on either side ready to sell their very souls for money or for friendship’s sake.
Young India, 6-10-1920, p. 2
29. I am unconvinced of the advantages of jury trials over those by judges…. At the right moment juries have been found to fail even in England. When passions are roused juries are affected by them and give perverse verdicts. Nor need we assume that they are always on the side of leniency. 1 have known juries finding prisoners guilty in the face of evidence and even judge’s summing up to the contrary. We must not slavishly copy all that is English. In matters where absolute impartiality, calmness and ability to sift evidence and understand human natures are required, we may not replace trained judges by untrained men brought together by chance. What we must aim at is an incorruptible, impartial and able judiciary right from the bottom.
Young India, 27-8-1931, p. 240
30. In Independent India of the non-violent type, there will be crime but no criminals. They will not be punished. Crime is disease like any other malady and is a product of the prevalent social system. Therefore, all crime including murder will be treated as a disease. Whether such an India will ever come into being is another question.
Harijian, 5-5-1946, p. 124
31. The symbol of a Court of Justice is a pair of scales held evenly by an impartial and blind but sagacious woman. Fate has purposely made her blind, in order that she may not judge a person from his exterior but from his intrinsic worth.
An Autobiography, (1959), p. 105
32. All crimes are different kinds of diseases and they should be treated as such by the reformers. That does not mean that the police will suspend their function of regarding such cases as public crimes, but their measures are never intended to deal with causes of these social disturbances. To do so is the special prerogative of the reformer. And unless the moral tone of society is raised such crimes will flourish, if only for the simple reason that the moral sense of these perverts has become blunt.
Gandhiji – His Life and Works, edited by D. G. Tendulkar and others, p. 381
33. I cannot in all conscience agree to any one being sent to the gallows…. I would draw the distinction between killing and detention or even corporal punishment. I think there is a difference not merely in quantity but also in quality. I can recall the punishment of detention. I can make reparation to the man upon whom I inflict corporal punishment. But once a man is killed, the punishment is beyond recall or reparation. God alone can take life, because He alone gives it.
Gandhiji – His Life and Works, edited by D. G. Tendulkar and others, p. 381
34. I do wish as a practised draftsman to warn writers of petition, whether they be pleaders or otherwise, to think of the cause they may be espousing for the time being. I assure them that a bare statement of facts embellished with adjectives is far more eloquent and effective than a narrative glowing with exuberant language. Petition writers must understand that they address busy men, not necessarily sympathetic, sometimes prejudiced, and almost invariably prone to sustain the decisions of their subordinates.
Young India, 27-9-1919
35. When there is war, the poet lays down the lyre, the lawyer his law reports, the school-boy his books. The poet will sing the true note after the war is over, the lawyer will have occasion to go to his law books when people have time to fight among themselves.
Young India, 1-9-1921
36. Under the Swaraj Government the law will not tolerate any arrogation of superiority by any person or class whether in the name of custom or religion.
Young India, 11-6-1931, p. 143
37. My experience has shown me that we win justice quickest by rendering justice to the other party.
M. K. Gandhi, An Autobiography, De Luxe Edition, 1968 Vol. one, p. 270
38. There is a higher court than courts of justice and that is the court of conscience. It supersedes all other courts.
Quotes of Gandhi, UBS Publishers, New Delhi, (1995) p. 34
39. Justice that love gives is a surrender, justice that law gives is a punishment.
Quotes of Gandhi, UBS Publishers, New Delhi, (1995) p. 65
40. Legal maxims are not so legal as they are moral. I believe in the eternal truth of ‘sic utere tuo ut alienum non laedas’ (use thy own property so as notto injure thy neighbour’s).
Young India, 26-3-1921, p. 50 at p. 51
41. In order to enhance the status and the market-value of the provincial languages, I would have the language of the law courts to be the language of the province where the court is situated.
Harijan, 9-7-1938, pp. 177-78
42. The fear of the judge within is more terrible than that of the one without.
Mahatma, Vol. 2 by D. G. Tendulkar, p. 63
43. Justice should become cheap and expeditious. Today it is the luxury of the rich and the joy of the gambler.
Mahatma, Vol. 4 by D. G. Tendulkar, p. 422
44. Justice does not help the ones who slumber but helps only those who are vigilant. This is not a maxim to be mouthed in courts of law but to be applied in every concern of practical life.
The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Publications Division, Government of India, Vol. XIV, p. 177
45. A Satyagrahi cannot go to law for a personal wrong.
The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Publications Division, Government of India, Vol. XXV, p. 163
46. The recognition of the golden rule of never taking the law into one’s own hands has no exceptions.
Mahatma, Vol. 8, 2nd Edition (1960) by D. G. Tendulkar, p. 103
47. Where death without resistance or death after resistance is the only way, neither party should think of resorting to law courts or help from government. Even if one of the parties resorts to such aid, the other should refrain. If resort to law courts cannot be avoided, there ought to be at least no resort to false evidence.
