Lawyers, who often defend people or practices that are considered unpopular or wrong (or justify draconian laws in the case of prosecutors), are an infamous Acceptable Target. It is often stereotyped that students of Law, Political Science, any debate-intensive course, etc. are total, aggressive, shameless and argument-prone assholes who, for example, profit massively from the misery and misfortune of others, drink like fish, join fraternities, manipulate the system and everybody else around them as ambitious opportunists as if they follow Machiavelli as their equivalent of Muhammad, and so on.
Note that this refers to an explicit or implicit suggestion that all or most lawyers are evil, by:
- A character making a joke about lawyers being evil, or
- Giving lawyers Animal Motifs that classify them as evil (typically a snake or a shark)
Tends to be associated with America (especially in The '90s) although it's a global trope to some extent.
One reason lawyers make such Acceptable Targets may be that, not only are aggression and opportunism both important in the litigation career, people generally only interact with them directly at difficult times in their lives (when facing criminal sanction, civil suits, or the complexity of land laws when buying a house), meaning individuals are not associated with the good parts of the legal system, like public order and good lawmaking.
For real life lawyer jokes, see the quotes page.
- A commercial for Halo Top ice cream has the Devil try to order a cease and desist on Heaven because ice cream is Hell's intellectual property. He summons three lawyers eating Halo Top ice cream and remarks that he has tons more lawyers down in Hell.
- In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Phantom Blood, during a football game, they mention how Jojo is studying archaeology while Dio is studying law. There you have it folks, lawyers are just bloodsuckers after all!
- "The Saruman Blues" from The Unfinished Spelling Errors of Bolkien has the line "I've got this guy called Grima, he's a slimy troublemaker, more disturbing than a lawyer who's a part-time undertaker."
- In this poem, Taylor Mali knows that there are so many evil lawyer jokes out there that he just lets listeners fill in the blanks for themselves:
Taylor Mali: I bite my tongue, instead of his, and resist the urge to remind the other dinner guests that it's also true what they say about lawyers — because we're eating, after all, and this is supposed to be polite conversation.
- Referenced by Robin Williams in his 2009 stand-up special Weapons of Self-Destruction, when doing a bit on the Bernie Madoff incident:
Robin Williams: An embezzler named "Madoff". Hmmm... was the name not a clue? Did he have to be with the accounting firm of Dewey, Fuckyou, and Howe?
- Disney Ducks Comic Universe: In "The Magnificent Seven (Minus Four) Caballeros" by Don Rosa, a corrupt Indian chief brags that he learned about the power of "greed and avarice" while studying abroad. Donald quips "You became a lawyer?"
- In The Sandman, one minor character makes the "not enough catshit" joke.
- In Top 10, the lawyer Larry "Frenzy" Fischmann is an anthropomorphic shark. One character insults him, saying that his people haven't evolved in millions of years. Frenzy takes offense, saying that's a common misconception about sharks. The guy wasn't talking about sharks.
- A spider showed up with a lawyer and a restraining order against Garfield, who was smiling because he'd "never squished a lawyer".
- Also, "Beware of the Dog's Lawyer".
Garfield: The times they are a-changin'...
- Non Sequitur lives and breathes this trope. In one arc, Danae sues the state for allowing her teacher to flunk her. The judge dismisses the case, calling it the second stupidest thing he'd ever heard.
Dad: Okay, I'll bite. What was the stupidest?
Danae: That there's no shortage of lawyers willing to take the case.
- In Peanuts, Snoopy often fantasizes about being an attorney, and he tends to get these a lot, mostly from Lucy. It's lampshaded once, after he appears to have lost a case (where he represented Peter Rabbit who was suing Mr. McGregor) and he gets upset at Woodstock. ("No, I do NOT want to hear a funny attorney joke!" he snaps.)
- This shows two sharks watching "Lawyer Week" on the Discovery Channel, week after Shark Week.
- Used frequently regarding Steve Dallas in Bloom County. In one of the collections, Breathed remarked about how frequently lawyers would respond positively (often asking to buy a print) to the jokes.
- Pearls Before Swine does this every once in awhile; the cartoonist is Stephan Pastis, an ex-lawyer, and is known to delve into these jokes occasionally.
- "I heard you used to be a lawyer. Do you ever miss those days?". Cue hysterical laughter.
- De Rechter: The Lawyer is frequently the target of these kind of jokes. One example: during his vacation, the Lawyer goes diving and runs into a shark. The two politely greet each other as colleagues.
- In The Legend of Total Drama Island, a school of sharks won't harm Courtney out of "professional courtesy" because she plans to be a lawyer when she grows up.
- In the AU Kitsune no Ken: Fist of the Fox, Orochimaru has been turned into a lawyer. While he's good in this story's continuity, he's first seen having successfully got Dosu, Zaku and Kin (members of Mizuki's gang) out on bail... And complains that he's going to be on the receiving end of these.
- In the Universe of Pokémon Reset Bloodlines, Lawyers are one of the five mortal enemies of Ninjas.
- Several characters make cracks in Xendra after Wolfram & Hart appear on the scene.
Joyce: I thought lawyers were evil after my divorce, but apparently ordinary lawyers only make it to the first couple circles of Hell. Wolfram & Hart gets all the way down to the very deepest circles.
- Mistakes and Second Chances:
"Hey, who said Slytherins were all dark and evil? I mean yeah, [Daphne's] dad is a solicitor which is just one step below being a Dark Lord, but it's not like everyone's brimming with magical power and has a hankering for the dark arts."
- In the story "Lunchtime at the Tyrant's Arms" from the fourth Halloween Unspectacular, Roy Cohn is among the real-life conquerors and villains because of this. He even lampshades it.
- In The Panther and the Veela Harry and the Delacours swap lawyer jokes before dinner.
- Harry Potter, I will never make her cry again:
Dan: What's the difference between Luna and a Great White?
Emma: Oh, I don't know.
Dan: Well they both strike from the unknown and are utterly devastating but Bruce was male and Luna is obviously female.
Dan: Yeah, Bruce, after Spielberg's lawyer.
- From Bee Movie:
Cow: You're a lawyer?
Mosquito: Ma'am, I was already a blood-sucking parasite. I just needed a suitcase.
