LEGAL HUMOR FOR THE REST OF US
July 23, 2010 § 2 Comments
Too often, legal humor means that a lawyer is the butt of the joke.
You know what I mean: “How many lawyers does it take to screw in a lightbulb?” or “Why won’t a shark attack a lawyer?” or “A lawyer, a Rabbi and a Methodist minister walk into a bar, and …” Enough already. You’ve heard the jokes.
To make it worse, the joke is usually followed immediately by the teller’s obnoxious cackling laughter, and the lawyer’s bemused and slightly annoyed smile.
But San Francisco lawyer Kevin Underhill has a blog, Lowering the Bar, featuring the humor he finds in the law and what lawyers, clients and judges do, that will appeal to and amuse lawyers and judges whose own experience often includes the absurd. There is some seriously funny reading here, like the South Carolina community that passed an ordinance to ban hooting, wedding photo tips for bigamists, or the police officer who testified he ticketed the driver because his car “sounded like” it was speeding. Underhill’s commentary is droll and witty, and will evoke a laugh.
Underhill is not only clever; he’s also creative. He crafted IF LITERARY WORKS HAD BEEN WRITTEN BY LAWYERS, his hilarious versions of works by Edgar Allen Poe, James Joyce, Shakespeare and others rewritten as if they had been penned by lawyers. Here is his version of Milton’s “Paradise Lost” …
Paradise Lost, New Business Found
Of Man’s first inconvenient slip and Fall Upon the ice,
and the party whose petition
Brought the hourly bill into the World, and all our woe,
With loss of joy, till a Judgeship may
Sustain us, and inspire more blissful work,
Sing, Heavenly Muse, that, on the secret top
Of downtown’s height, didst inspire
That Partner who first sowed the holy seed
Of business and brought forth the fabled green
From out of Chaos; or, if oral argument
Delight thee more, and thy advocate that holdeth
Fast unto the oracle of God, I thence
Invoke thy aid to my most friv’lous brief,
That with no better voice will never soar
Above appellate mount, though it pursues
Things unattempted yet in prose or headnote.
There is much, much more, including a treasure-trove of pleadings(e.g., “Motion to Compel Counsel to Wear Appropriate Shoes”), hilarious case names, and dubious litigation of every stripe. Anyone who has practiced law will recognize the tomfoolery here.
This is humor that is not only intelligent, but also rings true with your own experience. I commend this site to your enjoyment.