Women Lawyer Jokes — or NOT
How many stereotypes can you count? Are any of these funny?
20 August 1872 — Wilmington Morning Star
“Mrs. Tator, the first woman lawyer on the Pacific coast, has been refused admission to the bar of Santa Cruz, California.
21 August 1872 — Indianapolis News
“Mrs. Tator, the first woman lawyer on the Pacific coast, has been refused admission to the bar of Santa Cruz, California. Is she the wife of Dick?”
2 January 1877 — Cincinnati Enquirer
“A Business-Like Woman
[From the Burlington Hawkeye.]”
“It is absurd to think that the adoption of professions usually regarded as masculine monopolies unsexes woman. It only makes them business-like. Here, out in Montgomery County, there is a lady lawyer. She is or was married. And the other day a client went to her office and found the door locked, with the following note pinned up on the outside: “Gone to my husband’s funeral; back in thirty minutes.”
17 May 1877 — Reading Times
“A woman lawyer speaks of divorce as ‘vacating an attachment.'”
8 April 1878 — Reading Times
“–Phoebe Cousins, the female lawyers, wants a foreign mission. She should first get a husband, but we presume such an encumbrance is foreign to her mission.”
10 June 1878 — Record of the Times
“Eve was the first female lawyer — she practiced in the appleate court. — Keokuk Constitution.”
18 February 1879 — Cincinnati Commercial Tribune
“One of the Judges of the Supreme Court of the United States said that the consultation-room would be turned into a nursery for the benefit of women lawyers blessed with babies. This would be very kind, but a perverse and stiff-necked public might suggest that the everlasting fitness of things would require the august Court to take charge of the nursery while the women occupied their places on the bench.”
4 April 1879 — New North-west
“Women may become lawyers, but women can not sit on juries. They could never agree.”
2 May 1879 — Ashtabula Weekly Telegraph
“In view of the increasing number of female lawyers it may be necessary to remind jurymen that women’s tears are very easily started and seldom mean anything. — Iowa State Register.”
8 August 1879 — Cincinnati Commercial Tribune
“It is complained of lady lawyers that they put too many postscripts to their pleadings.”
1 September 1882 — Times-Picayune
“San Francisco has three women lawyers, and an old man who was on a jury in a case in which one of them appeared got up as she was about to begin her argument and asked the Judge to chloroform him until she got through. He said a talking woman reminded him painfully of his dead wife.”
15 July 1886 — Freeborn County Standard
“Bar maids in England are not lady lawyers.”
9 December 1886 — News and Observer
“– The lady lawyers of this country will hold a convention at Anna Arbor, Mich. They propose a campaign to secure access to the bench, believing that if a woman can practice, she can sit in the seat of judgment. What next?”
14 July 1888 — Arizona Sentinel
“In leap year it is nothing strange to read of female lawyers going court-ing. Rochester Post-Express”
3 January 1889 — Alton Telegraph
“A female lawyer may be a spinster and have objections to marriage, but when she accepts a retaining fee she tacitly admits that she is engaged.”
18 August 1889 — Independence Daily Reporter
“Lady Lawyer — ‘I demand the discharge of my client, your honor.’
Counsel for plaintiff — ‘May I ask upon what grounds?’
Lady Lawyer — ‘Well – Because.’”
29 November 1889 — Brooklyn Daily Eagle
“A lady lawyer in Chicago telegraphed a patron: ‘Do you wish to retain me?’ He telegraphed back: ‘Your fees are too large.’ But the man who copied the message got it ‘feet’ instead of ‘fees’ and a libel suit is pending. St. Louis Globe-Democrat.”
16 March 1890 — Roanoke Times
“Lady lawyers are not to be trifled with. One of them threw a court house janitor across her knee the other day in Chicago and spanked him with her rubber shoe.”
7 September 1893 — Wilson Advance (Wilson, North Carolina)
“The idea of being questioned by a woman lawyer was a huge joke to the large burley Irishman, until she began to question him on personal matters, when assuming a suspicious air, he remarked, ‘I don’t know your intentions, mum, but I’m a married man.'”
6 December 1895 — Hutchinson News
“Woman lawyers are said to win a majority of their cases. What judge or jury could resist a handsome brunette or a dashing blonde when all she wanted was a little verdict?”
31 December 1895 — Oshkosh Daily Northwestern
“When the new woman lawyer is allowed to wear her hat in court it is going altogether too far. The jury has a right to know whether she is bald-headed.”
6 January 1896 — Chicago Daily Tribune
“Lady Lawyer — ‘What are those papers you wish me to examine.?’
New Woman — ‘They are the breach of promise cases I expect to have served on me in the coming leap year.’ — Washington Star.”
28 May 1896 — Osage City Free Press
“It will not surprise the newspaper readers to learn that the new lady lawyer in New York is ‘a rapid and easy talker.'”
3 December 1896 — Daily Democrat
“A Masculine Privilege
Mrs. Dinsmore — I see by the newspapers that New Jersey’s only woman lawyer is allowed to wear her hat in court.
