Lawyer jokes. There are countless of them. People love to rip on lawyers, their extravagant billing rate and their excessive lying habits. Knowing I'm pursuing a career in law, my younger brother recently told me his favorite lawyer joke: "What's the difference between a lawyer carrying a briefcase and a mosquito?... The briefcase."
Here are some of my favorites:
Replacing lab rats with lawyers
The National Institute of Health (NIH) announced last week that they were going to start using lawyers instead of rats in their experiments. Naturally, the American Bar Association was outraged and filed suit. Yet, the NIH presented some very good reasons for the switch.
1. The lab assistants were becoming very attached to their little rats. This emotional involvement was interfering with the research being conducted. No such attachment could form for a lawyer.
2. Lawyers breed faster and are in much greater supply.
3. Lawyers are much cheaper to care for and the humanitarian societies won't jump all over you no matter what you're studying.
4. There are some things even a rat won't do.
Are you talking to me?
At the height of a political corruption trial, the prosecuting attorney attacked a witness. "Isn't it true," he bellowed, "that you accepted five thousand dollars to compromise this case?"
The witness stared out the window, as though he hadn't heard the question.
"Isn't it true that you accepted five thousand dollars to compromise this case?" the lawyer repeated.
The witness still did not respond.
Finally, the judge leaned over and said, "Sir, please answer the question."
"Oh," the startled witness said, "I thought he was talking to you."
A love for material goods
A lawyer was driving his big BMW down the highway, singing to himself, "I love my BMW, I love my BMW." Focusing on his car, not his driving, he smashed into a tree. He miraculously survived, but his car was totaled. "My BMW! My BMW!" he sobbed.
A good Samaritan drove by and cried out, "Sir, sir, you're bleeding! And my god, your left arm is gone!"
The lawyer, horrified, screamed "My Rolex! My Rolex!"
How to Argue Effectively
I argue very well. Ask any of my remaining friends. I can win an argument on any topic, against any opponent. People know this and steer clear of me at parties. Often, as a sign of their great respect, they don't even invite me. You too can win arguments. Simply follow these rules:
-=- Make things up.
Suppose, in the Peruvian economy argument, you are trying to prove that Peruvians are underpaid, a position you base solely on the fact that YOU are underpaid, and you are not going to let a bunch of Peruvians be better off. DON'T say: "I think Peruvians are underpaid." Say instead: "The average Peruvian's salary in 1981 dollars adjusted for the revised tax base is $1,452.81 per annum, which is $836.07 before the mean gross poverty level."
NOTE: Always make up exact figures.
If an opponent asks you where you got your information, make THAT up too. Say: "This information comes from Dr. Hovel T. Moon's study for the Buford Commission published on May 9, 1982. Didn't you read it?" Say this in the same tone of voice you would use to say, "You left your soiled underwear in my bathroom."
-=- Use meaningless but weighty-sounding words and phrases.
Memorize this list:
Let me put it this way
In terms of
As it were
So to speak
You should also memorize some Latin abbreviations such as "Q.E.D.", "e.g.", and "i.e." These are all short for "I speak Latin, and you don't."
Here's how to use these words and phrases. Suppose you want to say, "Peruvians would like to order appetizers more often, but they don't have enough money."
You never win arguments talking like that. But you WILL win if you say, "Let me put it this way. In terms of appetizers
vis-a-vis Peruvians qua Peruvians, they would like to order them more often, so to speak, but they do not have enough money per se, as it were. Q.E.D."
Only a fool would challenge that statement.
-=- Use snappy and irrelevant comebacks.
You need an arsenal of all-purpose irrelevant phrases to fire back at your opponents when they make valid points. The best are:
You're begging the question.
You're being defensive.
Don't compare apples to oranges.
What are your parameters?
This last one is especially valuable. Nobody (other than engineers and policy wonks) has the vaguest idea what "parameters" means.
Don't forget the classic: YOU'RE SO LINEAR.
Here's how to use your comebacks:
You say: As Abraham Lincoln said in 1873...
Your opponent says: Lincoln died in 1865.
You say: You're begging the question.
You say: Liberians, like most Asians...
Your opponent says: Liberia is in Africa.
You say: You're being defensive.
-=- Compare your opponent to Adolf Hitler.
This is your heavy artillery, for when your opponent is obviously right and you are spectacularly wrong. Bring Hitler up subtly.
Say, "That sounds suspiciously like something Adolf Hitler might say," or "You certainly do remind me of Adolf Hitler."
Excess billing hours
A lawyer died and arrived at the pearly gates. To his dismay, there were thousands of people ahead of him in line to see St. Peter. But, to his surprise, St. Peter left his desk at the gate and came down the long line to where the lawyer was standing. St. Peter greeted him warmly. Then St. Peter and one of his assistants took the lawyer by the hands and guided him up to the front of the line into a comfortable chair by his desk.
The lawyer said, "I don't mind all this attention, but what makes me so special?"
St. Peter replied, "Well, I've added up all the hours for which you billed your clients, and by my calculation you must be about 193 years old!"
Some of my favorite lawyer quotes:
~Whoever tells the best story wins. - John Quincy Adams
~In almost every case, you have to read between the lies. - Angie Papadakis
~A lawyer is a gentleman who rescues your estate from your enemies and keeps it for himself. - Lord Brougham
~A man is innocent until proven broke. - Anonymous