How many lawyers does it take to change a lightbulb?
Professor Marc Galanter (U-Wisconsin and The London School of Economics) is giving a lecture next month entitled “Lowering the Bar: Lawyer Jokes and Legal Culture.” He will soon publish a book of the same name.
According to the lecture announcement, Professor Galanter will argue:
… that the increasing reliance on law coexists uneasily with anxiety about the â€œlegalizationâ€ of society. And he will explore the tensions between Americansâ€™ deep-seated belief in the law and their ambivalence about lawyers.
Hard on the heels of Princeton Professor Harry Frankfurt’s succinctly-titled book, it is apparently time for scholars to go mainstream. Easy to do when you have tenure.
I know some lawyers who find these jokes very aggravating; I see them as more revealing about the teller than the target. Lawyers are one of the few groups left that people feel they can joke about without crossing current norms of propriety.
When someone in my company feels comfortable enough around me to tell a lawyer joke, at least I know that the open-door policy is working.
And then I talk to HR…
(punchline) …How many can you afford?