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 April 26, 2019
“Clients go to jail and lawyers go to lunch”

"Clients go to jail and lawyers go to lunch” is an old saying of unknown origin. This was printed in the Chicago (IL) Tribune on November 19, 1991:

“An old joke about the judiciary system goes like this: A defendant, after being handed a stiff sentence in court, asks his lawyer, ‘What do we do now?’ ‘I am going to lunch,’ replies the lawyer, with cool unconcern, ‘and you are going to jail.’”

“Lawyers go to lunch, clients go to jail” was posted on Twitter by Nichole Alabi on January 15, 2015.


Chicago (IL) Tribune
19 November 1991, Chicago (IL) Tribune, “‘Murmuring Judges’ latest Hare shirt for Britain’s institutions” by Richard Christiansen, sec. 1, pg. 20, col. 2:
An old joke about the judiciary system goes like this:

A defendant, after being handed a stiff sentence in court, asks his lawyer, “What do we do now?”

“I am going to lunch,” replies the lawyer, with cool unconcern, “and you are going to jail.”

Google Books
The Abuse of Innocence:
The McMartin Preschool Trial

By Paul Eberle and Shirley Eberle
New York, NY: Prometheus Books
1993
Pg. 105:
“The law is just for the little people. When we break the rules we go to jail. When they break the rules they go to lunch. And maybe get a promotion if they do it right.”

25 October 2002, Coventry (UK) Evening Telegraph, “GO! CINEMA: Crime doesn’t pay for Ashley” by Paul Allen, pg. 32:
It all reminded me of the old story about the man who has just been handed a jail sentence after taking the advice of his lawyer to plead guilty and hope for a fine.

“What happens now?” the horrified client asks.

“Well, you go to jail - and I go to lunch,” comes the reply.

Twitter
Bayz
@albelly
RT @imancinderamata: client goes to jail, lawyer goes to lunch ‘peter dumanaw’ LOL..
11:17 PM - 14 Dec 2009

Twitter
David Manning
@GSDavidManning
A lawyer lost a robbery trial. His client asks “Where do we go from here?”
The lawyer replies, “You’re going to jail, I’m going to lunch!”
7:15 PM - 9 Dec 2012

Google Books
Sidebar:
A Sideways Look At the Lawyer’s Life

By M.C. Bruce
Lulu Press (Lulu.com)
2014
Pg. ?:
I envied other lawyers who took it with equanimity, who subscribed to the old expression: They go to jail, you go to lunch.

Twitter
ALL HAIL
@chyomarr
End of a lost court case, lawyer goes for lunch. Client goes to jail. Loool life
4:16 PM - 17 Feb 2014

AOA
The Case of the Walking Tenants – by Zachary Lawrence, JD
Posted on 01. Jun, 2014 by AOA of California, INC. in all
(...)
At the end of your litigation day, you may win or lose, but the lawyers always win. I overheard one lawyer say “Clients go to jail, lawyers go to lunch”.

Twitter
Nichole Alabi
@NicholeAlabi
“lawyers go to lunch, clients go to jail”
6:44 PM - 15 Jan 2015

Twitter
Ruth Burns
@Ruth8884
“lawyers go to lunch, clients go to jail”
6:54 PM - 15 Jan 2015

Twitter
Maff
@Maff_C_
my Professional Responsibility professor just ended class on this story:
his dad’s a lawyer. criminal defense. jury comes back w/ guilty verdict. client turns to him, asks: “What do we do now?”
Prof.’s dad says: “You’re going to jail & I’m going to lunch.”
3:11 PM - 9 Nov 2017

CityWatch
Moral Hazard: Where Do the Democrats Go from the Mueller report?
MICHAEL GREINER 25 APRIL 2019
(...)
There is an old joke that lawyers tell in relation to this problem. Lawyers, of course, are the ultimate agents. We act on behalf of our clients and have a fiduciary duty to them. In other words, we must put their interests ahead of our own. Ultimately, however, although we work hard for our clients, as the joke goes, “clients go to jail and lawyers go to lunch.” That is the essence of moral hazard. 

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • Friday, April 26, 2019 • Permalink