Mr. Dinsmore — So? Is she allowed to talk through it? — Up-to-Date”
24 March 1897 — Harrisburg Daily Independent
“All tradition is shattered when it is found a woman lawyer files the shortest and most concise petitions in the Topeka courts. — Topeka Daily Capital.”
3 October 1897 — Omaha World-Herald
“Miss Candid: ‘I wonder why it is that women lawyers never get rich.’
Choate: ‘It is because they give their opinions away free.'”
6 November 1897 — Springfield Missouri Republican
“A woman lawyer in North Dakota has won a case before the supreme court. But that’s nothing. How could a court be so cruel as to turn a deaf ear to a woman’s pleadings.”
22 January 1898 — Weimar Mercury
“As a woman always has the last word, it is supposed that a woman lawyer would always close the case whether she represented the plaintiff or defendant.”
20 March 1898 — Daily Review
“Charge Against Him.
‘What is the charge?’ asked the justice.
‘Well, you honor,’ replied the new woman lawyer who was prosecuting an intoxicated individual for trying to put his arm around a girl he had never seen before. ‘I see it has been put down by some ignorant person as “disorderly conduct,” but I would like to have it changed to “embracery.”‘ — Chicago Post”
9 November 1898 — Manning Times
“What the woman lawyer needs to have is a winning way.”
15 February 1899 — Moberly Evening Democrat
“Macon county has the unique distinction of having a lady lawyer. The trouble with a lady lawyer is that they can’t sit around the court room with their heels on the table, chew tobacco and tell funny stories. Truly the female woman has much to contend with. — Lancaster Excelsior.”
24 February 1899 — Philipsburg Mail
“‘Why can not a woman become a successful lawyer, I should like to know?’ asked a lady of a cynical old judge. ‘Because, madam,’ he answered, ‘she’s too fond of giving her opinion without pay.'”
6 September 1899 — Adams County News
“There are but few female lawyers. A woman would rather lay down the law to one man than practice it in court.”
16 March 1900 — Boyden Reporter
“A Sioux City man proposed marriage to a woman lawyer who charged him $10 for an answer. — Ex.”
20 April 1900 — Virginia Enterprise
“A woman lawyer naturally courts attention.”
27 July 1901 — San Francisco Call
“A woman lawyer of Philadelphia insists that one of her sex should have a place on the bench. The lady probably feels that her destiny is to make miserable the life of man.”
28 August 1902 — Roanoke News
“Mrs. Crimsonbeak — They say that women, by getting into different occupations formerly monopolized by men, are reducing the scale of wages.
Mr. Crimsonbeak — Yes; that’s right; and I seen now we’ve got women lawyers. I’m glad of that.
Well, they’ll charge less and talk more.”
31 August 1902 — Plain Dealer
“The advantages of the modern Portia are counterbalanced by an equally large number of difficulties that confront the woman lawyer, says the New York Times. Mayor Low’s secretary, James B. Reynolds, is still telling his friends a little fling he had recently at Miss Rosalie Lowe, the attorney for the Legal Aid society. Miss Lowe was conducting a hearing before the mayor and called one morning to tell Mr. Reynolds she could not attend the afternoon session.
‘I’ve got to go over to Ludlow street and get a man out of jail,’ she said by way of explanation.
‘Oh,’ exclaimed Mr. Reynolds in grave surprise. ‘Are they really getting as scarce as that?’”
14 June 1903 — Arizona Republican
“The Last Word”
“Why is it so few women lawyers
In our courts are pleading heard?
That’s an easy one to answer —
There the judge has the last word.
New York Press.”
15 June 1904 — Indianapolis News
“A Short Story”
“John Henry — And then I told him what I thought.
The Lady Lawyer — Ah, that must have been a very brief statement.”
4 January 1905 — Wilmington Messenger
“The rich widower was paying assiduous court to the handsome young woman lawyer, says the Chicago Tribune.
‘I don’t know Mr. Welloph,’ she demurred. ‘There are — there are settlements to be considered, you know.’
‘If that’s all, Miss Maggie,’ he said, ‘we’ll have no trouble.’
Here he slipped a diamond ring on her finger.
‘How does that strike you?’ he asked.
‘H’m!,’ she rejoined, holding it up to the light and inspecting it critically. ‘I think it will do quite well — as a retainer.'”
8 February 1906 — Culver Citizen
“The last census shows that there are 1,000 lady lawyers in this country. The most of them, however, are practicing patience, instead of law.”
23 August 1907 — Ottawa Daily Republic
“No More Deadlocks
“Old Lawyer — Yes, sir, I’m in favor of woman jurors. If we had women to fix up the verdicts there would be no more disagreements or deadlocks.
Young Attorney — How do you figure that out?
Old Lawyer — All that would be necessary to get a quick verdict would be to send a newspaper to the jury room containing a bargain advertisement good for that day only.”
8 March 1909 — Daily News-Democrat
“Father — Why do you allow that fellow who’s calling here to remain so long?
Girl Law Student — Merely practicing for my court practice, father.
Father — How so?
Girl Law Student — Well, I was prepared to dismiss his suit, but, of course, I had to listen to his argument for a stay. — Baltimore American.