- The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad gives us Cyril Proudbottom's epic slam against the crown prosecutor, when asked how Toad got the motorcar:
Cyril: The only way a gentleman gets anything: the honest way.
Prosecutor: And WHAT IS the honest way?
Cyril: HAHA! I THOUGHT you wouldn't know that one, guv'na!
- Cousin Mel's lawyer from Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer goes by I. M. Slime.
Jake: You said it, not me.
- Osmosis Jones: "We'll go down to the haemorrhoids and get you a good lawyer."
- Back to the Future Part II: "The justice system works swiftly in the future now that they've abolished all lawyers." Note that Doc does not necessarily say that as good news. Considering the context of the line it's more likely that no lawyers mean no protection from the State Sec.
- Blade II has Blade meet a representative of his enemies, and sees he's got the mark of a Familiar, starting this exchange.
Blade: You're human.
Kounen: Barely. I'm a lawyer.
- In The Hebrew Hammer, the Jewish Justice League is trying to find a Jewish hero to defeat the new Santa Claus:
JJL Member: Robert Shapiro!
'JJL Chief': He's a lawyer! We're looking for heroes here, people!
- From Hook:
- "I hear scientists are replacing their lab rats with lawyers. One, the scientists were starting to get attached to the rats. And two, there are some things even rats won't do."
- We also get this exchange:
Ruffio: We kill pirates.
Peter Banning: I'm not a pirate. It so happens I am a lawyer.
Rufio: Kill the lawyer!
Peter Banning: I'm not that kind of lawyer!
- In Independence Day, when Marty Gilbert finds out the aliens are about to attack, he quickly worries about who he needs to warn.
Marty Gilbert: A countdown... wait, a countdown to what David?
David Levinson: It's like in chess: First, you strategically position your pieces and when the timing is right you strike. They're using this signal to synchronize their efforts and in 5 hours the countdown will be over.
Marty: And then what?
Marty: Oh, my God. I gotta call my brother, my housekeeper, my lawyer. Nah, forget my lawyer.
- From Liar Liar:
Max Reede: My dad? He's... a liar.
Teacher: A liar? I'm sure you don't mean a liar.
Max Reede: Well, he wears a suit and goes to court and talks to the judge.
Teacher: Oh, you mean he's a lawyer.
- A Murder of Crows is a subversion, since the hero is a (mostly) heroic lawyer, who matches wits with a serial killer who goes after lawyers because of this trope. The reason was that his son was killed by a drunk driver, but the driver's lawyer got him off on a technicality... and when they walked out of court, he could tell that the killer was repentant, genuinely sorry about the damage he'd caused... but the lawyer was smiling. He had won.
- In the western-spoof Rustlers' Rhapsody, good-guy gunfighter Rex O'Herlihan faces off against good-guy gunfighter and lawyer Bob Barber. When Barber shoots O'Herlihan in the arm (rather than shooting the gun out of O'Herlihan's hand, as good guys are supposed to do), O'Herlihan's shocked that Barber isn't really a good guy. Barber's response: "I'm a lawyer, you idiot!"
- Pool Hall Junkies: Uncle Mike's introduction in the film has him walking out onto a balcony and telling one (while at a party where almost everybody attending happens to work for the same law firm, including Uncle Mike.)
- A rather dark version of this trope happens in the 2001 HBO / BBC movie Conspiracy (2001), about the Wannsee Conference where the Holocaust was planned. Stuckart, a lawyer representing the Interior Ministry, starts objecting to the proposed "evacuation" of millions of Jews because it violates the Nuremberg Laws.
Dr. Gerhard Klopfer: We make the law we need! Why am I telling you this? How many lawyers are in this room? Raise your hand. (half the room put their hands up, including Klopfer) Oh Jesus Christ, it's worse than I thought.
- In Angel Heart, Louis/Lucifer jokes that "one less attorney" in the world doesn't really matter, even though there has been nothing to suggest that Winesap is corrupt or evil in any way ( or knew who his client really was), and the fact that he had a "nasty accident" suggests that he wouldn't have gone along with his client's plan and needed to be silenced.
- During the discussion over dinner in Jurassic Park, Grant, Ellie, and Malcolm argue against Hammond's plans for the park. He laments that the only one to side with him is the "bloodsucking lawyer" Donald Genarro, who's only concerned in the potential profits.
- The spoof movie The Silence of the Hams had a gag in the part parodying The Silence of the Lambs where the protagonist is walking through the prison of mentally insane criminals—he walks past a bunch of maniacal, howling lawyers standing in a pit, with a warning sign reading "Don't feed the lawyers".
- In a British musical version of Charles Dickens' The Old Curiosity Shop aka Mr. Quilp, in the number "When a felon needs a friend", Brasses and Quilp praise the profession of a lawyer and its advantages before Richard Swiveller.
...For he'll rob the rich and poor with equal grace
And while lying in his tooth
He would sometimes tell the truth
It's amazing what he will do to win a case!
- In Veronica Mars, Veronica uses the existence of this trope as proof that Private Detectives are more respected than lawyers.
Veronica: Tell me one Private Detective Joke...
- This exchange from The General's Daughter:
Colonel Robert Moore: Then wouldn't it behoove me to retain the services of an attorney? I know a good one.
Warrant Officer Paul Brenner, C.I.D.: Two problems there. First the obvious: there are no good ones. Second, you're not a civilian, Colonel, you're in the army. You have no rights to an attorney. You have no right to remain silent. And if you don't cooperate I may have to put you in jail and that would make me feel really bad.
- In I Love You Phillip Morris, Steven tells one of these to the receptionist. She finds it funny, and the joke is quickly told to anyone and everyone in the firm, with plenty of variations, including a nasty anti-Semitic one.
- What's the difference between a lawyer and a trampoline? Answer
- What's the difference between an enraged chicken and a lawyer? Answer
- How many Rottweilers does it take to rip a lawyer limb from limb? Answer
- What is the difference between a burbot and a lawyer? Answer
- Is there any other difference between a burbot and a lawyer? Answer
- A man is driving down the road and sees a hitchhiking priest, so he stops to pick him up. A little while later he sees a hitchhiking lawyer, and attempts to run him over with his car. At the last second he remembers the holy man in the car with him and swerves to avoid hitting the lawyer. The man gasps "Oh my God, that was close! I almost hit that lawyer!", trying to play it off like it was an accident. The priest says "Don't worry, my son. I got him with my door."