The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Publications Division, Government of India, Vol. XXV, p. 138
48. Independence meant voluntary restraint and discipline, voluntary acceptance of the rule of law.
Mahatma, Vol. 8, 2nd Edition (1960) by D. G. Tendulkar, p. 100
49. All taxation to be healthy must return tenfold to the taxpayer in the form of necessary services.
Mahatma, Vol. 4, by D. G. Tendulkar, p. 211
50. Legal imposition avoids the necessity of honour or good faith.
The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Publications Division, Government of India, Vol. XXVI, p. 162
51. Whether there is or there is not any law in force, the Government cannot exercise control over us without our cooperation. The existence of a law means that if we refused to accept it, we are liable to punishment, and generally it so happens that the fear of punishment leads men to submit to the restriction. But a Satyagrahi differs from the generality of men in that if he submits to a restriction, he submits voluntarily, not because he is afraid of punishment, but because he thinks such submission is essential to the common weal.
Satyagraha in South Africa, De Luxe Edition, 1968, Ch. 22, p. 218
52. It was the function of democracy to make justice cheap and expeditious and to ensure all possible purity in the administration. But, for the ministers to replace or to influence courts of justice was the very negation of democracy and law. No minister has the right to interfere with the course of justice, even for his dearest ones.
Mahatma, Vol. 8, by D. G. Tendulkar, p. 193
53. The demands of equity supersede the letter of law. There is a homely maxim of law, which has been in practice for centuries in England, that when common law seems to fail, equity comes to the rescue.
Mahatma, Vol. 8, by D. G. Tendulkar, p. 316
54. An oath may be taken in the name of God and yet may not be styled religious. An oath that witness takes in a court of law is a legal not a religious oath, breach of which would carry legal consequences. An oath taken by members of Parliament may be called a constitutional not a religious oath, breach of which may involve mundane consequences. Breach of a religious oath carries no legal consequences, but in the opinion of the taker does carry divine punishment. This does not mean that any of the three varieties of oaths is less binding than the others on a conscientious man. A conscientious witness will tell the truth, not for fear of the legal consequence, but he will do so in every case.
Harijan, 22-5-1937, p. 116
55. The poet (Rabindranath Tagore) thinks, for instance, that I want everybody to spin the whole of his time to the exclusion of all other activity, that is to say, that I want the poet to forsake his muse, the farmer his plough, the lawyer his brief and the doctor his lancet. So far is this from truth that I have asked no one to abandon his calling, but on the contrary to adorn it by giving every day only thirty minutes to spinning as sacrifice for the whole nation.
Young India, 5-11-1925
56. It is my confirmed belief that every Government masks its brute-force and maintains its control over the people through civil and criminal courts, for it is cheaper, simpler and more honourable for a ruler that instead of his controlling the people through naked force, they themselves, lured into slavery through courts, etc., submit to him of their own accord. If people settle their civil disputes among themselves and the lawyers, unmindful of self-interest, boycott the courts in the interest of the people, the latter can advance in no time. I have believed for many years that every State tries to perpetuate its power through lawyers.
The Penguin Gandhi Reader, Edited by Rudrangshu Mukheijee 1993 p. 135.
57. The master-key to the solution of the problem of Hindu-Muslim Unity is the replacement of the rule of the sword by that of arbitration. Honest public opinion should make it impossible for aggrieved parties to take the law into their own hands and every case must be referred to private arbitration or to law courts if the parties do not believe in non-co-operation.
Ibid, p. 262.
58. We shall never be able to raise the standard of public life through laws. We are not made that way. Only if the lives of the leaders, both private and public, are perfect, will they be able to produce any effect on the people. Mere preaching will have no effect.
The Essential Writings of Mahatma Gandhi, edited by Raghavan Iyer, Oxford University Press, 1996 p. 411.
59. On the political field, the struggle on behalf of the people mostly consists in opposing error in the shape of unjust laws. When you have failed to bring the error home to the law-giver by way of petitions and the like, the only remedy open to you, if you do not wish to submit to it, is to compel him to retrace his steps by suffering in your person, i.e., by inviting the penalty for the breach of the law. Hence, satyagraha largely appears to the public as civil disobedience or civil resistance. It is civil in the sense that it is not criminal.
Gandhi and Gandhism, by B. Pattabhi Sitaramayya Vol. 1, Kitabistan, Allahabad p. 104.
60. The criminal, i.e., the ordinary lawbreaker breaks the law surreptitiously and tries to avoid the penalty: not so the civil resister. He ever obeys the law of the State to which he belongs, not out of fear of the sanctions, but because he considers them to be good for the welfare of society. But there come occasions, generally rare, when he considers certain laws to be so unjust as to render obedience to them a dishonour, he then openly and civilly breaks them and quietly suffers the penalty for their breach. And in order to register his protest against the action of the law-giver, it is open to him to withdraw his co-operation from the state by disobeying such other laws whose breach does not involve moral turpitude.
Ibid, p. 104.
61. When the Rowlatt Bills were published, I felt that they were so restrictive of human liberty that they must be resisted to the utmost. I observed, too, that the opposition to them was universal among Indians. I submit that no state, however despotic, has the right to enact laws which are repugnant to the whole body of the people, much less a Government guided by constitutional usage and precedent, such as the Indian Government. I felt, too, that the oncoming agitation needed a definite direction, if it was neither to collapse nor to run into violent channels. I ventured therefore to present satyagraha to the country, emphasising its civil resistance aspect.
Gandhi and Gandhism, by B. Pattabhi Sitaramayya Vol. 1, Kitabistan, Allahabad p. 104-05.
