A DISCUSSION OF LAW AND JOURNALISM

Tag: lawyer jokes

Hear the One About a Texas Lawyer Who Walks Into An Airport…and Sues?

By Jeremy Potter

First, there was the judge from Washington D.C. who sued his drycleaner for losing his pants, and now a Houston personal injury lawyer is threatening to sue several Houston entities over a missing leather jacket.  Frivolous lawsuits and the lawyers who file them do nothing to curb negative public sentiment toward lawyers.

William Ogletree left his Polo leather jacket at a pizza restaurant in the Houston Intercontinental Airport’s food court before a Continental Airlines flight to Las Vegas.  According to The Smoking Gun, as of March 4, 2010, Ogletree had not yet filed suit but he did send a letter to the city of Houston, Continental Airlines and the food management company of the food court, threatening to sue unless he was sent an $800 reimbursement for his lost coat.  Media accounts took for granted that Ogletree has a baseless claim…and it turns out they’re right. But they didn’t explain why.

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The Ubiquitous Full Employment Act for Lawyers: You’re Not the First (Nor the Last) to Hear About this “Legislation”

By Jethro K. Lieberman

Come on, admit it. You’ve reacted to news that Congress or your state legislature has passed a law protecting red-beaked gnats or requiring warning labels on chewing gum as a “full employment act for lawyers.” And you’ve even been amused. Right? But don’t tell us you thought you were being original.

We just stumbled across a memo from 1988 that summarized a search for the phrase in an early news database (most likely Nexis-Lexis). More than 60 uses turned up, mostly during a two-year period from 1986. The phrase was archly planted in stories that ran in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Business Week, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and many other publications. Often the phrase purported to be the coinage of a source who is quoted. Bankruptcy, we are told in an Institutional Investor story, is a full-employment act for lawyers. The New York Times ran an op-ed by Sen. Ernest F. Hollings, who opined that an FCC rule requiring radio stations to be relicensed is a “full employment act for Washington communications lawyers.” A Washington Post columnist said that a local scandal was “rivaling the Wall Street insider trading mess as the best full-employment development for lawyers in years.” And — but you don’t want us to repeat 60 more of these lines, do you?

And just in case their readers were literalists, many of the writers added that their sources “joked,” “are joking” or “referred jocularly to” the benighted laws they mocked.

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