- After losing a lot of money in a lawsuit, a man goes to a bar to drown his sorrows. While drunk, he loudly proclaims that all lawyers are scumbags. The man next to him says "Hey, I take offense to that!" The drunk guy asks "Why, are you a lawyer?" The other man responds "No, sir, I am a scumbag."
- Why don't sharks eat lawyers? Answer
- What do you get when you have three lawyers up to their neck in sand? Answer
- A Russian, a Frenchman and two American lawyers are on a long train ride in the same cart. Russian takes out loads of vodka and caviar, treats everybody aplenty, and just throws the rest out the window. "Oh, we have an overabundance of that!" Next, Frenchmen takes out loads of vine and cheeses, treats everybody aplenty, and just throws the rest out the window... After some deliberation, one of the American lawyers gets up, grabs and throws the other out the window.
- A lawyer was once running late for a meeting, and when he got in the Judge said "Speak of the Devil..." The lawyer replied "I believe you are confusing me with my employer."
- What's the difference between a dead snake in the road and a dead lawyer in the road? Answer
- What's the difference between a mosquito and a lawyer? Answer
- Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, a little girl, and an honest lawyer are in an elevator. There is a $100 bill on the ground. Who picks it up first? The little girl, because the others don't exist.
- Another version has Santa Claus, an honest lawyer, and a talented country musician. Santa picks up the $100 bill. Remember kids, he's the only one of the three who exists.
- If you consider that umpires, for all intents and purposes, function more or less as baseball's lawyers in game-related matters:
One day, the Devil challenged the Lord to a baseball game. Smiling, the Lord proclaimed, "You don't have a chance, I have Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, and all the greatest players up here."
"Yes", snickered the devil, "but I have all the umpires."
- "Do you solemnly swear that you will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and let the lawyers say the rest?"
- A couple on their way to a wedding dies and goes to heaven. They ask St. Peter if they can get married in heaven. "Yes," says St. Peter, but takes a week to find them a minister who marries them. When the couple decides to get a divorce, St. Peter says, "No can do. It took me a week to find a minister in here. You can imagine how long it'll take me to find a lawyer."
- A man walks into a bar with an alligator. "Do you serve lawyers?" he asks the bartender. "Yes." "Good. A beer for me and a lawyer for my alligator."note
- Even the law profession is not immune to this.
- On exams, the hypothetical legal firm is usually The Law Firm of Pun, Pun, and Wordplay. Most famously, the firm of Dewey, Cheatham, and Howe ("do we cheat 'em? And how!")
- That's also the name of the firm that allegedly has Click and Clack as clients (their counsel is Hugh Louis Dewey, also known as Huey Louie Dewey). It's also (really!) the name of Car Talk's production company.
- Another made-up name, especially in Britain, is Private Eye's Sue, Grabbit, and Runne.
- A third one is Chatham, Cheatham and Runne. If you ask to meet a senior partner, you will inevitably be told:
"Mr. Chatham is in Cheatham, Mr. Cheatham is in Chatham and Mr. Runne has gone for a walk."
- Doctor Dolittle got a call from the Audubon Society one day, asking him to explain strange vulture behavior; a man had died and the vultures, instead of eating the body, were giving it a decent burial. Doctor Dolittle arrived and saw that it was true. He asked one of the vultures what was going on. "It's professional courtesy," said the vulture. "He was a lawyer."
- Homeward Bound, the final book in Harry Turtledove's Worldwar series, has Johnathan Yeager discover, to his amusement, that the Race has the same attitude towards lawyers as humans, and spends some time exchanging jokes with appropriate cultural alterations.
- The Bible
- Satan appears as a prosecutor in God's court. In Jewish theology, this is in fact the extent of his villainy, and his entire narrative role. Insert joke about how the Christians made him less evil by turning him into God's direct antagonist and enemy of mankind (God's people in particular).
- Jesus is compared to an Advocate (DA), but then it does say he came to take our sins upon him and lawyering is the greatest sin isn't it?
- In The General Series by David Drake and S.M. Stirling, there's a species of fish called Advocati. Advocati are invertebrate, foul-smelling, slimy bottom-feeders, that only are useful as dog-fodder, and only that if the dogs haven't been fed for a few days.
- This quote from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — and Word of God points out that, ironically, Hermione became the magical equivalent of a lawyer and used her position to improve the lot of House-elves, Muggles and Muggle-Borns.
Scrimgeour: Are you planning to follow a career in Magical Law, Miss Granger?
Hermione: No, I'm not. I'm hoping to do some good in the world!
- In The Devil's Dictionary:
Accomplice, n. One associated with another in a crime, having guilty knowledge and complicity, as an attorney who defends a criminal, knowing him guilty. This view of the attorney's position in the matter has not hitherto commanded the assent of attorneys, no one having offered them a fee for assenting.Lawyer, n. One skilled in circumvention of the law.Liar, n. A lawyer with a roving commission.
- In The Fifth Elephant, Angua points out that the only reason Uberwald switched from Trial by Ordeal to Trial by Lawyer is because they learned that lawyers are crueler.
- Whenever Mr. Slant — a centuries-old zombie lawyer — appears, expect at least one such joke to come. In The Truth, one of the Dwarfs suggests killing Slant, and William points out there's probably some law against killing lawyers — otherwise, there wouldn't be any left.
- The Nac Mac Feegle have swords that glow blue in the presence of lawyers, the way Sting reacts to orcs in The Lord of the Rings.
- Troy Rising: One morbid joke following the Horvath bombardment of Earth is that the Horvath only read one bit of human culture, and that was Shakespeare's Henry VI Part 2. Due to a quirk of demographics, the profession with the heaviest casualties from the bombardment was the American Bar Association (that's what happens when Washington DC and Los Angeles are major targets).
- Louise Fa of Project NRI lashes out one of these at Richard Engarde.
Just because you know how to rob fat old men of their money doesn't mean you're the most competent.