62. The councilors want their fares and extras, the ministers their salaries, the lawyers their fees, the suitors their decrees, the parents such education for their boys as would give them status in the present life, the millionaires want facilities for multiplying their millions and the rest their unmanly peace. The whole revolves beautifully round the central corporation. It is a giddy dance from which no one cares to free himself and so, as the speed increases, the exhileration is the greater. But it is a death dance and the exhileration is induced by the rapid heartbeat of a patient who is about to expire.
Young India, 9-3-1922, p. 148.
63. There is no doubt that untouchability is a mental attitude. It cannot be abolished by legislation. Law can touch the body, but not the mind. The mind can be touched only by love and persuasion.
The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Vol. LIV, p. 325.
64. People seem to think that when a law is passed against any evil, it will die without any further effort. There never was a grosser self-deception. Legislation is intended to be and is effective against an ignorant or a small evil-minded minority; but no legislation which is opposed by an intelligent and organized public opinion, or under cover of religion by a fanatical minority, can ever succeed.
Young India, 7-7-1927, p. 219
65. We must widen the prison gates and we must enter them as a bridegroom enters the bride’s chamber. Freedom is to be wooed only inside prison walls and sometimes on gallows, never in the council chamber, courts, or the schoolrooms.
The Life of Mahatma Gandhi, by Louis Fischer, Harper & Row Publishers, New York, 1983, p. 204
66. Justice will come when it is deserved by our being and feeling strong.
Mahatma, Vol. 2 by D. G. Tendulkar, p. 240
67. The first condition of non-violence is justice all round, in every department of life.
Mahatma, Vol. 5 by D. G. Tendulkar, p. 278
68. Peace will not come out of a clash of arms but out of justice, lived and done by unarmed nations in the face of odds.
Mahatma, Vol. 5 by D. G. Tendulkar, p. 193
69. It is open to a war resister to judge between two combatants and wish success to the one who has justice on his side.
Mahatma, Vol. 5 by D. G. Tendulkar, p. 193
70. I can certainly imagine a brave and believing weaver or cobbler more effectively leading our struggle than a timid and sceptical lawyer. Success depends upon bravery, sacrifice, truth, love and faith; not onlegal acumen, calculation, diplomacy, hate and unbelief.
Young India, 25-8-1921 p. 266
71. The removal of untouchability is not to be brought by any legal enactment. It will be brought about only when the Hindu conscience is roused to action and of its own accord removes the shame.
Young India, 30-6-1927
72. It is not legislation that will cure a popular evil. It is enlightened public opinion that can do it.
Young India, 26-8-1926
73. We are the makers of our own state. Individuals who realize the fact need not, ought not, to wait for collective action even as a hungry man does not wait for others to commence a meal before he falls to it. The one necessary condition for action is that like the hungry man, we must hunger after our deliverance. We need the same advice that was given to Martha by Jesus Christ. If we but do the one thing needful, there is no occasion for us to be anxious and troubled about the many things in the shape of wanting to know what our Governors will do, or who the next Prime Minister is likely to be, or what laws affecting us are likely to be passed.
Indian Opinion, 14-5-1910
74. For me patriotism is the same as humanity. I am patriotic because I am human and humane. It is not exclusive. I will not hurt England or Germany to serve India. The law of the patriot is not different from that of the patriarch. And a patriot is so much the less a patriot if he is a lukewarm humanitarian. There is no conflict between private and political law. A non- cooperator for instance, would act exactly in the same manner toward his father or brother as he is today acting toward the British Government.
Indian Opinion, 16-3-1921
75. The question of reform of the legal profession is a big one. It does not admit of tinkering. I am strongly of opinion that lawyers and doctors should not be able to charge any fees but that they should be paid a certain fixed sum by the state and the public should receive their services free. They will have paid for them through the taxation that they would have paid for such services rendered to citizens automatically. The poor will be untaxed but the rich and the poor will have then the same amount of attention and skill. Today the best legal talents and the best medical advice are unobtainable by the poor.
The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Publications Division, Government of India, Vol. XXXVI, p. 84
76. The attack against Justice Duleepsingh (Judge of the Punjab High Court who had on appeal acquitted the author of a pamphlet who had been prosecuted and sentenced by the lower courts under Section 153-A of the Indian Penal Code) was uncalled for, undeserved and hysterical. The judiciary is by no means above being influenced by the Government, but it would be wholly unfit to render justice if it was open to popular attacks, threats and insults. So far as the Judge’s integrity was concerned, it should have satisfied any Mussalman that he condemned the pamphlet as he. did in unmeasured terms. His reading of the section ought not to have been made a cause for virulent attack against him. That other judges have taken a different view from Justice Duleepsingh is irrelevant to the issue. Judges have been often known before now to have given honest and opposite interpretations of the same law.
The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Publications Division, Government of India, Vol. XXXV, pp. 15-16
77. A true Khudai Khidmatgar1 will not go to a law court. Fighting in a law court is just like physical fighting. Only, you use force by proxy.
Blade: You’re human.
Kounen: Barely. I’m their lawyer.
— Blade II
These are lawyers. That’s Latin for liar.
— G.O.B., Arrested Development
Scrimgeour: Are you planning to pursue a career in magical law, Miss Granger?
Hermione: No, I actually plan to do some good in the world.
— Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Well, I was already a blood-sucking parasite! All I needed was a briefcase!
— The Mosquito, Bee Movie
Bitten by a lawyer, I hope there’re shots for that.
But I’m a lawyer! I’m not supposed to be nice!
— Apollo Justice, Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney
Do you have any idea how many lawyers are in Hell?
