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Law Lite

Law Lite Illustration
(Illustration by Franklin Hammond)

Every lawyer can use a good laugh. Share your favorite legal stories or jokes. Write to Vicki Sanders, Editor, BC Law Magazine, 885 Centre Street, Newton, MA 02459 or email

The Sound of Many Hands Clapping
In all the time I have been in court as a lawyer or judge, I was only witness to one incident where the court audience responded to a ruling with applause.

On July 6, 1988, I was the judge in the case of a local college that was in bankruptcy. The college had a plan of reorganization that was set for hearing the following month. The creditors were not optimistic that the college could raise the necessary funds to support the reorganization plan. The courtroom was packed with spectators, lawyers, and students. I orally ruled that the college’s case would be converted to a Chapter 7 liquidation unless the college was able to raise $1.85 million by the next month. Much to my surprise, the ruling was greeted with sustained applause. Apparently, the school’s supporters regarded the ruling as a temporary reprieve that gave the college one last chance to stay in business. At my next hearing, the first lawyer got up and, with a twinkle in his eye, said, “Judge, I don’t think we will be able to get you any applause for your next ruling.”
—Judge Robert C. McGuire ’60
Dallas, Texas

A member of the bar was involved in a jury trial for many weeks and, when the case finally went to the jury, the attorney left town for his summer home. Before leaving, he instructed his assistant to call him as soon as the jury reached a verdict. Four days later, the jury found in favor of the attorney’s client. The assistant called his boss and said, “Truth and justice have prevailed!” whereupon his boss shouted, “File an appeal immediately!”
—Submitted by Ben Cantor ’37
Belmont, Massachusetts

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