Lawyers are people who practice law. In most countries, lawyers enter their profession through a period of specialized study. Lawyers are a frequent target of criticism, in part because they are often the face of an opposing party and are the proxy target for that anger, because they often the public face of unscrupulous parties such as persons being tried for crimes, because they employ a specialized jargon which makes it difficult for persons without a legal education to receive the benefits of the legal system without hiring a lawyer, and because they make up a disproportionate percentage of politicians.
- It may be that the jury would incline to regard a practising lawyer as a man of probity whose word was prima facie worthy of belief. But the belief of lawyers in their own probity is not universally shared, and there are those who believe them to be capable of almost any chicanery or sharp practice.
- America is the paradise of lawyers.
- Attributed to David J. Brewer in Champ Clark, My Quarter Century of American Politics (1920), vol. 2, p. 130.
- We have the heaviest concentration of lawyers on Earth—one for every five-hundred Americans; three times as many as are in England, four times as many as are in West Germany, twenty-one times as many as there are in Japan. We have more litigation, but I am not sure that we have more justice. No resources of talent and training in our own society, even including the medical care, is more wastefully or unfairly distributed than legal skills. Ninety percent of our lawyers serve 10 percent of our people. We are over-lawyered and under-represented.
- The function of the lawyer is to preserve a sceptical relativism in a society hell-bent for absolutes. The worse the society, the more law there will be. In Hell there will be nothing but law and due process will be meticulously observed.
- Grant Gilmore, The Ages of American Law (1977), p. 110
- Lawyers earn their bread in the sweat of their browbeating.
- I pleaded your cause, Sextus, having agreed to do so for two thousand sesterces How is it that you have sent me only a thousand? "You said nothing," you tell me, "and this cause was lost through you." You ought to give me so much the more, Sextus, as I had to blush for you.
- Martial, Epigrams, Bk. VIII, Ep. 18, reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 410.
- Lawyer — One who protects us against robbers by taking away the temptation.
- H.L. Mencken, A Mencken Chrestomathy (1949).
- That makes me think, my friend, as I have often done before, how natural it is that those who have spent a long time in the study of philosophy appear ridiculous when they enter the courts of law as speakers…. Those who have knocked about in courts and the like from their youth up seem to me, when compared with those who have been brought up in philosophy and similar pursuits, to be as slaves in breeding compared with freemen.
- Let's ask ourselves: Does America really need 70 percent of the world's lawyers? Is it healthy for our economy to have 18 million new lawsuits coursing through the system annually? Is it right that people with disputes come up against staggering expense and delay?
- Vice President Dan Quayle, address to the American Bar Association, quoted in David Margolick (1991-08-14). "Address by Quayle On Justice Proposals Irks Bar Association". New York Times. Retrieved on 2009-01-01.
- A common and not necessarily apocryphal example portrays a solo practitioner starved for business in a small town. A second lawyer then arrives, and they both prosper.
- Deborah L. Rhode, In the Interests of Justice: Reforming the Legal Profession, Oxford US (2000)
- About half the practice of a decent lawyer consists of telling would-be clients that they are damned fools and should stop.
- Elihu Root, quoted in Philip C. Jessup, Elihu Root (Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, 1964), vol. 1, p. 133, as cited by Lloyd B. Snyder, "Is attorney-client confidentiality necessary?", Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics, Spring 2002, p. 33.
- What are lawyers really? To me a lawyer is basically the person that knows the rules of the country. We're all throwing the dice, playing the game, moving our pieces around the board, but if there's a problem, the lawyer is the only person that has actually read the inside of the top of the box.
- Cade: Be brave, then; for your captain is brave, and vows reformation. There shall be in England seven halfpenny loaves sold for a penny, the three-hooped pot shall have ten hoops, and I will make it felony to drink small beer; all the realm shall be in common; and in Cheapside shall my palfrey go to grass; and when I am king, as king I will be, there shall be no money; all shall eat and drink on my score; and I will apparel them all in one livery, that they may agree like brothers and worship me their lord.
Dick: The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.
Cade: Nay, that I mean to do.
- Is it not remarkable that the common repute which we all give to attorneys in the general is exactly opposite to that which every man gives to his own attorney in particular? Whom does anybody trust so implicitly as he trusts his own attorney? And yet is it not the case that the body of attorneys is supposed to be the most roguish body in existence?
- [Lawyers] can make the worse appear the better cause, as though they were fresh from Leontine schools, and have been known to wrest from reluctant juries triumphant verdicts of acquittal for their clients, even when those clients, as often happens, were clearly and unmistakably innocent.
- The Court must have ministers : the attornies are its ministers.
- Joseph Yates, J., Mayor of Norwich v. Berry (1766), 4 Burr. Part IV., p. 2115, reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 16.
- An incompetent attorney can delay a trial for years or months. A competent attorney can delay one even longer.
- When there are too many policemen, there can be no individual liberty, when there are too many lawyers, there can be no justice, and when there are too many soldiers, there can be no peace.
- Lin Yutang, Between Tears and Laughter (1943), p. 66.