A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from May 07, 2012
“Professional courtesy” (lawyer joke)

"Professional courtesy” in the punchline to one of the most famous of lawyer jokes. A lawyer fell into shark-infested waters, but wasn’t harmed because of “professional courtesy” (that is, one shark recognized another “shark").

An early form of the joke was told in 1873, when wolves that chased a couple of lawyers displayed “a total lack of professional courtesy.” In 1878, a shark that chased two lawyers out of the water had committed “the most flagrant case of want of professional courtesy on record.” A longer form of the joke made The Reader’s Digest in 1944.

The popular “professional courtesy” joke has also been told about other fields, such as politics.


Canonical List of Lawyer Jokes
4. 
Q: Why won’t sharks attack lawyers?
A: Professional courtesy.

29 October 1873, New York (NY) Commercial Advertiser, “Gossip of the Day,” pg. 1, col. 4:
With a total lack of professional courtesy, some Sherburne County, Minnesota, wolves chased a couple of lawyers five miles.

9 August 1878, The Plain Dealer (Cleveland, OH), “Tea-Table Chit-Chat,” pg. 2, col. 2:
Two lawyers, while bathing at Santa Cruz the other day, were chased out of the water by a shark. This is the most flagrant case of want of professional courtesy on record.—San Francisco Post.

Google Books
January 1879, Frank Leslie’s Popular Monthly, pg. 127, col. 1:
TWO LAWYERS, bathing, being chased out of the water by a shark, one of them said to the other, “It strikes me that that was a flagrant want of professional courtesy?”

Google Books
American Wit and Humor;
A collection from various sources classified under appropriate subject-headings

Edited by David Kendall Simonds
Philadelphia, PA: G.W. Jacobs & Co.
1900
Pg. 147:
A pack of wolves in Sherboune Co., Minnesota, chased a couple of lawyers five miles, and the New Orleans Republican thinks it showed a lack of professional courtesy.
(...)
Two lawyers, while bathing at Santa Cruz the other day, were chased out of the water by a shark. This is the most flagrant case of want of professional courtesy on record.

Google Books
Sayings That Never Grow Old:
Wit and humour of well-known quotations

Edited by Marshall Brown
Boston, MA: Small, Maynard & Company
1918
Pg. 87:
WELL-KNOWN QUOTATIONS
Two lawyers, while bathing at Santa Cruz were chased out of the water by a shark. This is the most flagrant case of want of professional courtesy on record.

6 February 1944, Salt Lake Tribune (Salt Lake City, UT), pg. 16A, col. 7:
Prayer or Courtesy?
A minister, a scientist, and a lawyer were adrift on a life raft in the tropics. At last they sighted land. But the wind died down while they were still a short way off the beach. The lawyer, the only one who could swim, volunteered to go ashore with a line and pull the raft to land. The minister knelt and prayed for his safety.

Then the lawyer dived in. His companions saw the black fin of a shark making straight for him. The shark disappeared, then came up on the other side, having passed under the swimmer. Shortly they saw an ever bigger shark darting toward him, but this one also swerved just in time.

After the lawyer had reached shallow water, the minister said to the scientist, “There, you Doubting Thomas, there is proof of the power of prayer.”

“Power of prayer, hell!” retorted the scientist. “That was just professional courtesy.”

Google Books
The Reader’s Digest
Volumes 44-45
1944
Pg. 8:
A minister, a scientist, and a lawyer were adrift on a life raft in the tropics. At last they sighted land. But the wind died down while they were still a short way off the beach. The lawyer, the only one who could swim, volunteered to go ashore with a line and pull the raft to land. The minister knelt and prayed for his safety.

Then the lawyer dived in. His companions saw the black fin of a shark making straight for him. The shark disappeared, then came up on the other side, having passed under the swimmer. Shortly they saw an ever bigger shark darting toward him, but this one also swerved just in time.

After the lawyer had reached shallow water, the minister said to the scientist, “There, you Doubting Thomas, there is proof of the power of prayer.”

“Power of prayer, hell!” retorted the scientist. “That was just professional courtesy” — Contributed by Alex F. Otborn

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • (1) Comments • Monday, May 07, 2012 • Permalink


Funny jokes but lawyer is the one, people need whom at the time of accidents or injuries for getting their claim or compensation.Complexity of law rules are never easy for us.

Posted by personal injury attorney phoenix  on  05/08  at  12:54 AM

Its really funny joke, my dad is a lawyer and i am gonna share this joke with him for sure, and i will share this joke in my facebook also for sure.

Posted by Solicitors Manchester  on  07/23  at  04:10 PM

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