Review: How Many Clients Does it Take to Change a Light Bulb

How Many Clients Does It Take To Change a Lightbulb? A Lawyer Strikes BackHow How Many Clients Does It Take To Change a Lightbulb? A Lawyer Strikes Back (Paperback) by Giovanni Diviacchi (Author)
List Price: $9.00
# Paperback: 38 pages
# Publisher: Dorrance Publishing Co. Inc. (March 19, 2006)
# Language: English
# ISBN-10: 0805970398
# ISBN-13: 978-0805970395
# Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 4.6 x 0.3 inches

Thomas Wisdom’s Review

I was able to devote about fifteen minutes to the book but managed to get through the first half.

As a legal professional, I was unmoved. As a comedy enthusiast, I was appalled.

I was fortunate enough to have a professor for one of my courses who told a law-related joke at the beginning of every class. Sometimes the class burst out in hysterics, and others, there was so much silence that you could hear a cricket chirp despite the absense of crickets in the room.

This book reminded me of the latter occasions. Throughout the entire thing–or at least the half I could get through–I didn’t even crack a smile.

The subtitle of “A Lawyer Strikes Back” suggests that the book is intended to be a retort to all of those anti-lawyer jokes we’ve heard a thousand times. Its general aim is to take a jab at clients. And that it does.

Unfortunately much of the book simply recycles old lawyer jokes, supplanting the word “lawyer” with “client.” And the original jokes simply aren’t funny. A lawyer making fun of clients for their ignorance of the law is like a mechanic doing the same because a customer doesn’t know how to dismantle a carburator.

It’s petty, especially considering that most of the anecdotes that drive a lawyer’s frustration with clients are second-hand, because let’s face it. Clients, generally speaking, aren’t that bad. They also pay your bills. So shut up and fix the bloody carburator.

On top of the substantive weaknesses of the jokes (primarily that they aren’t funny), there are procedural weaknesses as well. I use these two terms, of course, because they are beaten into law students from day one to graduation and I’m trying to relate to my audience.

Now this piece wasn’t meant to be a review of the editor, but for God’s sake you don’t even have to work in order to recognize a poorly worded joke that could have been so much better if written properly. I didn’t.

Having read the first half of the book, I decided to skip to the end to see if the material got better as I went along. You know. Like the first two Godfather movies. But those movies started out good and still got better so perhaps there’s no grounds for comparison.

This book was more like Godfather III. It sucked in the beginning, it sucked in the middle, and wouldn’t you know it… it sucked in the end.

Allow me to get positive for a moment.

I’ll admit that, as much a comedy buff as I am, I’m no comic myself and I recognize how difficult it is to produce original material and perfect its delivery. Keeping that in mind, I can imagine instances in which most of the material in this book could be funny if delivered perfectly.

Some jokes are funny simply by virtue of how truly unfunny they are. Others can be made good by the right person under the right circumstances. Granted, it’d be a stretch with this material but anything’s possible. And some of the jokes have, buried deep inside them, little commentaries about the legal profession that could at least tickle a lawyer’s funny bone (while his/her wife/husband roles their eyes).

Perhaps the flaws lie with me. Maybe law school’s made me so jaded that I can’t laugh at all anymore. Come to think of it… I haven’t had a good laugh in a while.

Lawrence Gridin’s Review

Like Thomas, I pondered whether the jokes would be better if delivered verbally.

I solicited the help of a friend to listen to me telling the jokes. We both agreed that most of the jokes fell pretty flat, whether read to oneself or told to others.

Here are some examples:

“The Attorney asked the client: ‘Why did you decide to divorce your husband?’
She replied, ‘Beats me.’

Q: What’s the difference between a member of Congress and a client?
A: One finds ways to pass laws, the other to get around them.

The surest sign that a client is in love is when he comes in to divorce his wife.”

After getting about halfway through the book, I realized that the quality of the jokes was not improving. I was honestly not inclined to finish it, which is pretty sad considering the book is only 32 pages long!

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not a terrible book. There are good jokes here and there. Some made me smirk. A couple made me actually laugh.

But ultimately, I cannot see why anyone would want to pay money for a 32-page hit-or-miss joke book.

Omar Ha-Redeye’s Review

Unlike “my friends,” I probably have a slightly different sense of humour. I know that humour can and often is used in some very hurtful ways. And for whatever reason, that type of hurtful humour is usually the most popular among today’s youth.

In contrast, this book had a lot of good clean fun. The only person this would likely hurt is any lawyer so bold as to offend a client by telling one of these jokes.

Which brings me to the purpose of such a book. There is no way that any astute lawyer involved in client development would use these as ice breakers.

But when constantly bombarded with anti-lawyer rhetoric (can we establish that as an analogous group by any chance?), this book might provide some reprieve. I can see a fuming advocate retreating back to their office, opening their top draw and pulling this out, a smile slowly spreading across their face.

Sure, a lot of these jokes are recycled. It doesn’t make it less appealing when your self-esteem hits the floor. And it’s probably better in small doses, administered at times of need, rather than reading it cover to cover.

In short, it’s a groundbreaking piece that screams that the lawyer will be the victim no more.

Just don’t do a sequel to “A Lawyer Strikes Back” with a title “Return of the Lawyer,” or even I will join the cynical bandwagon.

About the Author

Law is Cool
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