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My Favorite Lawyer Joke ~ circa 1770 June 7, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Humor, Joke.

In 1770, King George III asked for a census of all the people in the colonies.


Wikipedia ~ Attorney (in Public Domain)

This is the actual report, verbatim, that Grafton County, New Hampshire sent to the King:

“Your Royal Majesty, Grafton County, New Hampshire, consists of 1,012 square miles.  It contains 6,489 souls, most of whom are engaged in agriculture, but included in that number are 69 wheelwrights, 8 doctors, 29 blacksmiths, 87 preachers, 20 slaves and 90 students at the new college.

There is not one lawyer, for which fact we take no personal credit, but thank an Almighty and Merciful God.”

No rules.  Just write!

What about you?  Do you have any favorite lawyer jokes to share?

Related posts:  To Thine Own Self Be True * “I Know What YOU Should Do”


1. Cindy - June 7, 2011

There’s one about sharks, bur I can’t remember it right now …

nrhatch - June 7, 2011

A lawyer’s sailboat capsized in dangerous, shark-infested waters. He surprised his traveling companions by volunteering to swim to the far-off shore for help.

As he swam, his companions were startled by the appearance of two dorsal fins ~ great white sharks, heading straight toward the lawyer.

To their surprise, the sharks allowed the lawyer to take hold of their fins, and escorted him safely to shore.

When the lawyer returned with help, his companions asked him how he had managed such an incredible feat.

The lawyer replied, “Professional courtesy.”

2. Debra - June 7, 2011


I like both of these. Thanks for the laugh Nancy:)

nrhatch - June 7, 2011

Glad you enjoyed!

After being in court yesterday (first time in 14.5 years), the FUN of sharing lawyer jokes came flooding back.

3. GretchensPianos - June 7, 2011

Wa ha ha ha ha!

I have no jokes to contribute, but can recommend reading John Grisham. He gets in his digs.

nrhatch - June 7, 2011

Glad it made you chuckle, Gretchen. John Grisham’s early books are some of my favorite legal thrillers ~ him and Scott Turow.

GretchensPianos - June 7, 2011

The wonderful thing about Grisham is, he’s a lawyer himself. His professors told him he should write fiction.

So… he has friends from school who are practicing lawyers and judges. He combines their stories from time to time, but they’re all true! I recognize my law firm jobs every time.

nrhatch - June 7, 2011

Same with Scott Turow. He is still a practicing attorney, handling mostly pro bono cases. He started writing legal novels shortly after law school.

4. GretchensPianos - June 7, 2011

Thanks for the heads up! I’ve heard people talk about how much they like his books ~ time to check them out.

nrhatch - June 7, 2011

His first book is Presumed Innocent (1989):

Presumed Innocent, published in 1987, is Scott Turow’s first novel, which tells the story of a prosecutor charged with the murder of his colleague, an attractive and intelligent prosecutor, Carolyn Polhemus.

It is told in the first person by the accused, Rǒzat “Rusty” Sabich. A motion picture adaptation starring Harrison Ford was released in 1990.

You might also like his non-fiction account from law school ~ One L (1977)

5. Maggie - June 7, 2011

Lawyers… despised by many, even in 1770. Thanks for the laugh!

nrhatch - June 7, 2011

I think that’s why I love this “joke” . . . it shows a sense of humor about lawyers more than 200 years ago. 😀

6. Rosa - June 7, 2011

Great jokes! I just watched a Grisham movie the other night and was quite disappointed… can’t think of the name though!! Actually, I can’t think of the plot or who was in it either… hmmm

nrhatch - June 7, 2011

His first few novels/movies appealed to me. His later stuff, not so much.

Once authors can get by on name recognition alone, I think they cut too many corners in cranking out one book after another.

7. Tilly Bud - June 7, 2011

Great jokes!

I love John Grisham books. Any lawyer stories, actually; as well as lawyer programmes. The Good Wife is my current favourite.

nrhatch - June 7, 2011

Glad you enjoyed, Tilly.

I used to read more legal thrillers and novels than I do now. John Grisham’s early books were great reads. I’ve been disappointed with much of his recent work ~ especially his non-legal books like The Painted House.

One of my favorite legal series was LA Law ~ interesting cases with succinct and persuasive opening statements and closing arguments. Then, like most courtroom dramas, it turned into a soap opera ~ more about the characters than the cases.

