Lawyers Sermon Illustrations

Lawyers Sermon Illustrations

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A man walking along the street of a village stepped into a hole in the sidewalk and broke his leg. He engaged a famous lawyer, brought suit against the village for one thousand dollars and won the case. The city appealed to the Supreme Court, but again the great lawyer won.

After the claim was settled the lawyer sent for his client and handed him one dollar.

"What's this?" asked the man.

"That's your damages, after taking out my fee, the cost of appeal and other expenses," replied the counsel.

The man looked at the dollar, turned it over and carefully scanned the other side. Then looked up at the lawyer and said: "What's the matter with this dollar? Is it counterfeit?"

Deceive not thy Physician, Confessor nor Lawyer.

A Sergeant of the Lawe, war and wys
Ther was also, ful riche of excellence.
Discreet he was, and of greet reverence:
He seemed swich, his wordes weren so wyse.

No-wher so bisy a man as he ther nas,
And yet he seemed bisier than he was.—Chaucer.

There was a town jail, and there was a county jail. The fact was worth forty dollars to the lawyer who was approached by an old darky in behalf of a son languishing in duress. The lawyer surveyed the tattered client as he listened, and decided that he would be lucky to obtain a ten-dollar fee. He named that amount as necessary to secure the prisoner's release. Thereupon, the old colored man drew forth a large roll of bills, and peeled off a ten. The lawyer's greedy eyes popped.

"What jail is your son in?" he inquired craftily.

"In the county jail."

"In the county jail!" was the exclamation in a tone of dismay. "That's bad—very bad. It will cost you at least fifty dollars."

Some physicians direct their patients to lie always on the right side, declaring that it is injurious to the health to lie on both sides. Yet, lawyers as a class enjoy good health.

A Bold Trick

The following anecdote serves to exemplify how necessary it is upon any important occasion to scrutinise the accuracy of a statement before it is taken upon trust. A fellow was tried at the Old Bailey for highway robbery, and the prosecutor swore positively that he had seen his face distinctly, for it was a bright moonlight night. The counsel for the prisoner cross-questioned the man so as to make him repeat that assertion, and insist upon it. He then affirmed that this was a most important circumstance, and a most fortunate one for the prisoner at the bar: because the night on which the alleged robbery was said to have been committed was one in which there had been no moon: it was then during the dark quarter! In proof of this he handed an almanack to the bench,—and the prisoner was acquitted accordingly. The prosecutor, however, had stated every thing truly; and it was known afterwards that the almanack with which the counsel came provided, had actually been prepared and printed for the occasion!

Horse Trials

In the art of cross-examining a witness, Curran was pre-eminent. A clever repartee is recorded of him in a horse cause. He had asked the jockey's servant his master's age, and the man had retorted, with ready gibe, "I never put my hand into his mouth to try!" The laugh was against the lawyer till he made the bitter reply,—"You did perfectly right, friend; for your master is said to be a great bite."

Erskine displayed similar readiness in a case of breach of warranty. The horse taken on trial had become dead lame, but the witness to prove it said he had a cataract in his eye. "A singular proof of lameness," suggested the Court. "It is cause and effect," remarked Erskine; "for what is a cataract but a fall?"

On Mr. Erskine's receiving his appointment to succeed Mr. Dundas, as justiciary in Scotland, he exclaimed that he must go and order his silk robe. "Never mind," said Mr. Dundas, "for the short time you will want it you had better borrow mine!"—"No!" replied Erskine, "how short a time soever I may need it, heaven forbid that I commence my career by adopting the abandoned habits of my predecessor!"

Erskine is said to have once forgotten for which party, in a particular cause, he had been retained; and, to the amazement of the agent who had retained him, and the horror of the poor client behind, he made a most eloquent speech in direct opposition to the interests he had been hired to defend. Such was the zeal of his eloquence, that no whispered remonstrance from the rear, no tugging at his elbow could stop him. But just as he was about to sit down, the trembling attorney put a slip of paper into his hands. "You have pleaded for the wrong party!" whereupon, with an air of infinite composure, he resumed the thread of his oration, saying, "Such, my lord, is the statement you will probably hear from my brother, on the opposite side of this cause. I shall now beg leave, in a very few words, to show your lordship how utterly untenable are the principles, and how distorted are the facts, upon which this very specious statement has proceeded." He then went once more over the same ground, and did not take his seat till he had most energetically refuted himself, and destroyed the effect of his former pleading. He gained the cause.

A similar circumstance happened in the Rolls Court, in 1788. Mr. A., an eminent counsel, received a brief in court a short time before the cause was called on, for the purpose of opposing the prayer of a petition. Mr. A., conceiving himself to be the petitioner, spoke very ably in support of the petition, and was followed by a counsel on the same side. The Master of the Rolls then inquired who opposed the petition? Mr. A. having by this time discovered his mistake, rose in much confusion, and said, that he felt really much ashamed for a blunder into which he had fallen, for that, instead of supporting the petition, it was his business to have opposed it. The Master of the Rolls, with great good humour, desired him to proceed now on the other side, observing, that he knew no counsel who could answer his arguments half so well as himself.


A lawyer of Strasburgh being in a dying state sent for a brother lawyer to make his will, by which he bequeathed nearly the whole of his estate to the Hospital for Idiots. The other expressed his surprise at this bequest. "Why not bestow it upon them," said the dying man; "you know I got the most of my money by fools, and therefore to fools it ought to return."

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