- Temple, one of the main protagonists of Red Country has had many jobs, the most recent of which was as the corrupt attorney to a company of seedy mercenaries. Even though said mercenaries were raping and pillaging and Temple, the Token Good Teammate, was only involved in drawing up contracts and making land deals (and disapproves of/had no involvement in the killings), he decides that he will likely get less hate identifying himself as a mercenary rather than a lawyer.
- Michael Connelly novels:
- The Concrete Blonde: Before the opening statements of Harry Bosch's trial, the judge told the jurors what the attorneys say during those statements wasn't necessarily true since they're lawyers. The judge's accent even makes it sound like "lie-yers".
- The Lincoln Lawyer: Mickey Haller is told a joke that uses the Bait-and-Switch Comparison.
- In "The Devil's Thoughts" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Robert Southey, the sight of a lawyer killing a viper reminds the Devil of Cain and Abel.
- The New American Dictionary defines a lawyer as "a paid criminal".
- As he was a pre-law student, Jon-Tom in Spell Singer is subjected to this trope fairly regularly throughout the series. In the final novel, he (accidentally) kills a bandit leader in the most awful way imaginable: he summons a lawyer owl who buries his unfortunate victim alive under a mountain of paperwork.
- In A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver, it's the job of existing residents of Heaven to advocate for historical figures to be allowed "Up." Henry the Second, thanks to his work on the English judicial system, has actual lawyers arguing for him, but it takes a few centuries for enough of them to get into Heaven to make a case.
- The Dresden Files: Harry gets a decent amount of mileage out of the fact that the resident Good Shepherd Father Forthill not only passed the bar exam before discerning his vocation to the priesthood, but still occasionally helps his parishioners with their legal troubles.
- In No Way to Treat a First Lady by Christopher Buckley, the Long List of despicable types successfully defended by Boyce "Shameless" Baylor concludes with "even fellow lawyers."
- Dora Wilk Series: When vampire Antoni glamours his lawyers, exasperated with the amount of trouble he has with them, Dora is full of understanding.
Dora: In a room with a lawyer, a notary, a tax collector and a vampire, the vampire is hardly the most bloodthirsty one.
- Nina Tanleven: Downplayed version in The Ghost in the Big Brass Bed - Chris remarks at one point that her father says "You shouldn't believe anything you hear from a lawyer."
Nine: I thought your uncle was a lawyer.
Chris: [laughing] He's the reason my dad says that!
- Good Omens: Once human society creates warranties on personal computers, the demon Crowley sends some down to the Deal with the Devil contract-writers in Hell with a note attached saying "Learn, guys".
- In Death: In Ceremony in Death, Eve wonders if a "lawyer witch" can be considered redundancy.
- The Crazy Ex-Girlfriend number "Don't Be a Lawyer" has a couple, in addition to being a song about how law in general is a terrible profession. There's the line "No one every says let's kill all the tailors!".
- In Smallville
Jailed meteor freak: You're not a lawyer.
Tess's minion: I'll take that as a compliment.
- In The Mentalist, one Victim of the Week, a lawyer, is killed when his speedboat is destroyed in an explosion. Lisbon and Jane, who were already on the scene when the bomb went off, rush over, only to see the man's severed arm suddenly get tugged underwater by what is almost certainly a shark.
Jane: So much for professional courtesy.
- Cordelia discusses the evil law firm Wolfram and Hart, comparing them with vampires Angel and Darla. "You were soulless bloodsucking demons, and they're lawyers." A humbled Angel agrees with her. "We were amateurs."
- This season one gem as said by Gunn: "Whoo! Whoo! My God! They told me it was true, but I didn't believe em. Damn. Here it is! Evil white folks really do have a Mecca." Let's just say that Wolfram & Hart take evil lawyers to a whole 'nother level.
- "They're the law firm Johnny Cochran was too ethical to join." Really, Wolfram & Hart is the personification of the trope.
- In the episode "Black As Cole" (episode 8 season 4), when Paige learns about Cole's past she says:
Paige: So you were a demon and a lawyer? Insert joke here!
- When the Charmed Ones' father, Victor, was threatened with being ripped into a thousand pieces by a group of shapeshifters, he simply responded "Ah, so you're lawyers."
- In the episode "Black As Cole" (episode 8 season 4), when Paige learns about Cole's past she says:
- A Crossover between El Chapulín Colorado and El Chavo del ocho is a retelling of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It includes a creepy song during the sequence where the evil queen/witch cooks the potion to poison Snow White, with the following line:
"It could turn you into a road bump, or into a frypan handle, or into a huarache strap. Into snail's lime, or into an overused skate. Into a football commentator, or into a lawyer."
- A lawyer in CSI: NY makes one himself: "What do you call a thousand dead lawyers? A good start."
- Similarly, in the Law & Order episode "Savior," defense attorney Margot Bell says, "What does a lawyer have in common with a sperm cell?" ADA Claire Kincaid replies, "Both have a one-in-a-million chance of becoming a human being," then tells Margot there's a law that once you pass the bar, you have to stop telling lawyer jokes. Then there's this exchange in "Divorce":
D.A. Adam Schiff: Where on earth did these people learn their ethics?
A.D.A. Jamie Ross: Law school.
D.A. Adam Schiff: Of course.
- From a Rowan Atkinson sketch, "Welcome to Hell":
The Devil: Now murderers...murderers over here, please. Thank you. Looters and pillagers over here. Thieves if you could join them and lawyers, you're in that lot.
- Boardwalk Empire: Bill Fallon is the butt of an excellent one from his client, Arnold Rothstein, after being impressed by Rothstein's ability to lie with a straight face.
Bill Fallon: You know, it's not too late to go to law school, Arnold.
Arnold Rothstein: I prefer to make my living honestly.
- In an episode of the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids series, it's revealed that Wayne keeps embarrassing Diane every time they go to her law firm's picnics together since he keeps making these jokes.
- Modern Family: When Mitchell and Cameron are staying at Jay's house because theirs is being fumigated, Jay leaves a book of lawyer jokes in the guest bedroom to irritate Mitchell. He cracks these kind of jokes throughout the episode, including "What's the difference between a catfish and a lawyer?"note
- In the last episode of season 1 of Las Vegas, Ed Deline says to a group of lawyers that it might seems strange to them to try to do the right thing for once.
