I’ve heard my fair share of lawyer jokes in my life. Most of the time, I don’t think they are very funny because they either demonstrate a failure to understand the legal system or more likely … they demonstrate a keen understanding of the ethics behind the law. One of my favorite cartoons is a picture of Ziggy in a lawyer’s office with hundreds of books – the walls are covered with them from floor to ceiling. The caption says something like “Ethics? Yes, I think I have a pamphlet on that somewhere…” In keeping with that, today’s quote comes from Seventh Son, another Orson Scott Card movie that is coming out soon:
“Got my word on that,” said Makepeace Smith. “And you don’t have to write it down. A man who keeps his word doesn’t have to read and write. But a man who has to write down his promises, you got to watch him all morning. I know that for a fact. We got lawyers in Hatrack these days.”
“The curse of civilized man,” said Taleswapper. “When a man can’t get folks to believe his lies anymore, then he hires him a professional to lie in his place.”
On rare occasions, judges come out with decisions that temporarily restore my faith in the judicial system. The other day, a local judge did just that. Despite repeated assurances from opposing counsel that I could never win this particular motion, the judge recognized that the opposing party needed to pay $80,000 into the court. After all, he had admitted that the money was not his, that it belonged to another party in the litigation, and that he had previously motioned the court to allow him to deposit those monies with the court (that motion was later withdrawn by use of some clever smokescreen and mirrors). He objected to my motion that he deposit the monies with the court because … he had spent it and didn’t have it anymore. It is always reassuring when the judge can see past the smokescreens and mirrors that attorneys put in front of them! That may seem like a no brainer to the average person but just like Taleswapper says – if you hire a professional to lie for you, they are very clever about it and it sometimes takes another professional to sort out the lies so the judge can see things clearly!