8. Baxter Bunny - June 7, 2011

I get the feeling that you’re still doing Jury Duty…I hope at least the trial is interesting.

nrhatch - June 7, 2011

I’m not still on Jury Duty. They released me from service after 2 hours of Voir Dire on a DUI case ~ they didn’t want me. 😦

Even lawyers don’t like lawyers . . . 😉

9. therealsharon - June 7, 2011

HAHA, nice joke! 🙂

nrhatch - June 7, 2011

It’s an “oldie” but a goodie. 😉

10. viviankirkfield - June 8, 2011

Thanks for the smile, Nancy. I’ll have to send the joke to my daughter who lives in New Hampshire…the state motto is “Live Free or Die”…but I’m sure there are plenty of lawyers who live there now. 🙂

nrhatch - June 8, 2011

We have a shortage of many things . . . but not lawyers. 😉

Glad you enjoyed.

11. viewfromtheside - June 8, 2011

it’s not really a joke. but a society that has more engineers than laywers will make progress, the other way round and a society stagnates

nrhatch - June 8, 2011

I expect that’s one of our problems today . . . too many lawyers spoiling the broth. 😀

12. jannatwrites - June 8, 2011

Thanks for the laugh! I wish I had a joke to share, but my memory has something against remembering punchlines.

nrhatch - June 8, 2011

Glad you enjoyed. I’m like you, most jokes don’t stick around very long in my head. I had to go find this one on the internet since I couldn’t find it in my home office. It made me laugh all over again.

Poor unloved lawyers. 😀

13. earlybird - June 8, 2011

I bet modern censors don’t get to make comments like that! I’m sure it’s all done by computers and is just numbers now. I wonder what other comments were made on other regions’ returns.

nrhatch - June 8, 2011

You might be able to find some other tidbits on line. I expect that most places just listed acreage, people, and occupations . . . leaving the humor out. 😎

14. granny1947 - June 8, 2011

I love them NR…must send them onto my uncle…he is a retired judge…think he will enjoy them.

nrhatch - June 8, 2011

Oh, good! Tilly posted a judge joke yesterday or the day before . . . you might want to sent it too:


15. Sandra Bell Kirchman - June 8, 2011

I couldn’t remember these jokes that I had gotten in an email at one time, so I looked them up. I thought they were hilarious, especially since they are true.

Actual stupid questions asked

The below excerpts appeared in the Salt Lake Tribune. They were taken from real court records.

Now doctor, isn’t it true that when a person dies in his sleep, in most cases he just passes quietly away and doesn’t know anything about it until the next morning?

Q: What happened then?
A: He told me, he says, “I have to kill you because you can identify me.”
Q: Did he kill you?

Was it you or your brother that was killed in the war?

The youngest son, the 20-year-old, how old is he?

Q: She had three children, right?
A: Yes.
Q: How many were boys?
A: None.
Q: Were there any girls?

Were you alone or by yourself?

Q: I show you Exhibit 3 and ask you if you recognize that picture?
A: That’s me.
Q: Were you present when that picture was taken?

Were you present in court this morning when you were sworn in?

Q: You say that the stairs went down to the basement?
A: Yes.
Q: And these stairs, did they go up also?

Q: Now then, Mrs. Johnson, how was your first marriage terminated?
A: By death.
Q: And by whose death was it terminated?

Q: Do you know how far pregnant you are now?
A: I’ll be three months on March 12th.
Q: Apparently then, the date of conception was around January 12th?
A: Yes.
Q: What were you doing at that time?

Do you have any children or anything of that kind?

Was that the same nose you broke as a child?

Q: Mrs. Jones, do you believe you are emotionally stable?
A: I used to be.
Q: How many times have you committed suicide?

So, you were gone until you returned?

You don’t know what it was, and you didn’t know what it looked like, but can you describe it?

Q: Have you lived in this town all your life?
A: Not yet.

A Texas attorney, realizing he was on the verge of unleashing a stupid question, interrupted himself and said, “Your Honor, I’d like to strike the next question.”

Q: Do you recall approximately the time that you examined that body of Mr. Huntington at St. Mary’s Hospital?
A: It was in the evening. The autopsy started about 5:30 P.M.
Q: And Mr. Huntington was dead at the time, is that correct?
A: No, you idiot, he was sitting on the table wondering why I was performing an autopsy on him!

nrhatch - June 8, 2011

Thanks, Sandra! I love tidbits from court cases.