- In The Golden Girls, Sophia is having a near-death-experience where she's in Heaven:
Angel: Just make yourself comfortable. I'm really anxious to meet this next guy. He's a lawyer.
Sophia: Why is that special?
Angel: He's the first one we've had here!
- Stephen Fry on QI:
"What do lawyers and sperm have in common? One in fifty million have a chance to become a human being."
Earl: Maybe I should have a lawyer look at this...
- In the episode "High Noon", Earl notes that lawyers are "...lower lifeforms who have only recently arisen from the primordial ooze..." and that he really hates them.
- In the episode "Life in the Faust Lane", when Earl is about to sell his soul:
Dinosaur Devil: I am the KING of lawyers! Just SIGN IT!
- According to Mr. Ashland in "Power Erupts", the leaders of the WESAYSO Mega-Corp do not eat their enemies- that's what their lawyers are for.
- 30 Rock riffs on a classic old lawyer joke with Stephen Black, a lawyer who works at the firm "Dewey, Cheatham and Livingston." This is a subverted reference to the old joke firm of "Dewey, Cheatham and Howe", which is a pun on "Do we cheat 'em? And how!"
- Tales from the Crypt features an episode where a lawyer named Geri Ferret ends up working off her legal sins in a nightmarish courtroom purgetory.
- The Office (US): Michael Scott believes in this trope and generally does not get along with lawyers even when they're being reasonable. He also attempts to tell lawyer jokes to them.
Michael: So you are the lawyer, Mr. OMalley? I know a lot of lawyer jokes.O'Maley: I love lawyer jokes.Michael: Well, its probably because you dont get em.
- In "Sexual Harassment";
Michael: Hey, Schneider, real quick. What do you call a buttload of lawyers driving off a cliff?Schneider: A good start. And I think it's "busload".
- In "The Deposition";
- Tool's song "The Pot" says: Liar, lawyer, mirror, show me. What's the difference?
- Tom Waits, "God's Away on Business":
Who are the ones that we kept in charge?
Killers, thieves, and lawyers!
- The Capitol Steps' song "'Atsa Lawyer".
Nothing else looks as good
As a Doberman would
On a lawyer!
- The protagonist of Warren Zevon's "Mister Bad Example"
Of course, I went to law school
And took a law degree
And counseled all my clients to plead insanity
- "Weird Al" Yankovic's "Jurassic Park":
A huge tyrannosaurus ate our lawyer
Well, I suppose that proves
They're really not all bad
- During a song in Muppet Treasure Island, a pirate sings, "I could've been a lawyer, but I just had too much heart."
- Once on Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! Peter Sagal related a conversation in which he'd mentioned to an acquaintance that his brother was a lawyer. When the acquaintance expressed sympathy, Peter hastened to reassure him.
Peter Sagal: No, no, he's a good lawyer.
Acquaintance: Oh, when did he pass?
- The Munchkin Card Game has several lawyer monsters, including So Suu Mee—the Chinese lawyer demon.
- In the Collectible Card Game version of Illuminati, there is a card referencing William Shakespeare, (see below) called "First thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers" which destroys all law cards in play. In order to use it the player must say "Now seriously, Lawyers are an important part of our judicial system and we'd all be worse off without them." The card notes that the player has to try to say it with a straight face, but is not expected to succeed.
- In Bleak World a Nightmare Level enemy is "The Board of Executives" a group of Lawyers who sold their soul for immortality and the knowledge of all universal laws.
- Older Than Steam: William Shakespeare's famous "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers." He made several other jabs at lawyers in his works, but the line from Henry VI Part 2 is the most famous. (Lawyers are quick to point out that's part of a plan to create anarchy and tyranny in revolution.)
- There's a song about this in Legally Blonde The Musical: "Blood in the Water"
- One of John Adams' first lines: "I have come to the conclusion that one useless man is called a disgrace; that two are called a law firm, and that three or more become a Congress!" A touch of Hypocritical Humor on his part, since he was a lawyer.
- Later, Adams got into a shouting match with John Dickinson:
John Adams: You cool, considerate men. You hang to the rear on every issue so that if we should go under, you'll still remain afloat!
John Dickinson: Are you calling me a coward?
John Adams: Yes... coward!
John Dickinson: Madman!
John Adams: Landlord!
John Dickinson: LAWYER!
[a brawl breaks out]
- In Two on an Island by Elmer Rice (who studied law in his early years before quitting to pursue a writing career), the theatrical producer Lawrence Ormont gripes:
"What is a lawyer? A eunuch who spends the first thirty years of his life training himself to think in terms of five per cent. A parasite who has neither the agility of the flea nor the curiosity of the louse."
- "Spooky Mormon Hell Dream" from The Book of Mormon has Johnnie Cochran appear in hell alongside Genghis Khan, Jeffrey Dahmer, and Hitler.
- In Noah Smith's stage version of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Hyde makes one in Act II after Utterson speculates on how Hyde will evade the police.
Hyde: What a dastardly criminal mind you have, Utterson! Not surprising, for a lawyer.
- In the intro to Bully, Jimmy describes "corporate lawyers" among the despicable alumni of Bulworth Academy, right after arms dealers and serial killers.
- Earthworm Jim had a LOT of fun with lawyer jokes. Notably, they're reoccurring enemies in "What the Heck?" in the first game.
- Guybrush Threepwood does a whole string of these in Escape from Monkey Island when he travels to Lucre Island to consult the Marley family lawyers. Of course, none of the lawyers actually get the jokes...
Guybrush: Why don't sharks eat lawyers?note
Confused Lawyer #1: But sharks eat lawyers all the time!
Confused Lawyer #2: Once they've signed all the right corpus delecti waivers...
- As the resident lawyer in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Phoenix Wright is often a target of these from other characters. The other Phoenix, Jean Grey, is just one of those who poke fun at him, then there's this lovely quote from Ghost Rider...
Ghost Rider: Do you have any idea how many lawyers are in hell?
- There is a level where you have to get bad guys up from hell to heaven. One of them's a lawyer.
