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 August 05, 2014
“How does an attorney sleep?” (lawyer joke)

Lawyers have a reputation for stretching the truth (lying). A popular lawyer joke is:

Q: How does an attorney sleep?
A: First he lies on one side, then he lies on the other.


The joke has been cited in print since at least 1864.

“What do lawyers do after they die?"/"They lie still” is sometimes added to the joke. “Lawyers ‘lie first on one side and then on the other,’ and in their graves ‘they lie still’” was printed in 1883.


Chronicling America
22 June 1864, Clearfield (PA) Republican, pg. 1, col. 5:
Why are lawyers uneasy sleepers? Because they lie on one side and then on the other side, and are wide awake all the time.

Google Books
December 1883, Gibson’s Law Notes, “Attorneys-at-Law” by a Law Book-Worm, pg. 365, col. 1:
We have it on the authority of a well-worn joke, that lawyers “lie first on one side and then on the other,” and in their graves “they lie still.”

29 March 1917, The Post (Cincinnati, OH), pg. 4, col. 2:
THAT fresh, yet not unclever office boy,is again at my elbow.

“Why are lawyers uneasy sleepers?” he asks.

“Why?” I inquire.

“Because they first LIE on one side and then on the other and when they die, they lie still,” he answers.

Well said, Tommy. He’s a nickel for a pack of cigarets.

Google Groups: alt.support.depression.manic.moderated
Humor: Lawyr Short Takes 7/11/01
LyndaNP
7/11/01
LAWYER SHORT TAKES
(...)
How does an attorney sleep?
First he lies on one side, then he lies on the other.

Google Grous: can.taxes
Wonder if CCRA Has Been Forced to Make Similar Disclosures?
John Galt
12/1/02
(...)
How does a lawyer sleep at night?
He lies on one side and then on the other.

Google Books
The World’s Funniest Lawyer Jokes:
A Caseload of Jurisprudential Jest

By Steven D. Price
New York, NY: Skyhorse Publishing
2011
Pg. ?:
Q: How does an attorney sleep?
A: First he lies on one side and then on the other.

Google Books
The Mammoth Book of One-Liners
By Geoff Tibballs
London: Constable & Robinson Ltd.
2012
Pg. ?:
How does a lawyer sleep?
First he lies on one side, then he lies on the other.

6 May 2012, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), “A Living Lawyer Joke” by Al Lewis, sec. 3, pg. 2, col. 5:
How does an attorney sleep? First he lies on one side. Then he lies on the other.

Twitter
PUNS
‏@omgthatspunny
How does an attorney sleep? First he lies on one side, then he lies on the other.  #punny
9:10 AM - 3 Jul 2012

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • Tuesday, August 05, 2014 • Permalink