First, pop culture lawyers were heroes. Then, pop culture lawyers were devils. These two extremes capture most of what the world sees of lawyers—they are either pursuers or destroyers of justice based on the angle of perception or bias. However both of these extremes leave out a major aspect of every real American lawyer: their humanity.
Let’s face it; most real lawyers are not as serious or somber as they have been portrayed for years across pop cultural mediums. Real lawyers like every other human being have their moments of weakness and self doubt, of romantic uplift and heartache, and of senseless comedic revelry. The development of the jester lawyer began with shows at the turn of the millennium such as “Ally McBeal” and “Boston Legal.” Both television shows featured large metropolitan law firms with a slew of jester lawyers for a cast. The humor however was based not in their humanity, but their quirks. The shows were just extended lawyer jokes featuring lawyers who were old and senile, neurotic and paranoid, or just plain weird, with catty women and dogs of men. In this era of television, while lawyers were beginning to demonstrate some depth through the moral issues they faced both in and outside their cases, and through their personal and romantic lives, the laughter was still aimed at the lawyer.
Two more recent lawyer comedy shows have hit the airwaves in the last few years and both, I would argue, feature jester lawyers as main characters who you laugh with more so than you laugh at. These two shows, “Drop Dead Diva” and “Franklin & Bash” feature young attorneys who often tap into their humanity to find creative and persuasive ways of winning their cases. These young attorneys both recognize and understand the things they are doing are both outlandish and likely unprofessional—but they invite the audience to laugh with them as they continue to seek justice in an often confusing legal system. Continue reading “Lawyer Jokes”