I used to have several volumes filled with courtroom humor. One was called, Order in the Court. Can’t recall the other titles. All filled with hysterical faux pas.

16. eof737 - June 9, 2011

I am still laughing at that one… Oh poor lawyers! 🙂

nrhatch - June 9, 2011

I find it amusing due to the author’s very dry sense of humor . . . and his reliance on “God” as the punchline. 😀

17. flyinggma - June 9, 2011

Never heard this before, Thanks for sharing it.

nrhatch - June 9, 2011

Apparently, society has had a low regard for lawyers since . . . always. 😀

18. William D'Andrea - June 9, 2011

In the movie Jurasic Park, there is a scene in which the lawyer gets eaten by the tyranosaurous. I read news reports saying that when the movie first came out, audiences applauded.

nrhatch - June 9, 2011

I remember that! Thanks, William. 😀

19. Booksphotographsandartwork - June 9, 2011

I am quite surprised to see that attitude so far back in history. It seems a shame.

nrhatch - June 9, 2011

Until I saw this for the first time, I assumed that lawyers were held in high esteem (as professionals, not businessmen) at least through Honest Abe’s time. I thought it was the “ambulance chasers” who had caused the reputation of lawyers to tank.

Apparently not. I guess they’ve always been viewed as a “necessary evil.”

Sandra Bell Kirchman - June 9, 2011

My mentor was a wise, discerning, and spiritual man. He offered this explanation about the attitude towards lawyers.

Originally, apparently lawyers were meant to be healers. Their role was to help people navigate the murky waters of the many varied and contradicting laws of the land, to help heal the confusion and hurt that people felt when dealing with the law, and to help formulate laws that were fair, just, and helpful to people.

They have failed at every point. I don’t mean to say that all lawyers are snakes, but I have worked with enough of them as a paralegal to know that most of them are interested in self-gain and self-glory. They are pompous, arrogant, and not so much interested in helping as scalping.

Again, not all lawyers are this way, but enough of them are to make them hated. People have unconsciouly known since the dawn of time that the lawmakers were more interested in their own gain (King Herod, for instance, and even the Caesars).

In any event, they are not the healers they were supposed to be. A few are (Clarence Darrow?) and they are hailed as heros.

nrhatch - June 9, 2011

A quote from Ambrose Bierce’s satirical The Devil’s Dictionary (1911):

“LAWYER, n. One skilled in circumvention of the law.”

20. oldancestor - June 10, 2011

Everybody hates lawyers until they need one, no?

nrhatch - June 10, 2011

So true. At times having “one skilled in circumvention of the law” on our side can be an asset! 😀

Sandra Bell Kirchman - June 10, 2011

I think they still hate lawyers, OA. It’s just, at that point, a lawyer is, as Nancy pointed out earlier, “a necessary evil.” 😛

nrhatch - June 10, 2011

Not all clients hate their lawyers . . . I had clients that I defended against claims of professional negligence who greatly appreciated my efforts.

That was the best part of practicing law . . . helping people who deserved to be helped. 😀

21. Sandra Bell Kirchman - June 10, 2011

I just got this joke in my email this morning and thought you guys would enjoy it!


On their way to get married, a young Catholic couple is sadly 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 begin to wonder: Could they possibly get married in Heaven?

When St. Peter showed up, they asked him.

St. Peter said, ‘I don’t know. This is the first time anyone has asked. Let me go find out,’ and he leaves.

The couple sat and waited, and waited. Two months passed and the couple are still waiting. As they waited, they discussed that if they were allowed to get married in Heaven, what was the eternal aspect of it all.

‘What if it doesn’t work?’ they wondered, ‘Are we stuck together forever?’

After yet another month, St. Peter finally returned, looking somewhat bedraggled. ‘Yes,’ he informed the couple, ‘you can get married in Heaven.’

‘Great!’ said the couple, ‘But we were just wondering, what if things don’t work out? Could we also get a divorce in Heaven?’

St. Peter, red-faced with anger, slammed his clipboard onto the ground.

‘What’s wrong?’ asked the frightened couple.

‘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?

nrhatch - June 10, 2011

Awesome! Thanks, Sandra.

22. Snakes, Sharks, and Lawyers | Spirit Lights The Way - January 25, 2014

[…] posts:  My Favorite Lawyer Joke (circa 1770) * Killing Time ~ Building Tunnels to Nowhere * A Talking Frog & Other Engineering […]

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