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Madeleine Begun Kane,
Humor Columnist,

Madeleine Begun Kane

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March 5

Why did I go to law school? Work is unbearable, I have no free time, and I'm expected to "make rain" at parties. To somehow extract legal fees from revelers who sidle up, drinks in one hand, hors d'oeuvres in the other, looking for free advice. My reward? Lawyer jokes:

Question: What's the difference between a lawyer and a snake?
Answer: You don't know, either?

I can't believe I fell for that one.

March 22

I wonder if killing the managing partner would be justifiable homicide. He actually asked me why I'm not billing clients for time I spend in the john. And he meant it. So I said "You're right. I always think about clients while relieving myself. In fact, I find the process quite stimulating."

The legal-hotshot, who apparently slept through Sarcasm 101, said "Good. I'll expect to find it reflected on your bills." Then he told me if I don't become more productive, I'll never make partner. Of course, what he really meant was more "creative."

I wonder what weapon I should use.

April 16

W.... doesn't want to pay his bill. He asked me how a simple will could cost $6,500. I was tempted to tell him nothing costs less than $6,500 after it's been drafted by a paralegal and reviewed by three attorneys. Particularly, when one of the lawyers -- me -- knows nothing about wills, having been loaned out by Acquisitions. But that would have been indiscreet. So I came up with some bull about how his unusual family circumstances required special clauses, hand-tailored to his unique situation.

I don't think he bought it.

May 14

The partners announced they've raised our minimum yearly billing to 2,100 hours per attorney. More, if we want to make partner. Yeah, right. Nobody's made partner in years.

The managing partner closed his little pep talk with that warhorse about the lawyer who dies, reaches the pearly gates, and argues with St. Peter that he's too young too die -- he's only 38. So St. Peter says, "That's funny. According to your billable hours, you're at least 85."

I'm gonna have to rethink my bathroom billing.

May 28

A new business acquisition client freaked out today at being stuck with a "girl lawyer." Before I got a chance to punch out the old geezer, the supervising partner told him -- with a straight face, yet -- that female lawyers are good at acquisitions because they hone their skills at shopping. So the geezer says, "Okay, but you'd better check everything she does."

Damn right he will, at $400 an hour.

June 4

All the associates have to go to some ball game this Sunday. Baseball, or football, or basketball -- one of those. Guess I'd better study the rules.

And the best part is we're taking some clients. Oh, goody.

June 7

I got bawled-out today because I didn't act sufficiently enthused at the game.


July 2

Thank God I'm not a litigator. Jerry just got a 137 page motion to dismiss his 85 page complaint. By fax yet, right before a holiday weekend. Jerry says he'll see the defendant's motion and raise it a hundred. I think Jerry should consider therapy.

July 9

The rumors are true. The senior partner in charge of my department is leaving the firm and taking most of the business.

Maybe I should have been a litigator.

July 12

They sure don't waste time around here -- I got my pink slip today. I have six months to find another job or talk one of the other departments into taking me in. Wills and Estates? Litigation? Guess it's time to start packing.

July 16

I met with Out-Placement today and reviewed my resume. Surprise, surprise -- I'm over-priced and over-specialized. Not to mention overwrought. But I shouldn't worry, they tell me. If I don't find a job in six months, I can lie and say I'm still working at the firm. Gee, now I feel much better.

February 11

I'm still out of work. And instead of sympathy, I get those "you must be a bad lawyer" looks. Of course, they still ask for free advice. Only now they argue with me. "Are you sure?" they ask. "My lawyer said just the opposite."

February 18

I'm so depressed about being unemployed, that I'm seeing a shrink twice a week. But my therapy isn't helping; I can't stop obsessing about his 50 minute hour.

February 22

Here's a good one:

Question: What do you call an Unemployment Office filled with 500 lawyers?
Answer: A good start.

© 1994 Madeleine Begun Kane. All Rights Reserved.
1st Published Pacific Magazine & Funny Times

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