— Ghost Rider to Phoenix Wright, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3
”So here I am, at probably the worst school in the country, whose alumni are nothing but arms dealers, serial killers, and corporate lawyers. Real scum.
— Jimmy Hopkins on Bullworth Academy, Bully
Norm: All right, all right, I’ll give you three more wishes. Alright, smart guy, what are your three wishes this time? And seriously, you probably wanna do the teeth thing. Come on now, kid, try to outwit me. You can do it. And by that I mean you can not do it.
Timmy Turner: He’s right. I can’t, not by myself. If I am going to get Cosmo and Wanda back, and undo all of Norm’s tricks, I am going to need someone as dishonest and devious as a 50,000 year old magical jerk. I wish I had a lawyer.
Fairy Mason: Yeah, yeah, five aces. Huh? What?
— Fairly OddParents, Genie Meanie Minie Mo
Prosecutor: You heard Mr. MacBadger testify that his allowance was cut off! Then how did he get a motorcar?
Cyril: The only way a gentleman gets anything, the honest way.
Prosecutor: And, what is the honest way?
Cyril: Ha! I thought you wouldn’t know that goven’er!
— The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad
Huey Freeman: Don’t you know CPR?
Lawyer: I’m a lawyer, we don’t help people!
— The Boondocks, The Itis
Hell exists and is a tangible place full of devils, and if you can’t say the devil is evil, you really need to quit gaming and go to law school.
— The Spoony Experiment
People always ask me how come the newspaper prints so much bad news? How come the front page always has negative headlines like Freak Espresso Machine Explosion Destroys Crowded Starbucks? Why don’t we print stories with a positive slant, like Destroyed Starbucks Was Popular Gathering Place for Lawyers?
— Dave Barry, A leap in cow control
Not long after [Thomas] Lowe began representing a long-term acquaintance in her divorce, he chatted her up on the finer points of her marital sex life, told her how hot she was, and then leaned against his shelf full of impressive-looking law books, nodded suggestively toward his crotch, and said, Eh? …At this point, Lowe — who, in case we haven’t mentioned it, was quite married — actually tallied up their encounters and billed her for his time at various intervals. While we would like to report that he itemized their lovemaking (EROTIC SPANKING, WITH BABY TALK — 15 MIN), he actually disguised the details with terms like meetings or drafting memos (we can only hope he actually included the sarcastic quotation marks on his invoices).
— Cracked, The 5 Most Blatantly Corrupt Lawyers in History
In a world where video game protagonists aren’t shining pillars of justice, but brooding morally-grey antiheroes, step into the well shined shoes of the most inherently evil main character you’ve ever played, a lawyer…
— Smosh Games, Honest Game Trailers – Ace Attorney
Did you hear the one about…? (unreferenced)
What’s the difference between a catfish and a lawyer? One’s a low-life bottom-feeding scum sucker; the other’s a fish.
Why don’t sharks eat lawyers? Professional courtesy.
What do you call a lawyer with an 80 IQ? Your Honor!note
Similar: A-average law students become professors and make articles. B-average law students become judges and make decisions. And C-average law students become corporate attorneys and make bank.
Two farmers were arguing about the ownership of a cow, so they called their lawyers. The lawyers arrived and the farmers continued arguing, tugging the animal’s tether back and forth. The lawyers went to work: they walked to the back of the animal and together proceeded to milk it dry.
What’s the difference between a dead skunk at the side of the road and a dead lawyer at the side of the road? Skid marks in front of the skunk.
What’s the difference between a lawyer and a prostitute? The prostitute stops fucking you when you’re dead.
What do you call 100 lawyers up to their necks in sand? Not enough sand.
What do you call 1000 lawyers at the bottom of the ocean? A good start.
What do you call a lawyer at the bottom of the ocean? A problem. What do you call a hundred lawyers at the bottom of the ocean? A problem. What do you call a thousand lawyers at the bottom of the ocean? A problem…what do you call all the lawyers in the world at the bottom of the ocean? Problem solved.
What do you do if you’re in a room with a snake, a tiger, a lawyer, and a gun with only two bullets? Shoot the lawyer. Twice.
What do you do if you’re in a room with a lawyer, Adolf Hitler, and a gun with only one bullet? Give the gun to Hitler, so that he’d have the honor.
In the beginning, God said Let there be light! And the lawyer said, What colour?
What’s the difference between a lawyer and a mud crab? One is a bottom-feeding, scum-sucking animal, and the other is a crab.
What’s the difference between a vulture and a lawyer? A vulture can’t take off his wingtips.
A [rural stereotype] is visiting the city for the first time when he sees a funeral procession, and asks somebody who it’s for. He shows surprise on hearing that the deceased was a lawyer: You mean you bury lawyers here? Well, sure. Don’t you? No, we don’t. When a lawyer dies, we just leave the body in an empty room overnight, and the morning there’s nothing left but a smell of brimstone.
Did you hear about the terrorist who kidnapped a dozen lawyers? He threatened to release one every hour unless his demands were met.
A man picks up a hitchhiking priest on the highway. Soon after he sees a hitchhiking lawyer on the side of the road. He aims his car towards the lawyer with the intent to run him over, but remembers he has a priest in the car with him and swerves at the last second. He feigns innocence and says to the priest Oh my God! That was close! I almost ran over that lawyer!, to which the priest replies That’s okay son. I got him with my door.
