[The following “Tony’s Tips” column was written on January 25, 1994
and was published in Comics Buyer’s Guide shortly thereafter. I’d
written about lawyers in CBG prior to this, received nasty letters
from a couple of attorneys and wasn’t the least bit intimidated by
them. On those rare occasions when a lawsuit was filed against me,
or merely threatened against me, I have always come out the winner.
On those rare occasions I have filed lawsuits, I have either come
out the winner or watched fate declare me the winner. Some day, I
will write about these. However, today, what you’re getting is a
blast from the past. I hope you enjoy it.]
by Tony Isabella
“First thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.”
- Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part II
It’s like this. Ever since I wrote my first CBG piece about lawyers
back in 1992 - and there have only been two actual columns plus
less than a dozen brief mentions in other columns - I’ve been
branded a lawyer-basher.
Thank you. I’m just trying to do my part.
My complaints about the legal profession (judges and lawyers alike)
can be summed up quickly. Too many lawyers. Too many bad lawyers.
Too few good lawyers willing to cast the bottom-feeders from their
I had some really gruesome experiences with a lawyer several years
ago. When I sought some small measure of satisfaction from the
proper agencies, I found they (Cleveland Bar Association and the
Supreme Court of Ohio) were more interested in protecting their own
kind than serving the public. The only consolation I received in
the matter was this:
My ex-lawyer was arrested at a Cleveland crack house the day the
Supreme Court informed me they would not be taking any action on my
complaint against him. He was convicted on that case and a second
one and is now doing time at a Ohio correctional facility. The
Court moved to “temporarily indefinitely suspend” his license to
practice law. Whatever that means.
Many, probably most lawyers are perfectly decent people and it
almost pains me to deprecate their profession for the sake of a few
cheap laughs. However, since the fateful day I penned that first
column, I’ve been the recipient of more lawyer clippings than you
can shake a subpoena at. Clearly, one final look at the legal
profession is called for in these pages.
“I do not care to speak ill of a man behind his back, but I believe
he is an attorney.”
- Samuel Johnson (1708-1784)
A Tarzana, California flower shop was sued for misplacing a love
note an attorney had composed for his wife and which was to
accompany a bouquet. The attorney rejected settling the lawsuit out
of court claiming, “I’m a hard-nosed, aggressive plaintiff’s
attorney. [The note] was one of the only times in my life I was
“Legality is killing us.”
- J.G. Vincent
Two (and only two) law students stopped taking the State Bar exam
in Pasadena to help another test-taker who was suffering an
epileptic seizure. The two were denied extra time to finish the
test, which was completed by nearly 500 students who ignored the
(The good Samaritans did pass the bar. State bar officials offered
to eliminate the section of the three-day exam that they had
“Lawyers should be buried at sea because deep down they are all
Randall Shorr, a lawyer with the Cleveland law firm of Kahn,
Kleinman, Yanowitz & Arson, kissed an albino skunk twice when his
firm lose a competition with another firm to raise food and funds
for Harvest for Hunger. Asked what making out with the skunk was
like, Shorr responded, “Fabulous. And furry.”
“A lawyer with a briefcase can steal more than a thousand men with
- Mario Puzo
The Cleveland law firm of Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue agreed to pay
$51 million to avoid trial over its role in the failure of Charles
Keating’s savings and loan.
“Two farmers each claimed to own a certain cow. While one pulled on
its head and the other pulled on its tail, the cow was milked by a
- Jewish proverb
Practicing the law must be dangerous in Kansas where a dozen
attorneys stand to receive over $670,000 in worker’s compensation
for work-related injuries.
James Benfer injured a shoulder while lifting and inspecting the
underbelly of his leather chair. He gets $107,913.75.
Robert Anderson threw out his back while reaching for a book at the
Kansas Supreme Court law library. $30,000.
Michael Harris wrenched his shoulder to the tune of $35,000. He
was getting a briefcase from the back seat of his car.
Fletcher Hall hurt himself trying to life his briefcase from his
car trunk. The injury didn’t cause him to miss work of golf. A
judge awarded him $95.000.
“Sleep around all you want but don’t get married.”
- Milwaukee attorney Debra Koenig
She was advising 36 seventh-grade girls to establish careers before
they got married. Koenig made the remark during a talk at a
private school on Take Our Daughters to Work Day.
“I’m not an ambulance chaser. I’m usually there before the
- Melvin Belli
Four plaintiffs in a suit against USAir said the lawyers who filed
it never talked to them. The suit was over a flight during which
passengers were told to get ready for a crash landing. The plane
landed safely and several passengers even congratulated the crew on
their handling of the situation.
“Lawyers, I suppose, were children once.”
