The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers

In today’s Cafe, we talk about how to become a lawyer in the United States. Lawyers do not have the best reputation in many countries (including the U.S.). There are many jokes about lawyers and how greedy (wanting to have more money) or dishonest they are. Of course, there are good lawyers and bad lawyers, just as there are good and bad members of any profession (occupation).

The dislike of lawyers is not a new thing. In Shakespeare’s play, Henry VI, there is a character who says, “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” The character is talking about what would be an ideal (perfect) place, one in which there were no lawyers. That was more than 500 years ago, so I guess things have not changed too much!

Here are two of the thousands of lawyer jokes that you can find in English:

Q: What do you have (what do you call a situation) when a lawyer is buried up to his neck in sand?
A: Not enough sand.

Q: Why did God make snakes just before lawyers?
A: To practice.
*A snake represents the lowest, most evil kind of animal. The idea is that God made snakes to practice how to make lawyers, since lawyers are also evil.


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20 Responses to The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers

  1. Fred says:


    English Café 130 and script are very great ! thank you.

    Hard to understand the seconde joke …

    T h a n k y o u v e r y m u c h

    Fred from France

  2. Evan says:

    I had considered the lawer and doctor are two best professions with good salary and reputation in US. It seems wrong.

  3. John says:

    thanks ,Jeff ,You ‘ve done a great job.

    i will come here every day.

  4. Jamshid says:

    I think because the lawyer wants a lot of money to work and when you have a big problem you have not enough money and someone nerves you with bills is cause for bad reputation of lawyer .
    I have never seen a rich man who complain about his attorney !!!!and rich people are always right !!!??? why?

    Jamshid from Berlin Germany

  5. Anton says:

    Those professions are the most prestigious and well-paid, but the profession of lawyer is concidered amoral because a lawyer advocates his client regardless of what kind of person he is. Whether a suspect is a killer or a rapist, for him it’s just a matter of money, not morality. But I don’t think so. It’s a narrow-headed point of view of a person who barely understands what justice is. Lawyers always adhere to laws and they don’t impose sentences and aquit.

  6. Daniele says:

    i can’t understand the first joke … however i understood the second one without your explanation, Jeff.

    Could you explain the first one too?

    Daniele from Italy

  7. &rey says:

    If anybody wants to know how dishonest lawers could be I suggest to read a book by John Grisham – “The Firm”. I like it very much.
    Thank you, Jeff. You have done 130 English cafe issues and they are still very, very interesting and helpful.

  8. Dr. Jeff McQuillan says:

    Daniele – The first joke begins with the question: What do you call a situation where you have a lawyer buried in sand? Sand is what you find on the beach, near the ocean. The lawyer has sand on his entire body except the head (that’s what “up to his neck” means – everything except the head). If he had sand on his head, too, he could not breathe and would then of course die. Since we want lawyers to die (because they are so evil), there is not enough (too little) sand on the lawyer, because he can still breathe and isn’t dead!

    Of course, no one should think that I believe lawyers are evil. That’s just their reputation.


  9. Serge says:

    In a previous “English Café” podcast, you spoke about Dumb Blonde jokes. But you did not tell us one to not perpetuate the stereotype… As a Blonde Lawyer I had appreciated your tact – it is no more the case 🙁
    Just joking I’m in fact a bald man… do you have one about bald lawyer?
    Thank you for your work! In my half an hour bicycle ride to go to my office, I listen your podcasts, and I really appreciate them.
    Serge (from Grenoble (France) where everyone is a mountain climber and former hockey player as in L.A.)

  10. emiliano says:

    Here in the south of Spain (Andalucia), there is a gipsy curse that says: “Pleitos tengas y los ganes”…lawsuit have you and win them, also many years ago a famous city’s mayor said: Justice is a joke (in spanish much more expressive: La Justicia es un cachondeo), and the sentece has been famous since that moment. In my opinion all is the same staff: Justice, lawyers, judges, public prosecutors, snoopers, and so on.
    But sometimes, not usually, lawyers are not simpathized because they are the worst face of Justice. If you have money…’ll have a good lawyer, and as much money you have as much better lawyer you’ll get. ¿Where is Justice doing a way like that?.
    I do not like this system, I do not like the way that some lawyers do, either judges or prosecutors, but possibly it is the less worst system we may have?.
    But, as a matter of fact, every thing is the same……..if you have money, you have a good doctor, if you haven’t you may call what ever place you want but not a good hospital or doctor will attend to you……..and I think doctors are very well considered among people everywher, which is the difference then with the lawyers?.
    Quite easy to generalize about professionals, or about everything, like I did before.
    Indeed we all have not cure.

  11. learner says:

    That’s wrong! That’s not good idea, Jeff! Do you know why?
    If we kill them all, we’re not going to have any problem any more.
    And we’re going to have a peaceful of life.
    Of course life is peaceful if there is no evil.

    Thank’s a lot for your gearet job, Jeff.

  12. nancy 77 says:

    Thank you Jeff
    Your work is really great. I read and listen to what you do every day, and I find them very interesting. Therefore, I spend more time with the language which will pay off after all. Keep up this great job.
    Syria- USA

  13. jeranum says:

    wow!!, the opinion about lawers is the same all over the country. anyway, they do good jod in democratic countries,I admit.

  14. Gulls says:

    Lawyers are always winning

  15. Tam Doan says:

    Your title is really touch and when I know you cited it in S’s play, that’s a good finding. Thanks for sharing. From English Cafe, I’ve been aware that it is so difficult to become a lawer, may be it is a practical way to limited the number of lawers, isn’t it.

  16. Gaetano (Italy) says:

    Do you know the difference between a lawyer and a vulture?
    One of them is a disgusting beast that feeds on other beings dead bodies tacking advantage of their misfortune. The other is a bird …

  17. mary says:

    i study law … so i will be a lawyer one day .. but not like this u have written …
    i didn,t like that at all …

  18. rivana says:

    i think it is to late to reply but i like this joke 🙂


    me to i hate lawyers


    i appreciate your terrific effort in this site

    i dont know what to say but i am sure that you are agreat man

    thank you soOoOoOo much

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