What’s the difference between a lawyer and a rooster? The rooster clucks defiance.
He saw a lawyer killing a viper
On a dunghill by his stable
And the Devil smiled, for it put him in mind
Of Cain and his brother Abel.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
What’s the definition of a shame? A bus full of lawyers driving off a cliff into the ocean.
What’s the definition of a crying shame? There was an empty seat!
A disgruntled guy walks into a bar, takes a seat, orders a drink, and says in a loud voice to the bartender man, lawyers are assholes. The man next to him taps him in the shoulder and says hey, buddy, I take offense to that. Why, are you a lawyer? No, I’m an asshole!
A famous law firm is cited by the Equal Rights Commission for not having any women lawyers. The firm is mandated to hire three women lawyers and make one of them partner. The firm hires three women, but has trouble deciding who to make partner, so they devise a test. On their next paycheck, the firm overpays them by $5,000. The first woman takes the money and says nothing. The second woman immediately returns the check. The third woman takes the money, but a week later comes back with a check for $7,000. The woman claims she had a good stock tip and wanted to split the difference with the firm. So, who was made partner? The answer: the one with the biggest tits.
What this trope fails to realize is that not all lawyers are bad. It’s just the 99% of them who ruin it for the rest.
An old legal puzzle concerns the different rules on marriage in various U.S. states in the early 20th century. Suppose that in 1920, James, who is white, marries Emily (also white) in South Carolina. In 1924, he catches Emily cheating and wants a divorce, but South Carolina refuses to recognize divorce. He then separates from Emily and gets a divorce in New York, and then, in 1925, marries Susan, who is black. In 1927, he then separates from Susan, without getting divorced and moves to Georgia (which does not recognize inter-racial marriages but does recognize New York divorces) where he marries Lucy (white again). Then, in 1929, he sets sail for England on a British-registered ship and drops dead while in international waters. Under South Carolina law, the widow is Emily, and only Emily. Under New York law, the widow is Susan, and only Susan. Under Georgia law, the widow is Lucy, and only Lucy. Federal law (at the time) refused to endorse any state’s marriage laws over the other,note maritime law has nothing to say about inheritance, and British law by its own terms does not apply to this case. So who gets his inheritance? You needed a spoiler for this? THE LAWYERS.
Jack Strange, Esq, an elderly lawyer, once asked a funeral director to prepare a tombstone for him. The wording he wanted was simply Here lies a lawyer and an honest man. The funeral director reminded him that there was no name on the tombstone. No need, said the lawyer, anyone who reads the words ‘Here lies a lawyer and an honest man’ will instantly think ‘That’s Strange!’
A joke on Prairie Home Companion had a young boy asking his mother Do they ever put two people in the same grave?, his mother saying No, why? and the boy saying Because that one there says ‘Here lies a lawyer and an honest man.’
A classic cartoon from the 18th century was entitled Litigation. It showed a cow, with The Plaintiff pulling on the horns, The Defendant pulling on the tail, The Judge watching them and The Lawyer milking it.
Sandra Day O’Connor was the first woman judge on the U.S. Supreme Court and decided a number of important cases. Still, she will probably be remembered as the person who said that Washington D.C. had more lawyers than people.
Dave Barry took it further, claiming that there are roughly four lawyers for every person in the United States.
So a lawyer walks into a Bar Association meeting…
The Pope dies and is accidentally sent to Hell. God asks Satan to send him back up, but Satan refuses. God then threatens to sue the Devil, who merely laughs and asks: Oh yeah? And where, pray tell, do you intend to find your lawyers? God laughs back and says: All the really good lawyers talked their way out of Hell, and into Heaven.
What’s the problem with lawyer jokes? Lawyers don’t think they’re funny, and no one else thinks they’re jokes.
How do you stop a Lawyer from drowning?
Take your foot off their head.
OR – Shoot them before they hit the water.
What do you do when there are 50 dead lawyers lying in the street in front of you?
Stop laughing and reload.
Why does California have the most lawyers in the country while New Jersey has the most toxic waste dumps? New Jersey got dibs.
Jersey already has an evil monster in a suit that ruins the lives of innocent people.
And he scared all the lawyers away because even Slendy thinks lawyers are terrible.
In the beginning God created light. Out of spite Devil created darkness. God created Man, Devil followed up with Woman. God created a lawyer, Devil pondered for a while…and created a second lawyer.
Why do they bury lawyers 12 feet under instead of the standard 6? Because deep down, lawyers really are good people.
Recently, scientists have started replacing lab rats for lawyers, for four reasons:1) Lawyers have less rights than actual rats. 2) The scientists grow less attached to lawyers. 3) There are certain things rats would never do. 4) There are more lawyers than rats nowadays.
However, they soon after switched back to rats, as rats are closer to human beings.
A woman is going to see her doctor about a rather unusual occurrence. You see doctor…well, this is awfully embarrassing, but last night, well, my husband, he….I mean, I…..well, we had anal sex. I see. Do you find it painful? No, actually, it was quite different. Are there any special precautions we need to make? No, as long as you make sure not to get pregnant Of course – wait, I can get pregnant from anal sex? Of course my dear, where do you think Lawyers come from?
There is a book called Lawyers and Other Reptiles. An anonymous quote on the jacket is It was so cold that a lawyer had his hands in his own pockets.
How do we know God, who created the world out of chaos and darkness, is a lawyer? He created chaos and darkness first.
