Legal Humour Blog


August 2013

Send out the Clown (and the Dentist)

Aug 18, 2013 6:45 PM
Marcel Strigberger

     A clown at the Missouri State Fair rodeo has been banned for life for appearing at a rodeo  wearing an Obama mask. The clown whipped the crowd into a frenzy by encouraging a bull to run him over.  The Missouri State Fair Commission however thought the clown's actions were insulting to the President.

    That's funny. Hardly a night goes by without some comedian lampooning the President. I have yet to see Conan or David Letterman being banned for life. But my question is, why do we still have rodeos altogether?  Isn't the real insult here the abuse of helpless animals? What fun is there in watching yahoo cowboys ride wild horses, rope and cuff calves and taunt bulls?  Has anyone asked for the bull's opinion about this incident? I doubt if asked, the bull would say, "Never mind me.  That clown insulted the President. Shame shame.".

    This brings me to dentists. The B.C. College of Dental Surgeons has laid charges against a Tung Sheng Wu, who supposedly has been practicing dentistry for 10 years without being qualified.

    I have trouble visualizing this crime.  How could someone fake being a dentist?  Dentistry is a calling that actually requires knowledge and skill. Just imagine you or I approaching a terrified patient shaking like leaf in the dental chair. I would probably get as far as, "Open wide please."  Then I would be lost.

    Maybe I could extend the act to, "Rinse please"."   The patient might think this advice at the beginning of the treatment as being premature. If he does, I could say, "New protocol from the New England Journal of Dentistry. Rinse early." But that is as far as I could get.

    Tung Shen Wu actually must have successfully filled cavities, treated gum infections and installed crowns.  Non dentists just cannot fake it. I can think of only two occupations where imposters can easily fool the public.

    The first is psychiatry.  Psychiatrists generally do nothing during a 45 minutes interview except go, "Uh huh; please continue."  At 44 minutes and 50 seconds, they'll say, "That's all for today. See you next week."  Anyone of us can impersonate a shrink.

    The other one is, you guessed it, the clown.  Just put on the make up, the floppy pants and the big red nose and you are a clown. You can take a tumble, crash a Volks Beetle, or spray the audience with seltzer.  The audience reaction will be, "Hey, what a funny clown."  You'll never hear someone saying, "Hey, that's only a  man dressed like a clown."  Nothing is out of character.

    For centuries, court jesters have been making fun of the kings and queens with impunity.  

    In fact while at law school,  I was a clown one week at Eaton's (remember it?) in Montreal, during the pre Christmas period, earning some cash by carrying a sign saying, "Open til 9:00 tonight".  For fun I would ride the elevators operated by elevator ladies (remember them?) dressed in smart uniforms, and I would giggle and pull off their blue berets.  I don't think I could have gotten away with these actions wearing a lawyer’s robe.  

    I guess this universal and eternal license for clowns does not extend into the Missouri State Fair.  I say ban rodeos for life.       


I practice family law and personal injury and insurance law. Please visit my website,  www.striglaw.com . And yes, I have actually represented  both clowns and dentists.


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His Case Lies with the Fishes

Aug 12, 2013 9:17 PM
Marcel Strigberger

A Mr Tony Magi was driving his car in Montreal a couple of years ago when some of his underworld colleagues sprayed his vehicle with bullets causing him to crash.  The Quebec  auto accident compensation tribunal (the Régie)  ruled that his car had nothing to do with the injuries and his claim was denied.  Interestingly the claims of other victims in similar circumstances have been allowed, the only difference there being was that those shooting victims did not have Mafia connections and were totally "innocent".

    My question is how does the tribunal find out about your notorious connections? I looked into this matter and came up with the following interesting information.

    It seems when you buy or rent a car in Quebec, you have to complete a questionnaire for the Régie . The questions read something like:

    1.  Which  of these names do you fancy?
        a) Melvin;  b) Pierre; or  c) Bugsy.

    2.   Which of these items do you find the most useful?
        a) a corkscrew; b) a flashlight or c) a silencer.

    3. Which expression of the following do you use most often?

        a) do unto others what you want done to yourself; b) love thy neighbour, or c) I'll make him an offer he can't refuse.