- Charles Lamb (1775-1834)
Two lawyers traded insults in complaints with the California bar
over representation of Rodney King. King’s old lawyer called his
new lawyer a “shyster that ripped off this case.”
“Folklore cannot be censored. That’s one of the beauties of oral
- Alan Dundee, professor of anthropology at UC Berkeley
Harvey I. Saferstein, president of the California State Bar, dubs
lawyer-bashing “hate speech that is an heinous as all other forms
of bigotry.” Saferstein calls for a “cease-fire” on lawyer jokes,
saying they contribute to violence against attorneys.
The California State Bar is also against sex between lawyers and
their clients. They don’t want the clients to be billed twice for
the same service.
“No one stands closer to the criminal in mentality than the
- Adolf Hitler
In a period of three weeks, the following headlines appeared in a
Lawyer accused of attempting to cheat kids
He claimed the “misunderstanding was just his secretary’s mistake.
Lawyer charged with selling drugs to inmates
This guy had been indicted twice before on theft and drug charges.
Both times the charges were dropped.
Lawyer charged in contract killing of wife.
The murder was arranged to protect a vast criminal enterprise that
included drug trafficking, money laundering and counterfeiting.
“Whatever their other contributions to our society, lawyers could
be an important source of protein.”
- Guindon cartoon caption
Lawyer Kim Pearman holds court each Wednesday evening at his Los
Angeles hotdog stand called Law Dogs. Amid steaming buns and bar
association plaques, Pearman gives five minutes of free legal
advice to his customers. He usually charges $250 a hour.
With your bankruptcy or divorce advice, you can have a tasty Judge
Dog (chili, mustard and onions), a Police Dog (mustard and
sauerkraut), a Jury Dog (mustard and onions) or the ever-popular
just plain Plaintiff Dog.
“Divorce is a game played by lawyers.”
- Cary Grant
An Ohio divorce lawyer, a father of three who also serves as a
traffic court judge, has been accused of dating his clients and a
woman who later appeared before him in court. In fact, a court
bailiff says the judge/lawyer told him he would check the divorce
files of other lawyers looking for prospective dates. While it’s
not illegal for lawyers to date clients, the Ohio Code of Ethics,
which governs lawyers in the state, considers it unethical.
“Go not in and out of court that they name may not stink.”
- The Wisdom of Anli (c, 900 B.C.)
The San Francisco Examiner reports that the breakup of a law firm
headed by Melvin Belli was, shall we say, somewhat less than civil.
Belli encourages his dogs to urinate and defecate outside the
personal offices of his ex-partners. Says Belli, “They get a bone
every time they do it.”
“That’s the worst thing about this breakup battle,” says one ex-
partner, “having to step over its every morning.”
“Lawyers are the only civil delinquents whose judges must of
necessity be chosen from themselves.”
- Charles C. Colton
The February issue of Redbook called Baltimore jurist Thomas
Bollinger one of “America’s Most Sexist Judges.” The 52-year-old
Bollinger made the list for sentencing o a 44-year-old man
convicted of raping an 18-year-old employee to only probation. The
employee was raped after she got drunk and passed out on his bed.
The victim’s attorney described the crime as the defendant’s “dream
come true” at the sentencing. Bollinger added that is was “the
dream of a lot of males, quite honestly.”
“It’s our fault. We should have given him better parts.”
- Jack Warner on hearing that Ronald Reagan has been elected
governor of California
A Georgia State University researcher measuring testosterone in
saliva discovered the highest levels in actors, trial lawyers and
“He could compress the most words into the smallest ideas of any
man I ever met.”
There you have it: my last lawyer column for CBG.
My apologies to Bob Ingersoll and the other upstanding legal
professionals among our readership. Please don’t sue me.
My thanks to the many readers who sent in their lawyer tales
whether I used them or not. Please don’t send any more.
My apologies to any who feel slighted because I have not yet
maligned your profession. Please be patient.
Finally, my thanks to my editors for indulging me this week. Next
time, I’ll write so much about comic-book stuff it will make your
When I look through my old columns from when Comics Buyer’s Guide
was a weekly newspaper, I am amazed how much freedom Don and Maggie
Thompson gave me to write about stuff that had nothing to do with
comics. I miss those days.
To the best of my knowledge, the gruesome lawyer - and, geez, the
horror stories I could tell you about him - mentioned at the start
of this column never regained his license to practice law. Which
is a good thing.
In all fairness, he’s never bother me since...though I suspect one
of his flunkies is among the anonymous cowards who attempt to post
their unsigned comments to my blog. Keep them coming, you gutless
punks. Your screeds amuse me and they amuse the friends and family
members with whom I share them.
I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.
© 2013 Tony Isabella