A longer version of this joke (and less insulting to God) has a surgeon, and engineer, and a lawyer in an argument about what the oldest profession is. The surgeon says, God created Eve by removing Adam’s rib, so the oldest profession is a surgeon. The engineer says, But before that, God created the universe out of nothing but chaos and darkness, so the oldest profession is an engineer. The lawyer then smugly asks, Ah, but who do you think was responsible for all that chaos and darkness?
An elderly, nearly blind woman hired a lawyer to draft her will. When it was completed, the lawyer charged her one hundred dollars. She handed the lawyer a hundred-dollar bill but failed to notice that a second hundred-dollar bill was stuck to it. Immediately the lawyer realized he was faced with a vital ethical question: Should I tell my partner?
They all laid their heads together like as many lawyers when they are gettin’ ready to prove that a man’s heirs ain’t got any right to his property~Mark Twain
It is the trade of lawyers to question everything, yield nothing, and to talk by the hour.~Thomas Jefferson (Rather an odd one, as Jefferson was a lawyer himself.)
If Jefferson was a lawyer himself it just meant he was honest enough to admit what he did for a living.
Then there’s the lawyer who in 1980 bragged that while en route from New York to San Francisco to take care of a matter for IBM, he used the airborne hours to work on a General Motors case– and billed both IBM and General Motors $250 for the time he was airborne.
What does a lawyer use as a contraceptive? His personality.
In 1971, an attorney filed suit in Pennsylvania against Satan and his servants, claiming they had placed obstacles in his client’s path which had caused his downfall. To the attorney’s dismay, the complaint was denied on the grounds that the defendant did not reside in Pennsylvania.
I don’t give a shit what happens. I want you to stonewall it, let them plead the Fifth Amendment, cover up, or anything else…~attorney (and President) Richard M. Nixon to attorney (and Attorney General) John Mitchell, sitting around the Oval Office discussing Watergate.
A REALLY, REALLY BAD DAY: August 21, 1878: At a meeting in Saratoga, New York, the American Bar Association was founded.
A lawyer stepped in some cow dung and thought he was melting.
When an elderly New York lawyer, after a typically long life of sin, was told he had only days to live, he rushed home and began to frantically leaf through the Bible, looking for loopholes.
The problem is not that you can buy a congressman for $10000 but that you can buy a Washington lawyer for $100000.~former FCC commissioner Nicholas Johnson.
A man who never graduated from school might steal from a freight car. But a man who attends college and graduates a lawyer might steal the whole railroad.~ President Theodore Roosevelt, attempting to persuade his son to become a lawyer
At a cemetery outside of Buffalo three men–a contractor, a physician, and a lawyer– joined the grieving widow at the services for their dearest friend. The widow asked if each could place an offering in the casket, as this had long been a custom in her husband’s family. The contractor nodded his head and then said a short prayer before placing a hundred-dollar bill in the casket. The physician, nearly in tears, also placed a hundred-dollar bill in the casket. Then the lawyer scribbled out a check for three hundred dollars, put it in the casket, and pocketed the two hundred dollars in cash.
As we watched Judge Clarence Thomas’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings, all of the commentators said the same thing: ‘One of these people in the room is lying.’ Do you believe that? You’ve got two lawyers and 14 senators in the room, and only one of them is lying?~Jay Leno
When a Cleveland lawyer got an Akron girl pregnant, he actually offered (to the astonishment of his partners) to do the right and proper thing–marry her. But she refused his proposal. Stunned, the lawyer insisted on knowing why. Her reply: Well, my parents may not have much money or schooling but they have their pride. So when I told them about my condition, everyone pretty much felt that it was better to have a bastard in the family rather than a lawyer.
A stranger walked up the street of a small Kentucky town until he found someone he thought was surely a native. Pardon me, the stranger asked, are you a resident of this town? Yep, have been for forty years. Something I can do for you? I’m looking for a criminal lawyer. Have you got one here? Well, I suppose we do, but we can’t prove it on him.
The difference between a porcupine and a Porsche with two lawyers in it is that the porcupine’s pricks are on the outside.
He was a lawyer, yet not a rascal, and the people were astonished.~anonymous, said of Saint Ives, a thirteenth century lawyer and a saint.
St. Ives was sitting as a judge when a rich man sued a beggar for trespass: the beggar had been standing outside the rich man’s kitchen and smelling the food inside. St. Ives got the beggar to drop a coin onto his judge’s bench and dismissed the case with the words, The sound has paid for the smell. (The same story is told of Goha/Nasreddin, The Trickster imam of Sufi Islam, with variants all the way from Japan to Britain.)
Win your lawsuit, lose your money.
A peasant between two lawyers is like a fish between two cats.
May you face lawsuits and win them. – Reputed to be a Gypsy Curse.note
A prominent Boston physician was vacationing north of Boston near Manchester beach when he wandered into a carpenter’s shop. There he was soon intrigued by the wooden sculpture of a rat and inquired as to its availability. That damn piece has been brought back to me twice, said the carpenter, so although it’s worth much more, you can have it for five dollars. The doctor bought the rat sculpture and continued on his walk. After a bit, he noticed several rats scurrying about. Then he noticed more rats. And then suddenly there were hundreds, seemingly thousands of rats– and they were following him! Certain that the rats must have something to do with the sculpture, he ran to the harbor and threw the sculpture into the water. Without hesitation, all the rats followed it to their watery death. Immediately, the doctor returned to the carpenter’s shop, where he was rebuffed by the owner: No, no! Now get out of here, sir! I’m not taking that sculpture back! Calm down, said the doctor reassuringly. I only wanted to know if you might have a sculpture of a lawyer?
