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Laughter in the law courts

Speaker Richard Bird

Raconteur Richard Bird, a member of the Rotary Club of Rutland, entertained members of Leicester Novus Rotary with a talk on Lawyer’s Humour, an exploration of what makes lawyers laugh.

Although none of his audience were lawyers, it is clear that what makes layers laugh, also makes Rotarians laugh.

Despite the difficulties of delivering dozens of one-liners over Zoom to an audience of 10 muted Rotarians, Richard had his audience sniggering, giggling and laughing out loud.

His stories drew on real-life cases, including Crown v City of London, which started in 1614 and was eventually decided in 1992!

Another case of “Justice delayed is Justice denied” was the fictional case of Jarndyce v Jarndyce (Bleak House, Charles Dickens).

Many of Richard’s entertaining stories were fictional, but many were based on truth.

Secretary Pam Spokes (whose husband, Immediate Past District Governor Rodney, was in the audience) asked how it was that Richard had such a fund of funny stories.

He explained that he had wanted to be a lawyer and went to Cambridge to read English with a view to then studying law. He so enjoyed English that he did not ‘transition’ as they say, these days. Instead, he became a teacher and then, he joked, he left education to become a principal of a community college! He then became involved with the Secondary Heads Association “at a time when we had a new Secretary of State every few months and a new Education Act every year!”

Richard’s final career move came when he edited the newsletter of a national law firm. He said that lawyers always reacted courteously to his funny stories about them and their profession.

His early interest in the law runs in the family; he told us that his daughter decided at the age of 12 to become a lawyer and she is now a barrister working in immigration law.

The round of applause Richard received after 35 rib-tickling minutes indicated that his 10-person jury were unanimous in deciding that Rotary meetings — even over Zoom — can be entertaining and fun, one of the principal elements of Rotary fellowship.

Last edited: 21:30 at Thursday, 24.09.2020