lawyer

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a man who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client

A man who tries to defend himself, rather than hiring a trained lawyer, is a fool. A: "What do you mean, a lawyer? I'm going to represent myself!" B: "Well, just keep in mind that a man who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client."
See also: fool, lawyer, man, own, who

guardhouse lawyer

One who acts knowledgeable about something one actually knows little about. Stop being a guardhouse lawyer and giving me advice on how to get a job when you've been unemployed for months too!
See also: lawyer

wear (one's particular profession's) hat

To act as one would in one's particular profession while in a different setting. Bobby, I know you're off duty, but can you please wear your doctor's hat for five minutes and tell me what's wrong with my arm? I don't want to have to go to the hospital. My wife was still wearing her judge's hat when she tried to intervene with our neighbor's arguing kids.
See also: hat, particular, wear

Philadelphia lawyer

A shrewd attorney, adept at dealing with legal technicalities, as in It would take a Philadelphia lawyer to get him off. This expression dates from the late 1700s and, as lexicographer Richard H. Thornton observed: "Why members of the Philadelphia bar should be credited with superhuman sagacity has never been satisfactorily explained."
See also: lawyer

jailhouse lawyer

A non-attorney who dispenses legal advice. Properly speaking, a jailhouse lawyer is a prison inmate who, although not a law school graduate (much less a member of the bar), has the requisite skill to assist other prisoners with such legal matters as preparing and filing appeals, writs, and pardon requests. Much of such knowledge came from personal experience. The phrase also applies to any layman, behind bars or not, who offers legal advice, solicited or not.
See also: lawyer

Philadelphia lawyer

An adept attorney. The most probable reason why the City of Brotherly Love became an adjective for astute and skillful lawyers was Andrew Hamilton, whose 1735 defense of printer John Peter Zenger was a milestone of freedom of the press in America. (Lawyer Andrew should not be confused with Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton.) Although the Zenger trial was held in New York City, Hamilton was from Philadelphia. Curiously, it took some fifty years for the phrase to appear in print.
See also: lawyer
References in classic literature ?
Pray walk in," said the lawyer, addressing Alexey Alexandrovitch; and, gloomily ushering Karenin in before him, he closed the door.
The lawyer, with a swiftness that could never have been expected of him, opened his hands, caught the moth, and resumed his former attitude.
The figure in these two phases haunted the lawyer all night; and if at any time he dozed over, it was but to see it glide more stealthily through sleeping houses, or move the more swiftly and still the more swiftly, even to dizziness, through wider labyrinths of lamplighted city, and at every street corner crush a child and leave her screaming.
In the morning before office hours, at noon when business was plenty, and time scarce, at night under the face of the fogged city moon, by all lights and at all hours of solitude or concourse, the lawyer was to be found on his chosen post.
Wires were strung; stock was sold; and the enterprise looked for a time so genuine that when the Bell lawyers asked for an injunction against it, they were refused.
He was attacking the credibility of a witness whom he had put on the stand, but who had been tampered with by the opposition lawyers.
Not quite so bad as that, I trust, Sir Wingrave," the lawyer protested.
For seven years past," he continued, turning to the lawyer, "I have been accustomed to place the most unlimited trust in Richard Turlington.
The lawyer said never a word, but his face was as sharp as a pen and as white as the dead man's; the servant broke out into a great noise of crying and weeping, like a child; and I, on my side, stood staring at them in a kind of horror.
Which affect the dead and the living both," answered the lawyer.
I should wish, Lawyer Lightwood,' he stipulated, 'to have that T'other Governor as my witness that what I said I said.
The lawyer explained that the rental was a form--the property was said to be merely rented until the last payment had been made, the purpose being to make it easier to turn the party out if he did not make the payments.
Troy set the example of rising to go, he still kept his seat, and looked at the lawyer as if he regretted leaving the atmosphere of tobacco smoke reeking in the dirty room.
Indeed, sir," said Nightingale, "I did see that very lawyer who went from you when I came into the room, at an alehouse in Aldersgate, in company with two of the fellows who were employed by Lord Fellamar to press Mr Jones, and who were by that means present at the unhappy rencounter between him and Mr Fitzpatrick.
Vanborough--passing close behind him and whispering as he passed--stopped the lawyer before he could say a word more.