How many lawyers does it take to screw in a light bulb? How many can you afford?
OR: How many lawyers does it take to change a light bulb?
Fifty four. Eight to argue, one to get a continuance, one to object, one to demur, two to research precedents, one to dictate a letter, one to stipulate, five to turn in their time cards, one to depose, one to write interrogatories, two to settle, one to order a secretary to change the bulb, and twenty-eight to bill for professional services.
That’s only fifty-three…
And who do you think wrote all that out?
Lawyers and painters can soon change white to black.
Virtue down the middle, said the Devil, as he sat down between two lawyers.
Undistinguished and often shabby in appearance, Ulysses S. Grant did not recommend himself to strangers by his looks. He once entered an inn on a stormy winter night. A number of lawyers, in town for a court session, were clustered around the fire. One looked up as Grant appeared and said, Here’s a stranger, gentlemen, and by the looks of him he’s traveled through hell itself to get here. That’s right, said Grant cheerfully. And how did you find things down there? Just like here, replied Grant, lawyers all closest to the fire.
There are more lawyers in just Washington, D.C., than in all of Japan.
They’ve got about as many lawyers as we have sumo wrestlers.~Lee Iacocca, on the lack of litigation among Japanese businesses.
How do you know when a lawyer is lying? His lips move.
The priest’s friend loses his faith, the doctor’s his health, the lawyer’s his fortune.~Venetian Proverb.
What’s black and brown and looks good on a lawyer? A doberman.
The appearance in our courts of these learned gentlemen of the law, who can make black appear white and white appear black, is forbidden.~1864 decree (and still in effect), government of Andorra.
On their way to get married, a young Catholic couple is involved in a fatal car accident. The couple find themselves sitting outside the Pearly Gates waiting for St. Peter to process them into Heaven. While waiting, they start to wonder: Could they get married in Heaven? When St. Peter shows up, they immediately ask him. St. Peter replies, I don’t know. This is the first time anyone has asked. Let me go find out. He leaves. The couple sat and waited for St. Peter to return, but he never did. 9 weeks later, and the couple were still waiting. They started to wonder, if things didn’t work out, could they get a divorce in heaven? Another month later, St. Peter finally returns, looking somewhat bedraggled. Yes, he informs the couple. You can get married in Heaven. Awesome! the couple responds enthusiastically. But we were just wondering, what if things don’t work out? Could we also get a divorce in Heaven? St. Peter’s face suddenly turned red with anger. He slammed his clipboard to the ground. Frightened, the couple asked What’s wrong? OH, COME ON! St. Peter shouted. It took me three months to find a priest up here! Do you have any idea how long it’ll take me to find a lawyer?
A man was walking down the beach, when he came across a lamp. Not being one to discount tradition, he rubbed it, and to his surprise a genie appeared. You may have three wishes, but there is one condition: Anything you wish for, all the world’s lawyers get double.Okay, says the man. I want a million dollars. He got a million dollars and every lawyer got two million dollars. I want a new Porsche. He got a new Porsche, and every lawyer got two new Porches. And your third wish? I’ve always wanted to donate a kidney.
Alternate punchline: Beat me half to death.
What happens to a lawyer if he takes a Viagra? He sits up straight.
There was a female lawyer who had sex with one of her clients who was in prison. Rather perverted, isn’t it? I mean, sex with a lawyer!
What is the difference between God and a lawyer? God doesn’t claim to be a lawyer.
What’s the difference between a lawyer joke and an actual lawyer? One has a punch line, and the other has a line of people waiting to punch him!
A rabbit bumped into a snake. The snake snapped, Watch where you’re going! I can’t. I’m blind. So am I! Do you think you could feel me and tell me what I am? If you do the same for me! Soon after, the rabbit asked, So what am I? You have fluffy tail, long ears, strong back legs, and buck teeth, so you must be a rabbit! And what am I? You have scaly skin, a forked tongue, no balls, and you’re cold, so you must be a lawyer!
What’s the difference between a lawyer and a vampire bat? One is a bloodsucking rodent and the other is a bat.
There’s a joke about two men walking along the beach: one of them spots an oyster and the other picks it up. The two men then argue over who should get to eat it. A lawyer walks by and asks them what the problem was, stating that he was a lawyer and could help them. Both men tell their tale and the lawyer says I have come to a decision, hand the oyster to me. The men do so, and then watch in confusion as the lawyer eats the oyster and then hands them each a shell. What the hell? The two men ask, to which the lawyer says You both deserved an equal share of the oyster. The meat itself was my pay for helping.
Whether he was an evil lawyer or not depends on your point of view, I guess; but a Scottish public defender was once overheard telling his client, Laddie, it’s no’ my job to get you found innocent; it’s my job to make sure your guilt is proven beyond any reasonable doubt.
From the perspective of the profession, this makes him Lawful Neutral—which is exactly what a PD should be.
A lawyer buys a tombstone and he asks the stone-cutter to put on it, Here lies an honest man and a lawyer. The stone cutter tells the lawyer that they aren’t legally allowed to bury two men in the same grave.
