Lawyer jokes

Lately, I’ve been thinking about lawyer jokes. Over the years, I’ve heard some funny ones, others not so funny. Some of the best ones have come from my fellow lawyers.

One time, a person I had just met chose to “entertain” me with his favorite lawyer joke. It wasn’t very funny, and it was rather mean-spirited as well. I ignored it and went on with the conversation. In a way, I wish I’d had the guts to say to him, “So, do you tell ‘black guy’ jokes to African-Americans you’ve just met?”

As I’ve put more years of practicing law under my belt, I’ve found that I’m less fond of lawyer jokes. In fact, I find myself putting them into the same category of humor that makes fun of stereotypes: ethnic jokes, gay/lesbian jokes, etc. The key similarity to all of this type of humor is that it uses unfair assumptions about the person or profession that is the target of the joke.

The next time you’re tempted to tell a joke, think carefully about it. There are plenty of funny jokes that do not denigrate people or professions that you can use. There’s no need to tell lawyer jokes, doctor jokes, Italian jokes, or anything like that. George Carlin made a brilliant career out of telling jokes about language and other oddities.

And the next time you hear someone telling a joke like that, have a little gumption and let the joke-teller know that you don’t approve.


2 thoughts on “Lawyer jokes

    1. Thanks for your comment, Philip. Those who know me would probably be the first to say that I definitely don’t take myself too seriously. I poke fun at myself often. My loss of appreciation for lawyer jokes comes from the fact that they usually use negative stereotypes of lawyers (unethical, greedy, conceited, etc.) as the basis for the joke. I’m sure we both know plenty of lawyers who are ethical, generous, humble, and positive influences in our community. It’s unfair to categorize all lawyers as unethical or greedy just because we have a few in our profession who bring shame to themselves and the bar. (See this very recent disciplinary decision by the Indiana Supreme Court for a shining example.) Lawyer jokes perpetuate the negative stereotypes, just as racial or ethnic jokes do. Besides, we lawyers ought to be smart enough to not need to resort to lawyer jokes to make others laugh, right? 😉

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