Why We Should Rethink How We Talk (and Joke) About Lawyers

5 min. readbyDan VadeboncoeuronFebruary 12, 2020
Q: What do you call a lawyer that is buried up to his neck in sand? A: Not enough sand.

Are All Lawyers A**holes?

We’ve all heard a million lawyer jokes, every one of them calling into question their honesty, implying their poor character and basically saying that all lawyers are assholes. My question is: why are there so many of these awful, awful jokes? Why is being a lawyer one of the most reviled professions on the planet?

One of the reasons has to do with their association with negative things: injuries, theft, divorces, crime, et cetera. We employ lawyers to help us when people disagree about the law, and that usually turns out to be a not fun process. When people agree about the law, all we need is a well-written contract. But that still needs to be vetted by a lawyer!

Not so much when we disagree about the law.

Lawyers Have Feelings Too

Dealing with lawyers can be an awful experience. On top of that, they’re expensive. The average divorce costs nearly $15,000 in legal fees in Canada. No one’s happy when they spend that kind of money and don’t come away with something with four wheels and a V6 engine.

But lawyers have feelings too, and I don’t think it’s fair to associate the people with the profession like this. We don’t hate morticians, even though we only deal with them when a loved one has passed. We don’t hate TV news anchors, and they usually tell us about the worst events of the day. We don’t hate dentists, though a visit to them often involves pain and suffering. Well, maybe some of us hate dentists.

Lawyer Jokes Don't Have To Be Negative

To start working against this negative stereotype, I thought I’d try out some positive lawyer jokes.

Q: How many lawyers does it take to change a lightbulb?

A: Just one. Seven years of university means they’re not idiots, man.

Q: How can you tell when a lawyer is lying?

A: They likely won’t be. You know that it’s illegal to lie in court, right?

Maybe these need a little work. The bottom line is that lawyers are a necessary part of our legal system. We should be thanking them, not maligning them. Thank them for poring over massive legal documents to ensure all the I’s are dotted and T’s are crossed. Thank them for sitting for countless hours in court to argue for your legal rights. Just thank them for doing their job, which is often thankless and often not widely respected.

I honestly don’t know where I would be without my lawyer, Mike. The legal system is complicated, and I certainly would not be able to navigate my divorce without him.

Thanks Mike, for everything you do. I’d dig you out of the sand any time.

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