- In Scribblenauts Unlimited, the Starite shard "Liar Liar Pants On Fire", awarded for placing two people who never tell the truth next to each other, can be earned by spawning two lawyers in close proximity. Getting another shard, in the Saurus Park level, involves putting something that sucks blood in a chunk of amber, and a lawyer works just fine.
- In Grim Fandango, when the Player Character, Manny, is trying convince slimy lawyer Nick Virago to help spring his friend from prison, he wants Manny to stroke his ego by asking if you want a good lawyer or the best. One of the player's reply options is "Well, logically, the best lawyer would be a dead one", which causes him to caustically point out that that definition includes every single attorney in the Land of the Dead.
Nick: And, by the way, Manny... Lawyer jokes... not funny.
Manny: Okay, so this lawyer, his mother, and a chicken are all on this lifeboat, see... They're getting hungry, and the chicken says...
Nick: I have a gun, Manuel.
- In the manual of every Legend Entertainment game there was a lawyer joke inserted into the licence agreement. These jokes were almost never repeated from game to game.
- Sleazy Lawyers from Clicking Bad, who are so oily they eventually become supervillains.
- Unreal Tournament makes note of this in the description for one of the opponents in the singleplayer Deathmatch ladder, claiming that economists are one of the few things close to being as bad as a lawyer, and that the audience for the tournament will pay big bucks to see such "scum" get blown to pieces repeatedly.
- Medieval Cop: Death of a Lawyer:
Gru: Some lawyer was found dead in his home earlier this morning. We suspect it is a case of murder.
Dregg: So, is my job to find this guy and give him a medal?
- One of the loading messages in Incredible Dracula 2: The Last Call:
From the Count's journal: Lawyers would make good vampires because they know where the jugular is.
- Mass Effect: Andromeda: At one point late in the game, it's possible to find an inebriate in the Nexus militia's cells demanding a lawyer. He's informed by the desk sergeant that no lawyers have yet been taken out of cryogenic stasis. The sergeant, a turian (who historically have No Sense of Humor), then adds "there's probably a joke in there somewhere."
- The Ace Attorney series as a whole likes to use these kind of jokes. Considering the basic nature of the series's concept (hero lawyers, fighting for justice), they're mainly used ironically. Most of the time they're self-deprecating humor from the lawyers themselves.
- Apollo Justice has a go at himself with these occasionally.
Apollo: I'm a lawyer. I live for needless procedures.
- In one of the cases from Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Dual Destinies, one character thinks he's a demon lawyer from hell. The dialogue is pretty subtle about it, but there's no doubt that Apollo's lines, such as "I'm not a demon, I'm a lawyer", were intended to be subtle forms of these.
- Apollo cracks a crack at himself when Trucy says that revealing a magician's secrets isn't very nice.
Apollo: I'm a lawyer. I'm not supposed to be nice!
- In Dual Destinies, one of the witnesses calls Apollo a no good shyster.
Apollo: [thinking] A lying thief calling me a shyster. This has to be the low point of my career.
- Another case of the self-deprecating variety in Dual Destinies when talking to Athena about the trial during the second day's investigation prompts a conversation about how "Tenma Taro" made an appearance in court.
Athena: I heard the Judge actually held an exorcism in his courtroom after that.
Apollo: Good. Hopefully that's the last we'll see of that pain-in-the-neck yokai.
Athena: I don't know... I think Temna Taro could exorcise an exorcist.
Apollo: As an attorney defending a demon, I know exactly how that feels.
- Apollo Justice has a go at himself with these occasionally.
- In Homestar Runner, "lawsuits" consist of little more than pelting the defendant with water balloons or snowballs, sometimes followed by a mugging.
- One episode of Society of Virtue has a Galactus-like alien menacing earth. The heroes initially don't understand what it wants until Flaring Roach correctly deduces that it is a lawyer threatening to destroy earth for a copyright violation. Big Bang initially dismisses the idea saying that just because the alien is a Humanoid Abomination Planet Eater does not mean it's a lawyer, he then realizes that Flaring Roach is right.
- In the world of All Over The House, lawyers are Satan-proof because they have no souls.
- Bug in the strip called "Sympathy for the Devil":
- In a Checkerboard Nightmare strip, Lyle's law firm superiors decide to punish him for a recent failing by locking him in a room and lowering the temperature until...he puts his hands in his pockets. Despite Lyle pointing out that that's just a lawyer joke, said superiors persist.
- In Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures the most evil and feared monster in all of Furrae is possibly Moira Gianna: Attorney at Law.
- Dominic Deegan lampshades it here.
- The final panel of this Everyday Heroes is an extended evil lawyer joke, half of which is spoken by a lawyer.
- Exterminatus Now: Apparently, the Inquisition lawyers are a snake, a vulture and a hyena. A later comic gives the name of their law firm as Carrion, Carrion and Diamondback.
- Freefall has a few, such as this one.
- Get Medieval has a Running Gag along these lines:
"See, I used to be a lawyer in Narbonne..."
"And then you decided you'd rather go to heaven?"
"Oh, I've Never Heard That One Before!"
- Impure Blood has the level two of the prison, for gladiators, murderers, thieves, rapists and lawyers.
- In the Kevin & Kell universe, most—if not all—lawyers are, in fact, sharks, leading to frequent jokes... for example, when Herd Thinners Inc. is flooded (due to drooling resulting from having an injured rabbit on the premises), Angelique comments that it's not a total loss—now their legal staff can work on-site.
- One Irregular Webcomic! strip contains this bit of dialogue:
- Narbonic: After Mell falls from heavens: "Holy cheese, do they need lawyers up there!"
- Candy from Precocious, enjoys making these jokes about herself, in her second appearance alone she claimed she works best without a soul. Another time her wife (who was smoking something hand-rolled) claimed that she breaks more laws daily than she does.
- Schlock Mercenary:
- The comic has an entire Hive Mind of snake-like lawyers. There's a standing bounty on them so the crew kill them at every opportunity.
Narrator: Okay, so they are all lawyers. Right now you are supposed to be feeling sorry for the heroic, human one...
- Best summarised during Massey's first appearance, when the Partnership Collective attempted to link him to their Hive Mind.
Massey: Ohhhh... it's full of stars.