15 August 1911 — The Portsmouth Herald
‘What’s the trouble?’ inquired the judge?
‘This lady lawyer wants to make a motion,’ explained the clerk, ‘but her gown is too tight.’”
15 August 1911 — Washington Herald
“Not Quite So Frightened.”
“‘That bunch of ladies saw a snake.’
‘I suppose they all yelled murder?’
‘All except a lady lawyer in the group. She yelled manslaughter.'”
30 August 1912— Idaho Statesman
‘She insisted on having a woman lawyer secure her divorce.’
‘Why was she so particular?’
‘She did not want to go contrary to that portion of the marriage ceremony that reads, “Let no man put asunder.”‘”
5 September 1914 — Hopkinsville Kentuckian
“Briggs — Would you marry a woman lawyer?
Griggs — No, sir. Even the ordinary woman can cross-examine far too well.”
1 September 1915 — Daily Review
“A Spur to Litigation. Stray Stories:
Lady judge — I’m getting tired of these requests for postponement. What’s your latest excuse?
Lady lawyer — Why, your honor, we only ask you to give us another week. The fact is my client’s dressmaker is ill and can’t get her going-to-court gown finished until that date.
Lady judge: Granted. Next case.”
21 December 1916 — Pittsburgh Daily Post
“Just the Thing.”
“‘What is this Vanessa?’
‘My brief bag. I’m a lady lawyer now.’
‘And this is your brief bag, eh? How lovely! Just the thing in which to carry a mirror and a powder puff.'”
20 June 1918 — Cincinnati Enquirer
“If you think talk is too cheap, marry a lady lawyer.”
6 September 1919 — Twin-City Daily Sentinel
“‘Watched a lady lawyer in court the other day.’ ‘Did she know any law?’ ‘I dunno. But every motion she made was graceful.’ — Louisville Courier-Journal.”
24 June 1920 — Cheney Sentinel
“The Lady Lawyer.”
“‘We challenge that juror.’
‘On what grounds?’
‘She is a brunette. Our client is a blonde.'”
6 August 1920 — Coconino Sun
“At first glance, it seems strange why, in an equal suffrage state like Arizona, the laws do not permit women to serve on juries. But then, when one gets to thinking it over, perhaps it isn’t so strange after all, for we can imagine what would take place in the jury room while the fair arbiters were deciding the fate of, let us say, a fairly good-looking man being tried for murder:
First Lady Juror — There seems to be no doubt that the prisoner murdered his wife.
Second Lady Juror — Yes, isn’t he handsome?
Third Lady Juror — The poor fellow hasn’t had a single bouquet sent to him today.
Fourth Lady Juror — But, you know, the ladies weren’t sure he is guilty.
Fifth Lady Juror — Of course not; they didn’t hear half of the evidence.
Sixth Lady Juror — If we bring him in guilty what will they do?
Seventh Lady Juror — Hang him.
Eighth Lady Juror — Horrors!
Ninth Lady Juror — Or else they’d imprison the poor man for life.
Tenth Lady Juror — It won’t do to bring him guilty at all.
Eleventh Lady Juror — I’m afraid not.
Twelfth Lady Juror — If he is either locked up or hung, we can’t any of us marry him.”
3 February 1921 — Tribune
“Our idea of a simp is a man who marries a lady lawyer and then tries to make an alibi stick. — Dallas News.”
1 January 1923 — Decatur Herald
“‘I appointed a lady lawyer a receiver today.’
‘How did she take to it, judge?’
‘Asked me if she could invite some other ladies to help her receive.’ Louisville Courier-Journal.”
19 August 1924
“She Changed Her Mind
Among the jurors summoned was a woman who wished to be excused.
‘Well, madam, why don’t you want to serve on this jury?
‘I’m opposed to capital punishment.’
‘But this is merely a case in which a wife is suing her husband for an accounting. It seems she gave him a thousand dollars to pay down on a handsome fur coat and he is alleged to have lost the money at poker.’
The woman juror spoke up promptly. ‘I’ll serve. Maybe I’m wrong about capital punishment.’”
9 March 1925 — Bridgeport Telegram
“Lady Lawyer (cross-examining a witness) — ‘Where were you the night of February 13?’
Witness — ‘Say! Who do you think you are — my wife?’ — Lyle Heintz.”
30 May 1925 — El Paso Herald
“‘How are these lady lawyers getting along?’
‘Well, you know it is impossible to argue with a woman.’ — Athos.”
6 September 1925 — San Bernardino County Sun
“Illinois woman judge held court in her home. That’s where they usually lay down the law.”
12 April 1929 — Havre Daily News
“There are said to be 2,000 women lawyers practicing in the United States. Naturally, with so many of them laying down the law, a certain number could be expected to take it up. Arkansas Gazette.”
17 August 1929 — Kokomo Tribune
“Woman judge has revoked her husband’s license for speeding. There’s one back-seat driver who made her dreams come true.”
19 December 1929 — Lime Springs Herald
“A Lady Lawyer”
“The judge was taking her mildly to task.
‘Why did you not file this report sooner?’
‘Your honor said I was allowed two clear days.’
‘Yesterday was cloudy.'”