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 July 13, 2015
“Is there a criminal lawyer in this town?” (lawyer joke)

One of the oldest of lawyer jokes is about the criminal lawyer. A stranger comes into a place and asks, “Is there a criminal lawyer in this town?” One citizen replies, “Yes, but we’ve never been able to prove it.”

The joke was cited in the Cleveland (OH) Plain Dealer in 1911 and was reprinted in many newspapers.


17 October 1911, Daily People (New York, NY), “Sparklets,” pg. 2, col. 7:
The Breed, Everywhere.—The Stranger.—Is there a good criminal lawyer in your town? The Native.—Wall, everybody thinks we’ve got one, but they ain’t been able to prove it on him.—Cleveland Plain Dealer.

27 August 1922, Trenton (NJ) Sunday Times-Advertiser, “‘Doc’ Told Him Where to Find Criminal Lawyers,” pg. 10, col. 4:
“Do you know a good criminal lawyer in this town?”

“Gods, man, they’re all criminals!” exclaimed “Doc,” as he picked up his check from the table and walked over to the cashier.

23 August 1923, Charleston (SC) Evening Post, pg. 3, col. 3:
Criminal Lawyer
“Is there a criminal lawyer in this town?” asked the stranger.
“Yes, answered the cop, “but we’ve never been able to prove it.”—Answers, London.

Google Books
The Georgia Lawyer
Volumes 1-2
1930
Pg. ?:
This attitude of suspicion of the lawyer on the part of the public is well illustrated by the story of the man who, on going as a stranger into a town in quest of legal counsel, on meeting the first citizen asked: “Is there a criminal lawyer in this town? To which the denizen replied in a low voice: “Yes, I think there is but we ain’t quite got the proof on him yet.”

Google Books
The Joke’s On… Lawyers
By Stan D. Ross
Sydney: The Federation Press
1996
Pg. 46:
A man went into the police station of a small town to see his son, who had been charged with car theft. After talking with his son he became very agitated to learn that his son did not have a lawyer.

He then asked the officer at the front counter, “Is there a criminal lawyer in this town?”

The officer replied, “Yes, but we can’t prove it yet”

Twitter
Paul’s Jokes
‏@MoreTwitty
Old #Joke (OJ):
“Do you have a criminal lawyer in this town?”
“We think so, but we can’t prove it.”
#cleanjoke
7:00 AM - 8 Jul 2015

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • Monday, July 13, 2015 • Permalink