Snake: Must have pulled the wrong switch. [amends this]
Massey: AAAIEEE! It's full of lawyers!
- Note Massey himself is a lawyer who subverts any and all Evil Lawyer tropes; so much so that occasionally he has to use lawyer-speak when talking to his employer to hide the fact that moral concerns are the real reason he thinks the current plan is a bad idea.
- Or this:
Tagon: ...Attorneys do it all the time.
Breya: Then it's probably unethical or immoral.
- The comic has an entire Hive Mind of snake-like lawyers. There's a standing bounty on them so the crew kill them at every opportunity.
- Sinfest has lawyers in hell... this is instantly lampshaded by Slick.
Slick: Well, this comes as no surprise.
- Sluggy Freelance had various running gags involving lawyers in the early years that only rarely show up now.
- Welcome to Hell has this joke applied to both lawyers and network executives:
Mephisopheles: I'm currently in the process of having hell renovated, everybody's off the hook right now, the only one suffering IS ME. Would you look at this place, it's a freaking mess. The gluttons and the lawyers are in the middle of what looks like a turf war, the murderers have been hanging out with the network executives, that simply can't be a good influence on them.
Sock: The murderers or the network executives?
Mephisopheles: I DON'T KNOW!
- Used in AH.com: The Series, "Heart of Steel", in a flashback—upon hearing that the new crewmember is a lawyer, the two American crewmembers are reflexively thrown into a psychotic rage.
- In Pact, Blake is discussing summoning help. Note that Mann, Levinn, and Lewis, the lawyers in question, rival Wolfram and Hart in this regard.
Blake: Alright, sounds like a plan. Sounds like we've got some disturbing, soulless freaks of nature to summon. When we've done that, we can take a break and summon some ghosts.
- When Mack from Tales of MU has to visit her lawyer, Lee Jenkins, in his office, and discovers the elevator warded against infernal entry, this comes into play in the form of a joke regarding how long a law firm could last if infernal beings weren't permitted to enter its offices.
- Whateley Universe has Jadis' lawyer, who works for a super-villain. In a minor subversion, he's basically helping the good guys, if only because Jadis tends to get wrongfully accused. A LOT!
- In The Salvation War, God gets sued by the State of Louisiana because of the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina, since it was an "Act of God". Michael suggests taking them into court, but points out that most of the lawyers that are not alive are in Hell. Though this may be because God closed the gates of heaven centuries ago, before any kind of modern judicial system was set up.
- One SCP Foundation artifact is a desk that lets you make a Deal with the Devil. When the Foundation tested it using one of their own lawyers to prevent any Loophole Abuse, it manifested in the form of the lawyer's former law professor, which the lawyer described as a harrowing experience (and the SCP as fun).
- In The Blockbuster Buster's honest review of Angel, he says that Angel's main antagonist was Wolfram & Hart, and evil law firm — "sorry if that sounds redundant."
- In 20 Haunting Halloween Facts by Matthew Santoro, Matthew says, "There are people around the world that are 'vampires', who actually drink peoples' blood and claim to drain their life and take everything but their very life. These people are better known by their day name, 'lawyers'."
- In his review of Jurassic Park, The Nostalgia Critic is quick to make one of these when the Tyrannosaurus rex kills and eats a lawyer.
The Critic: Mmm, lawyer! Tastes like deep-rooted insecurities and bitterness!
- The Amazing World of Gumball: In the episode "The Internet", when Darwin sings about how there's a beating heart in everything, he explicitly excludes lawyers (alongside zombies and jellyfish).
- Daria: Daria's mother Helen (an attorney) is often in the background talking to her boss about cases. At one point she says something to the effect of "No, no, absolutely not! It's unethical, it's immoral, it may well be illegal. I'll have no part of it. [pause] Okay, I'll do it." She's also cruel to her staff (which is, sadly, Truth in Television in too many real law offices); she once tells her assistant: "Look, our entire strategy depends on you analyzing those printouts before the weekend. I don't care if your mother's getting married! I don't care if your mother's getting executed! Do you understand?!"
- On one episode of Duckman, there is a law firm called Manson, Dahmer, Gacy, and Bundy, all names of serial killers.
- Disenchantment: When Luci gets exorcised, and stuck in a bottle his first reaction is to demand his lawyer. Turns out he's a demon too (distinguished from all the others by a tie), and he's already been captured as well, advising Luci not to say anything.
- Family Guy: Peter claims that he'd sell his soul to be famous. Cue a scene in Hell where Satan is pleased to hear that, only to learn that Peter's sold his soul twice already. Angry, he asks if anyone in Hell is a lawyer. Everyone raises their hands.
- Justice League, when a bunch of aliens are persecuting the Green Lantern:
The Flash: Don't you have any lawyers here?
Alien Judge: We solved our lawyer problem a long time ago. However, you could speak for him if you wish. However, be warned: If you lose, you will share the same penalty as the accused.
The Flash: The same penalty? You mean... That's crazy!
Alien Judge: No, that's how we solved our lawyer problem.
- Little Dracula: It's a running gag in the series, that whenever Big Dracula starts to describe his lifestyle as "Every night, when the sun goes down, I come down to the village and suck the blood of innocent victims", the listeners always mistake him for a lawyer. (Even if they're lawyers themselves!)
- The Simpsons:
- The family have hired Lionel Hutz to help them with one of their many lawsuits. For some reason, they've invited him over to dinner, where Bart says that he wants to be a lawyer when he grows up. Lionel responds with "Good for you, son. If there's one thing America needs, it's more lawyers. Can you imagine a world without lawyers?" The scene shifts into his imagination, which shows a peaceful utopia where people of all colors and cultures are holding hands and singing. Fade back to Hutz, who shudders in horror at the thought.
- From the episode "My Mother the Carjacker"
[Homer crashes into the police station]
Chief Wiggum: All you destroyed were bricks, mortar, and attorneys!
Attorney: Remember me... as a drain on society!
- There's also an episode where the "Blue-Haired Lawyer"note is shown with hairy hands and really long, wolf-like claws.
