Robert Smith


© 2002 The New Yorker Collection. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.

“The acme of judicial distinction means the ability to look a lawyer straight in the eyes for two hours and not hear a damn word he says.”


“The penalty for laughing in a courtroom is six months; if it were not for this penalty, the jury would never hear the evidence.”


Santa Claus on Trial

“Your Honor, could the defendant possibly go down that chimney? Could he possibly supply all good children from the bag marked Exhibit B? I accuse the venerable gentleman of being partial. I have here witnesses whom he never visits.”

“A verbal contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.”


“A jury verdict is a quotient of the prejudices of twelve people.”

–KENNETH P. GRUBB, American jurist

“A jury consists of 12 persons chosen to decide who has the better lawyer.”


A witness once said to a judge,

“You may believe me or not, but I have stated not a word that is false, for I have been wedded to truth from infancy.”

“Yes, sir,” said the judge, “but the question is how long have you been a widower?”