    If you picked "c" for anyone of these questions, do not bother having a car accident in Quebec.


Please visit www.striglaw.com .  My family law and personal injury clients are always beying reproach. (Always generally)




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In Lawyers We Trust

Aug 7, 2013 10:00 PM
Marcel Strigberger

The Ontario Bar Association has started a public campaign to reverse the image of sever distrust lawyers are facing. A poll found that only 44% of the public trusted lawyers.  We lawyers scored less trust than plumbers. And we just beat out auto mechanics and taxi drivers.

I get the feeling it would not be a great idea for a lawyer's website to read, " See us about your divorce. While you wait, let us do your oil change.  We also give you the best deals to the airport.”  

It is all about image and optics. Abraham Lincoln once said, “When I prepare a speech, I spend one third of the time planning to say what I want to say and two thirds planning to address what people wish to hear.”

For example the public does not like it when we represent notorious criminals.   A most common comment I get is, "How can you represent someone just know is guilty?"

Bearing this in mind, to improve our image,the criminal lawyer should respond, " You have a point madam  I am going to the jail this afternoon and I shall advise my client to plead guilty."

The lawyer should be carefull not to add, " Now how about that oil change?"

There are also major concerns the public has about legal fees.  Image again is crucial.  If it would help I would rebrand immediately and call my firm," Mother Teresa- Barristers and solicitors."

We already do some pro bono or free work here and there, more than most professional athletes who get paid much more than most lawyers even when they lose.

The Toronto Maple Leafs players earn many times over per player than the average lawyer. They have not won a Stanley cup in almost half a century and have made the playoffs only once in the last 9 years or so.

Do we ever hear a survey that concludes that the public does not trust hockey players? How many people do you know who would rather watch plumbers at work?

Why are lawyers more mistrusted?  Maybe it is the way we communicate. Unlike hockey players, we have our own language, legalese. Perhaps this annoys the lay people.  We use terms like examination for discovery , pleadings and those dreaded Latin words and phrases like , Factum, res ipse loquitor and habeus corpus. The public probably believes we charge more for using theses words .  Maybe they have a point. After all I have never heardthe Great one, Wayne Gretsky interviewed and he talked about taking a swing with his stickum and slapping the puckum into the netta.  And when he got a hat trick, I never heard him say he scored 3 goali.

Perhaps lawyers can learn something from the athletes.  Win or lose, keep it simple. Don't try to show off.

The OBA  survey certainly is a wake up call to the legal profession.  I suggest we do our best to improve our  collective image.  We should watch our billing practices, communicate better, and perhaps keep a modest profile about our notorious clients.  I am not sure what it will take but in the meantime  it seems we can move up to the next tier of trust by offering to unclog someone' sink.

 I practice civil lititgation, emphasis on personal injury, and family law and divorce.  My clients have been trusting me for 39 years.  Please visit www.striglaw.com , a trusted site.






















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July 2013

Loonies for Loonies

Jul 29, 2013 10:02 PM
Marcel Strigberger

The late Robert McCorkill of St. John New Brunswick died, leaving an estate worth over $250,000 to some violent neo-Nazi group in West Virginia. These guys in fact inspired the 1995 Oklahoma bombing.

This did not sit well with the deceased’s sister who obtained an injunction pending a decision on the validity of the will, as her lawyer says the bequest offends public policy.

What kind of man was this McCorkill?  I guess if Adolph Hitler were around, McCorkill might very well have mentioned the Fuhrer in his will.  What would that look like?  Would the lawyer summon all beneficiaries  to hear the will read?


“Ladies and gentlemen. Please listen to my reading of the Will. And you sir, with the little moustache. I ask that you put down your right hand. If you must go to the washroom, you need not raise your hand. It’s the second door town the hall to your right.  And stop shouting.
I shall now read the Will...

...And finally,  to my hero, Adolph Hitler, I leave one half of the residue of my estate together with Larry, my daschund.  Any questions?”


“What? Only one half? No way Heinrich. I only want a piece of the estate as long as it is a 100% piece. If I do not get it, I shall invade New Brunswick tonight and dangle the mayor of St. John upside down and naked over the Reversing Falls. We shall demagnetize Magnetic Hill.  And I shall appoint Larry as ruler of Moncton. Nein!”