- In the episode The Sweetest Apu, Manjula, contemplating divorcing Apu, sees a divorce lawyer, who frequently chuckles demonically, cites the landmark case Lawyers vs. Justice and dances gleefully on the desk when she mentions they have eight children. When Manjula admits she still has feelings for her husband, the lawyer says, "When will you humans learn that your 'feelings', as you call them, can stand in the way of big cash payoffs?"
- In a Wunschpunsch episode where the Curse of the Week turns all people into animals, the heroes need to put them all on one ship to reverse it. They initially fail as the curse won't stop working — apparently someone is missing — until the ship starts sinking and a pair of sharks swim in—three guesses who those two people were.
- In House of Mouse, Hades, the god of the Underworld, calls Goofy over because an item on the menu uses his name without his permission. Hades tells him "A word to the wise, I have all the lawyers." note
- "The Fairly OddParents'':
- In "Timmy's Secret Wish", Timmy is brought to Fairy Court on charges of being the worst godkid ever and Foop is the prosecutor. Foop explains that he became a lawyer to be evil enough to defeat Poof.
- Timmy originally outsmarts Norm The Genie by realizing he needs "someone as dishonest and devious" as him. So he wishes for a lawyer that helps him get Norm to undo the previous wishes.
- Futurama has this exchange. Note that the lawyer in question was the only person who fought for Zoidberg and believed he didn't do anything wrong when he ate an Earth flag on Freedom Day — even the president of the ACLU thought Zoidberg should have been executed.
Dr. Zoidberg: Ambassador Moivyn, you killed my lawyer!
Moivyn: You're welcome!
- Hercules: The Animated Series: Typhon, father of all monsters, is terrorizing Athens and Zeus arrives to stop him and they have this exchange:
- In the two-part Evil Con Carne episode "Devolver", General Skarr is seen devolving into lower life forms. After he turns into a smelly skunk, he turns into a lawyer.
- In The Amazing World of Gumball episode "The Internet", Gumball says that everything except for jellyfish, zombies, and lawyers have beating hearts.
- Chadzmuth, an Amoral Attorney in Ben 10: Omniverse, exhibits proud Self-Deprecation about his chosen career.
Ben: You know, it's sleazebags like you that give lawyers a bad name.
Chadzmuth: Young man, lawyers have always had a bad name.
- The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy used this joke in "Grim or Gregory?", where Mandy went as a lawyer for Halloween, complete with monster gloves for "rending human flesh".
- Played with in the Polish cartoon "666 Złych Uczynków" (666 Evil Deeds) which uses "Health Insurance Salesman" to the same effect, sure enough, the Corrupt Corporate Executive who is the demon protagonists boss in his earth identity as a Health Insurance Salesman is one of the worst characters on the show, also one episode had Satan summon all the demons to hell for a meeting and a few human Health Insurance Salesmen showed up too.
- In the I Am Weasel episode "Law of Gravity", I.R. Baboon burns up the paper documenting the law of gravity, which results in gravity being destroyed. Because lawyers are the only ones who understand the law, they are the only ones affected by the loss of gravity. I.M. Weasel reprimands I.R. for causing all the lawyers on Earth to float away, to which I.R. responds by inquiring why this is a bad thing.
- Sea Shepherd, of Whale Wars fame, had to rename one of their ships, which was previously named "Gojira". As they put it, "It's a great name... BUT the only thing scarier than Godzilla itself is Godzilla's lawyers." It probably doesn't help that Godzilla is the intellectual property of a Japanese company... and that Japan is one of the nations most frequently criticized by environmentalists for whaling. In fact, the moniker was chosen specifically so it (in addition to the fearsome appearance of the ship) would have an impact on Japanese whalers.
- You wanna bet Bela Lugosi, Jr. has heard every bloodsucking lawyer joke ever?
- There's a pub located in Canada called "The Honest Lawyer", with the word lawyer having a pitchfork for the W and the Y having a spaded tail.
- The crew of Jaws named the mechanical shark "Bruce" after Spielberg's lawyer Bruce Raimer.
- The word for "lawyer" in each of the Romance languages is pretty similar to "avocado": avocat (French), avvocato (Italian), abogado (Spanish), etc. Hilarity ensues when translating a guacamole recipe in one of these languages into English using computer software — you may end up being instructed to chop up three lawyers and then put them in a blender.
- A prominent firm of libel lawyers in Great Britain who are renowned for their tenacity in pursuing cases — and fees — are called Carter-Ruck. Private Eye, a magazine often stung by them, renamed them Carter-Fuck. The alternative title has taken off, much to their annoyance.
- Bernard Cornwell named two antagonists in the Sharpe-series, Lieutenants Berry and Gibbons, both of whom were malicious, sadistic and dumb as rocks, after his first wife's divorce attorneys.
- So fun fact: in the 19th century one of the then-current Emperors of Austria basically said "you know what? Everyone hates lawyers, they make our lives miserable, let's just get rid of them!", and so having a lawyer and suing people was outlawed. He overturned that decision within a year when the murder rate had risen 400%. Turns out that when you can't take legal action against a person for a grievance, it's suddenly a lot easier to want to kill them.
- Embraced by the Dutch law firm that adopted the vultures in Artis, the zoo of Amsterdam.
- In Scots Law law students hoping to "call to the bar" (become advocates (specialist court litigators)) must undertake additional training under senior advocates. This is called a devilingship and the student referred to as an "Advocate's Devil".
- Interestingly enough, this is mostly averted in Japan, where it's judges that get these sort of jokes thrown at them, while lawyers tend to be portrayed in a relatively neutral or even positive light. There's a fair amount of Values Dissonance going on with this; unlike the United States, Japan uses an inquisitorial court system where judges do not act as impartial referees but instead dominate trials. They're tasked with finding facts rather than simply judging cases, question witnesses directly, and hand down sentences and verdicts. They were, historically, members of the nobility and hired prosecutors themselves, meaning there was an ingrained bias against the defense counsel (one which has persisted into modern times). Japan's court system also has an extremely high conviction rate, in part because of the tendency for prosecutors to only take cases they're sure they can win. All of this has combined to make judges the main Acceptable Targets in Japan's legal system. Ever wonder why Ace Attorney largely avoids cracks about evil lawyers, but portrays the judge as a bumbling, easily-manipulated Cloudcuckoolander? This is why.