AMBROGI LAW OFFICE > ARTICLES
Laughing at Lawyers and the Law
By Robert J. Ambrogi
Law is serious stuff. But don't tell that to New York lawyer Lawrence
Savell, for fear he might abandon his endlessly entertaining site, LawHumor.com
Savell dedicates his site "to the proposition that zealous representation
of clients and furtherance of the public good can be only enhanced by a healthy
willingness to poke fun at ourselves appropriately on occasion."
And poke fun he does, through humorous articles, music, comics and even
games. Consider, for example, "Law Review: A Love Story," a lawyer love story
written in the style of a law review, complete with footnotes. Listen to excerpts
from Savell's recording, "The Lawyer's Holiday Humor Album," featuring songs
such as "Santa v. Acme Sleigh" and "Rainmaker Reindeer." Check out Savell's
Typo-Man comic book. Play games including "Law Humor Hangman" and "Arrange
You could kill a lot of otherwise billable time at LawHumor.com. But then
you'd be missing out on the many other sites devoted to making lawyers laugh
- or to laughing at lawyers.
Such as Andrew J. McClurg's Lawhaha.com
McClurg is a "serious" legal scholar and professor of law at Florida International
University College of Law. From 1998 to 2001, he wrote "Harmless Error," a
humor column published in the ABA Journal. The column led to a book, The Law
School Trip, parodying legal education. The book led to the Web site.
The site is a mix of McClurg's humor writing and actual oddball humor
drawn from the truth-is-stranger-than-fiction world of lawyers and law students.
Among his writings here are selections from his ABA Journal column and a series
called "Who is Suzy Spikes," tracing the ongoing legal struggles of a litigious
adolescent girl. From the real world come collections of funny law school
moments, weird legal news and strange judicial opinions. Topping it all off
are "the world's greatest law review article" and "the universe's best product
Other Funny Lawyers
A humor writer and self-described recovering lawyer, Madeleine Begun Kane
writes articles, song parodies, poems, comics and more about whatever irks
her - and, she says, she's easily irked. She covers politics, computers, marriage,
cars, work, family, the Internet, the IRS, the news, law, music, money, privacy,
technology, Web surfing, media, travel and President Bush, and compiles it
all on her Web site, MadKane
. She has
a page of purely legal humor, but don't let it distract you from all the
other funny stuff here, particularly her satirical White House dispatches,
"Dubya's Dayly Diary."
Sean Carter, a lawyer, stand-up comedian and humor writer, follows the
lighter side of legal news though his site, Lawpsided
, culling reports of outrageous
crimes, offbeat lawsuits and other legal news and compiling them here. Author
of the book, If It Does Not Fit, Must You Acquit? Your Humorous Guide to
the Law, Carter focuses on current legal news, singling out the wackiest
stories for reporting and commentary.
Dismayed that his search for legal humor on the Web turned up only stale
jokes poking fun at lawyers, Ontario lawyer Daniel Strigberger teamed up with
his lawyer-father Marcel to create Legal
, a humor site targeted at legal professionals - without the
lawyer jokes. Instead, the Strigbergers offer an emporium of humorous commentary,
news reports, courtroom stories and cartoons - and even a somewhat sober
essay advocating more humor in law practice.
West Virginia lawyer Bob Noone is known as "the Perry Mason of parody"
- or at least that's what he says. A practicing lawyer, he is also a performing
musician who has recorded to albums, "Wingtips Optional" and "Chicken Suit
for the Lawyer's Soul." At his Web site, Lawsongs
, you can listen to some of his
songs, read selected lyrics, see pictures of him performing, order his albums,
and read more about his back-up band, the Well Hung Jury.
, is part of
the Web site of the British Columbia law firm Duhaime & Company. The humor
you will here is on the goofy side, as characterized by the image on its
first page of the scales of justice balanced on the arms of Mr. Potatohead.
The site includes the requisite collection of law jokes, the dumbest things
ever said in court, outrageous lawsuits, and a hodgepodge of "bland" legal
humor, described as the "the kind you repeat at social gatherings when the
senior partners are present."
Making Fun of Lawyers
The sites so far temper their humor with respect for the profession of
law. But not everyone is so fond of lawyers. In fact, you may be surprised
to learn that there exists an entire comic genre known as the lawyer joke.
Many of the people who make these jokes appear not to like lawyers very
much. For example, at Power of
, it was not enough for them to have assembled a wide-ranging
collection of lawyer jokes and outrageous lawsuits. They had to go even farther,
creating a Lawyers Stink Store, complete with hats, shirts and coffee mugs,
and publishing the book, Wake Up and Smell the Lawyers.
A less vindictive approach is taken by the folks at Nolo, whose Lawyer Joke Emporium
a broad-ranging collection of lawyer jokes, categorized under general headings
such as Doctors and Lawyers, Lawyers as Money Grubbers and Lawyers in Hell.
One site is so taken with this topic that it has made it its goal to become
the largest repository of lawyer jokes on the Web. On a recent visit, Lawyer Jokes
, had so far collected
fewer than 100. It also collects lawyer cartoons.
As it turns out, there are lots of Web sites that compile lawyer jokes.
No kidding. Here are just some of them:
Stuart M. Rees calls himself a lawyer to cartoonists and a cartoonist
to lawyers. This San Diego-based, Harvard Law School graduate has a law practice
that consists of representing syndicated cartoonists nationwide. He also draws
his own cartoon about lawyers and the law, Stu's
. You can find Rees' most recent cartoon here, along with an archive
of earlier installments. You can also subscribe to receive Stu's Views by
e-mail every week.
Rees is not the only Web source of law-related cartoons. Here are some
- Cartoon Bank is home to
nine decades of New Yorker cartoons, a fair share of which covered lawyers
has this collection of law and legal cartoons drawn by Dan Rosandich.
- Juris, a comic strip that
looks at all things law.
- LawComix, a broad-ranging
collection of cartoons by lawyer Charles Pugsley Fincher, whose legal and
political cartoons have been widely published.
- Lawtoons, a comic drawn by
Suzan F. Charlton, a lawyer in Washington, D.C.
- Mason Darrow, non-profit lawyer,
is drawn by Maine-based cartoonist John Klossner, who makes his archives available
If we cannot laugh at ourselves, someone once wrote, others will be glad
to do it for us. On the Web, there is plenty of both - lawyers laughing at
themselves and others laughing at lawyers.
Robert J. Ambrogi, a lawyer in Rockport, Mass., is author of The Essential Guide to the Best
(and Worst) Legal Sites on the Web, the second edition of which is available
E-mail him at rambrogi-at-legaline.com.