“It is the trade of lawyers to question everything, yield nothing and talk by the hour” – Thomson Jefferson.
What lawyer, or anyone for that matter, hasn’t needed to find a memorable, stirring or funny quote for a speech?
A great quote can certainly come in handy when you’re looking to inspire people, make them laugh or – in the case of a lawyer - persuade people to believe in a particular point of view.
Here to help is Thomas J. Vesper’s Uncle Anthony’s Unabridged Analogies: Quotes and Proverbs for Lawyers and Lecturers, published by West.
Vesper has collected more than 25,000 proverbs, quotations and other famous sayings and has organized them by topic and author. He’s been writing them down, with a little help here and there, for 30 years. They include quotes from the Bible, and many famous names including William Shakespeare, Winston Churchill and Will Rogers.
Of course they also come from a not-so-famous name, Vesper’s Uncle Anthony. Here’s a sampling of his wisdom, regarding justice:
“I always heard that Justice was blind, but I didn’t think she was lame too! I seen her blindfolded, but where’s her crutches? She needs crutches!”
And this quote, an appropriate one for the purpose of Vesper’s book:
“Quotations found in books of that stuff are like bullpens for lawyers, when you find yourself in a jam you can go to your best quote like a good closer or middle relief pitcher.”
Vesper says he sees his book helping lawyers find quotes that can make their arguments and points “a lot more credible.”
So, just how important are words to a lawyer’s work? Well, Vesper answers that question with a quote, of course, from Mark Twain:
“The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”
Vesper offers more insight into his love of quotes in this Westcast podcast.
Posted by Kevin Hunt, senior communications specialist, Thomson Reuters