A man goes to the doctor and is told that he will die soon. The man on his deathbed asks for his lawyer to be present. When the lawyer arrives he asks his client what legal advice he may need, the man replies that he doesn’t need that. When asked why he is here by his side the man responds saying, Jesus died with a thief by his side, I just wanted to go out the same way.
He often invites a doctor as well, because Jesus died between two thieves.
A lawyer died in poverty and friends and family decided to collect money for a funeral. One of the persons asked to donate offered twenty times the asked value and told the collectors to bury 20 lawyers.
A lawyer went to the courtroom as a witness. As soon as he swore to tell the truth and nothing but the truth, the judge ordered the lawyer to be arrested for perjury.
Ironic because lawyers are actually considered officers of the court meaning they are not sworn in and are expected to be under oath at all times.
A lawyer and the Pope die in the same day and both of them go to heaven. The lawyer gets better treatment. The reason: the Heaven is already full of Popes but that was the first lawyer to show up.
How do you know a lawyer is about to lie? – He opens his mouth.
A lawyer died and St. Peter denied him entrance in Heaven because there were no available places for lawyers. The lawyer then demanded to know who that man was to say that. After St. Peter answered, the lawyer demanded proof of his identity. Not knowing what to do, St. Peter asked for Jesus Christ’s help. The lawyer also demanded proof of Christ’s identity. Jesus then asked for God’s advice. God then decided to allow the lawyer in before the lawyer demanded proof of His identity.
A young lawyer died and protested, claiming to be too young to die. Upon verifying the lawyer’s claim, St. Peter found out that the lawyer charged his clients by the hour and, according to the number of hours he claimed to have worked for his clients, he was 105 years old.
Questions lawyers often ask their clients: 1) How much money do you have? 2) Where can you get more? 3) Is there anything you can take from somebody?
The funny thing is, this is exactly true of bankruptcy lawyers in the US…because they need this information to fill out the bankruptcy petition (the point of bankruptcy is seeing how much the debtor has in assets and income to see how best to pay his/her creditors, and a potential lawsuit against someone is considered an asset of the debtor, since if the debtor wins, they can get money to pay the creditors). If they don’t ask these questions, in excruciating detail, the court will fine them for lying about the debtor’s assets. That’s right…the court enforces the joke on the lawyers.
Lawyer commandment: Everyone is innocent until proven broke.
Two lawyers are in a cafe, and they take out sandwiches that they packed at home and begin eating. A waiter comes by and says I’m sorry sirs, but you can’t eat food you brought here yourself. The lawyers look at him, think for a second, then exchange their sandwiches and continue eating.
A man has fallen onto the train tracks, and many commuters gather round, trying to get him back up. Give me your hand, give me your hand! they cry, in vain. The man refuses to budge. All of a sudden, an older man arrives and asks son, what is your profession? I…I’m a lawyer, the man on the tracks stammers. The older man sighs and says take my hand, which the lawyer does, and he is rescued in the nick of time as a train pulls up to the station. Never tell a lawyer to give you anything, the older man explains to the crowd.
The joke goes at least back to Nasreddin.
A young man has finished law school and enters the practice of his father. The proud father lets him work on one of his cases, involving a big inheritance and points out that there’s a lot of money in the case for him. Six weeks later, the son proclaims: Dad, I won the case! The father is enraged: You won? You idiot! I paid your law school from that case!
Some variants have the entire family living on the case for a century.
An old man goes to his lawyer and asks what he has to do to become a lawyer, explaining that he wants to become one before he passes on. The lawyer wonders why the old man would want to become a lawyer at this late stage in his life, but since the old man says he’ll pay him to show him the ropes, he thinks nothing of it. So the old man goes to college and gets his law degree, then takes the bar exam and passes. Shortly afterward, the old man is on his deathbed, and the lawyer asks, Please, before it’s too late, tell me why you wanted to become a lawyer when you knew you didn’t have that long left to live anyway. As the old man takes his last breath, he manages to whisper, One less lawyer in the world…
It’s also often told about religion or political parties.
A young man decides to enroll in a law school. Before he’s admitted, he stands before the recruitment commission: well, Mr. X, could you tell us why do you wish to study law? The man responds, c’mon, Dad, don’t be silly…
I also know many men and women of honor, humility, and Christian piety serving in prestigious positions in politics, the military, and journalism. Even – amazing grace! – a few lawyers.
The Catholic Thing.org
A lawyer was driving down the street, when he saw a man chewing on grass. Confused, the lawyer stops and asks what he’s doing. The man responds, I’m homeless, poor and starving, my friend, and if I don’t eat something I will die. Listening to his story, the lawyer says: Well, come with me then. I have a farm not far from here you can use. Happy, the homeless man enters the car and the lawyer promptly takes him to his farm. Once they arrive, the lawyer looks at the man and says: I’m sure you’ll love this place. The grass here is five foot tall!.
A man accused of robbing a bank of $300 million approached an attorney to defend him. Upon learning that the man had not actually taken the money, the lawyer promptly dropped the case.
Don’t tell my mother I’m a lawyer. She thinks I play piano in a whorehouse.
A job interview in a prestigious law firm. The interviewer asks the applicant: Imagine three men in shark-infested waters. One of them is unarmed, the second one has a knife, the third one has a harpoon gun. Who do you associate yourself with? The third one, of course. I’m afraid I have to decline your application – our employees must associate themselves with the sharks.