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The New Yorker Book of Lawyer Cartoons Hardcover – November 30, 1993

3.8 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

85 Cartoons

About the Author

Although its reviews and events listings often focus on cultural life within New York City, "The New Yorker" boasts an international audience and is well-known for its commentaries on popular culture and eccentric Americana; its attention to modern fiction and poetry by the inclusion of short stories, literary reviews, and original poems; its rigorous fact-checking and copyediting; its journalistic regard for world politics and social issues; and its famous single-panel cartoons sprinkled throughout each edition.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 86 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; 1 edition (November 30, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679430687
  • ISBN-13: 978-6794306870
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 0.6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #81,537 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on January 21, 1998
Format: Paperback
No one can resist picking up this very funny book of cartoons. Short enough to read in one sitting, the New Yorker Book of Lawyer Cartoons also looks great in the home or office. The humor is urbane, the art work fresh and eye-catching. Every lawyer should have this book.
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Format: Hardcover
I first discovered The New Yorker when I was a teenager. When I saw how many people subscribed to the magazine, I started asking people why they did. Inevitably, the answer was, "For the cartoons." Since then, I have come to realize that The New Yorker is like the hall of fame for cartoonists.
I recently read The New Yorker Book of Money Cartoons, which encouraged me to read this book. Unfortunately, that book made this one seem a bit inadquate (hence the four star rating). First, there is no witty essay in this one to introduce the subject, unlike Christopher Buckley's outstanding one in the money book. Second, the lawyer humor seems a bit forced to me, compared to the money humor in that book.
While I think this book will appeal to many lawyers and their families, I think that few defendants and plaintiffs will be amused because the humor is often about how lawyers prosper at the client's expense.
It's hard to convey a sense of these cartoons without showing one. Unlike the money cartoons that usually work as quips, these cartoons almost always need visuals to work. Many of them involve lawyers circling like sharks surrounding a potential client, or invoke other old chestnuts of lawyer humor.
The privileged position of the lawyer compared to the client comes through clearly. "I've just about resigned myself to your getting twenty years."
Lawyers are expensive, as is the legal system. "You have a pretty good case Mr. Pitkin. How much justice can you afford?"
The humor works best when it is fresh. My favorite was "May I ask you, Miss Howre, what made you select a homeopathic attorney?
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm surprised at how small this collection is. Attorneys are such an inviting target for comedic attacks that it amazes me that as long as the New Yorker has been around, it only found about 85 attorney cartoons worthy of collection into this 1993 edition and that it hasn't found enough worthy cartoons since then to fill out a second edition.

Originality isn't a feature point of this New Yorker collection of cartoons, but talent is.

The 85 attorney cartoons largely revolve around two themes. One is surrealistic art which makes attorneys look as uncharacteristically undignified as possible (many of which are variations on the old "shark" joke that shows attorneys in the open water with fins and teeth).

The other is animated commentary on the ubiquitousness of attorneys in everyday life, a ubiquitousness that deprives each attorney of his individuality ("Would everyone check to see if they have an attorney?" asks a meeting-organizer. "I seem to have ended up with two.")

As I say though, the talent of the cartoonists is great enough that the same joke can be replayed several times and still retain a certain amount of freshness each time.

Still, the funniest cartoons are those which break the mold and display some actual knowledge about the profession such as the courtroom setting on the moon, in which judge, jury, and counsel are dutifully wearing spacesuits. The spaceships that transported them there are displayed in the background. "Not ANOTHER change of venue, counselor," the judge protests to one forceful advocate.

But as for the garden-variety attorney jokes, to my mind as a member of the bar myself, the joke is always on the jokester.
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Format: Hardcover
My father had a giant book of cartoons from "The New Yorker" that I never got tired of reading as a kid. Some of the cartoonists that I learned to love way back when, such as Chas. Addams, Sidney Hoff, and Wm. Steig, are present and accounted for in this 1994 collection of cartoons devoted to the practice of the law (by those who have yet to get it right). However, most of these 85 cartoons are by some of the newer kids on the block, such as Michael Maslin and Danny Shanahan, who just do strike my funny bone with as much regularity as the old masters. The looks on the faces of the lawyer and his two clients in the Steig cartoon is not equaled throughout this book and their is not a better caption than Chon Day's lawyer sadly informing his client, "I've just about resigned myself to your getting twenty years." These are amusing enough, but really not up to the quality I expect from "The New Yorker." On the other hand, if you were to give this book as a present to a lawyer acquaintance, they are not going to be terribly offended (which may well be the problem in a nutshell). Still, "The New York Book of Lawyer Cartoons" is worth a look through, just like an issue of the magazine. I always read all the cartoons whenever I see a copy lying around. Oh, and the listing of what movies are playing in the revival houses. The thought of going to a theater to see a Chaplin, Bogart or Hepburn movie still sounds like high culture to me.
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