The Volokh Conspiracy

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A Lawyer Line I Heard Decades Ago

I wish I remembered the source.


It purports to be an actual incident in a British appellate court, many decades ago. The lawyer was arguing some point of law, on behalf of some poor tenant farmers who were suing someone on a tort theory, and one of the judges asked something on the order of,

Counsel, are your clients familiar with the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur?

Literally a deeply silly question, but not unconventional, given the weird way in which the lawyer and the client are treated together in litigation. The lawyer replied:

In the barren fields in which my clients toil, talk is of little else.

UPDATE: For a 1982 version of this, see here, though I found sources as early as the 1950s with different versions.