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With all due respect?

Every Issue

Cite as: September 2013 87 (9) LIJ, p.86

But seriously . . .

For a profession known for taking itself rather seriously, lawyers are also exceptionally good at seeing the funny side of the practice of law.

There are few better at the art of skewering the pretensions and idiosyncrasies of legal practice than Queensland lawyer Paul Brennan, author of the Law & Disorder website which, for years, has been dispensing useful legal advice heavily disguised as comedy. As well as tips on topics such as “The 10 greatest legal mistakes in business . . . and how to avoid them”, the site is host to caustic and comic legal cartoons, an ezine and more.

Those readers familiar with the comic Queenslander’s books, including The Law is an Ass . . . Make Sure It Doesn’t Bite Yours, can now add to their collection with the latest Brennan book 101 Reasons to Kill all the Lawyers.

The book grew out of Paul’s blog of the same name. He said he decided on 101 reasons as he didn’t want to depress the entire legal profession by having 1001.

But there’s nothing depressing about 101 Reasons, with its advice about the things lawyers should know about but might not, such as the secret of enjoying committee meetings, how to field complaints, career planning and dealing successfully with their own legal problems. It is also about things Paul says lawyers are not expected to know about but probably should such as change, innovation, emotions, relationships and sex.

Another publication a bit closer to home which offers both excellent legal opinion and humour is the Victorian Bar’s quarterly Victorian Bar News.

The News went into hiatus during part of 2011-12 but then returned, having undergone a redesign. Thankfully, the editors decided to retain the section of the News to which WADR always turns first – “Verbatim” – which faithfully records entertaining exchanges between the bench and parties to the proceeding.

This exchange between Supreme Court Justice Vickery and the parties as part of 500 Burwood Highway Pty Ltd v Australian Unity Ltd & Ors reported in the most recent News (Winter 2013) caught WADR’s eye. We are not sure how long the case took to be heard, but it appears it felt like an eternity to all involved.

Stewart Anderson SC (opposed to Delany SC and cross-examining a quantity surveyor): And what type of project, in general terms, was that?

Witness: It was a – a retirement living facility . . . except it didn’t have the aged – it was more of an over 55s retirement village.

Anderson SC: Yes, Mr Delany would be interested in that, I’m sure.

His Honour: I think by the time this case finishes, we’ll all be interested in retirement villages.

Anderson SC: I think that’s right, your Honour. I think that’s . . .

His Honour: From different perspectives.

Anderson SC: Yes, we’ll be able to afford it by then, your Honour



Enjoy laughing at the failings, foibles and faux pas of others?

Of course you do. Then why not contribute to WADR? By email to wadr@liv.asn.au, by fax on 9607 9451 or by mail C/- LIJ, 470 Bourke Street, Melbourne 3000.

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