Humor - The inevitable problem of lawyers

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[This is one of my favorite messages received, from all my years of activism. It says so much, so well, and with much humor]

Date: Tue, 15 Jul 1997 08:45:55 -0400
From: "Peter D. Junger"
Subject: The inevitable problem of lawyers (was Re: The inevitable problem of censorware)
To: [a law and policy mailing-list]

The continuing discussion between Seth and Mike leaves me with a great deal of sympathy with Seth, perhaps because, as a law teacher, I fear that I must bear some responsibility for the fact that so many members of that profession---my profession---use rudeness when logic fails them.

I suspect that the reason for this is that law teachers tend to say sanctimoniously (and often rudely) that you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. And even would-be lawyers can figure out that, whatever it is that they want to catch, it isn't flies. Which---this is just a theory you will understand---leads to a lot of acidic remarks.

But I am writing this merely to tell you a story about what I heard some thirty years ago when I was in the New York City Civil Court at a Special Term waiting to make some application to the judge at second call.

I don't why matter had me there; it could not have been important, for we were much too respectable, and polite, to engage in any serious litigation.

But, in any case, before my case was called a woman, who was the defendant in her case and appearing pro se stood up and made a very effective application to the judge in support of her motion ``that the plaintiff's lawyer be ordered to treat me politely the way he treats his fellow lawyers.''

The judge was obviously moved by her application and explained sadly that he was afraid that he could not help her.

I will always remember the Judge's last remark as he denied the application: ``I am afraid that he is treating you the way he treats his fellow lawyers.''

I don't know if this will be any consolation to Seth.

Peter D. Junger--Case Western Reserve University Law School--Cleveland, OH
EMAIL: junger[at-sign] URL:

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