I am sure with this injunction ruling and the resistance the proof of the Will is getting, the late Mr McCorkill would not be too happy. Well, to him I say, wherever you are, keep rolling in it.

      I enjoy practising civil litigation and family law. Though my practice is never dull, it does not get this exciting.  Please visit www.striglaw.com .



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The Druid Temple v. Jock the Mover

Jul 22, 2013 9:45 PM
Marcel Strigberger

For centuries people have wondered about the mystery of how the stones at Stonehenge England arrived there. There are several dozen huge stones arranged in a circular pattern with some rocks resting horizontally high atop the other rocks, each piece weighing several tons. Experts claim that the stones originate from Wales. I recently visited Stonehenge. I was no further enlightened.

It seems however that some light may now be shed on the mystery as construction workers digging near the courthouse in nearby Salisbury have come across some court records which reveal a legal action that took place centuries ago. The story will show that times have not changed.

The following narrative is taken from the judgment of the trial judge:

Flintsone J.: The plaintiff, the Druid Orthodox Temple, brings this action against the defendant Jock the Mover. It seems that the plaintiff hired the mover to move its temple from Wales a couple of hundred miles south to a site near Salisbury. The plaintiff claims that many of the rocks were not delivered, some were returned damaged and the temple was not properly set up.

A month or so before the move a sales representative of the mover, one Ehrlick, visited the Druids to price the move. He dealt with one Bork, the Temple's ritual slaughterer and accountant.

The two struck a deal to move the entire temple rock by rock and reset it up at Stonehenge.

The move was to start the following week and take three days. Ehrlick's testimony however was that he specifically advised Bork that the mover was also moving a second nearby temple shortly and that it would move the two simultaneously "as there's no sense travelling all that distance for just one temple".

Unfortunately the move was plagued by misfortune from the word go.

On November 26 the Druids waited patiently for Jock's team of movers to arrive. To their chagrin what came were three drunken men in a broken flatbed wagon. They circled the temple once and left, indicating they would be back after lunch. The move was not started completed until the following July.

While the movers were unloading an altercation erupted. The man in charge, one Leon, requested payment before completion of the set up, indicating that terms of payment were C.O.D. Bork refused to pay at that point and the movers left, retaining with them a number of rocks as security, pursuant to the Moving and Warehousing of Places of Worship Act.

The Druids claim that many rocks are still missing or damaged and they sue for 100,000 Crowns.

The mover argues that it is not at fault, saying that on route its vehicles were ambushed by a bunch of outlaws while passing through Sherwood Forest. The bandits made off with the driver's purse, his wagon and about twenty-five eight-ton rocks. They also snatched his pet beagle Pokey.

The Sheriff of Nottingham eventually recovered a couple of the rocks from the homes of the poor. The Sheriff charged them with possession of stolen property. The accused apparently alleged that they picked the rocks up at a local flea market.

The Druids also claim that the temple is now ruined. Bork points to a sketch of rocks arranged in a circle and says, "Where is the roof?"

The structure indeed appears roofless. Ehrlick denies that the temple ever had a roof. He points to the bill of lading which lists what was being moved and he says that there is no mention of a roof.

Bork on the other hand insists that there was a cover, "as you can hardly light up a sacrifice when it rains if there is no roof."

The mover says that if there was a roof, then maybe the outlaws pocketed it. His lawyer points to a clause in the contract that absolves the mover from "unlawful acts of the King's enemies."

I did not spot this clause initially but I now see it with the aid of my magnifying glass. Bork denies ever seeing the clause at all. Furthermore he claims he doesn't read Latin. I don't accept the mover's argument that Latin is similar to Druidese. I can't believe that for any Druid "Latin is a piece of cake".

There will be judgement for the plaintiff.

I trust this helps explain the mystery of Stonehenge. But nobody knows what ever became of Pokey.

When I am not busy watching temples being moved, I practice family personal injury and insurance law. Please visit www.striglaw.com.  I am bilingual (English and French, not Druidese.)



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The Midwest Book Review has referred to Marcel Strigberger as "an irrepressible humorist with a story teller’s flair for spinning a yarn with true (and hysterically funny) insights into the basics of human nature".

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