Legal cartoons and humorous comment (c) Paul Brennan. All rights reserved.

I decided on 101 reasons as I didn’t want to depress the entire legal profession by having 1,001.
Paul Brennan, Lawyer, Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

Monday, November 6, 2017

Books about law and lawyers

Are you looking for something special for the legal person in your life?

Then look no further than these two books on law and lawyers:  


Q. Will it give me an insight into my lawyer husband?
A. No, nothing that you have not suspected over the years.

Q. Do you do exchanges?
A. No, you married him.

Sponsored by Brennans solicitors

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The Art of War : Highly effective advice from Ancient China for clients

I first came across the Art of War when I lived in Hong Kong. The book offers advice on military strategy. It was written about 2,500 years ago, by Sun Zhu, general of the Kingdom of Wu an area situated a few hundred kilometres north of Shanghai. Much has been written about the Art of War by management gurus and others so that there are 1,500 titles in paperback on Amazon alone.

It has an immediate strategic advantage when compared with any law book in that it is only thirteen chapters (6,000 words) long, available for immediate download and free

It was written at a time when an ill-advised attack on a neighbouring state could lead to disaster and death. This may not be the case in a dispute between neighbours today, but if you have ever been involved in a dispute with your own neighbour you will know that it can certainly feel that way. The advice is aggressive as winning is all important but also cautious maybe because one of the casualties of a wrong move was often the general himself.

Some of Sun Tzu’s advice such as obtaining information by bribing your enemy’s officials, seeking out concubines greedy for gold in your enemy’s camp or the chapter on the use of fire in battle has less application in legal practice today. However, the book contains  plenty of other advice for legal practitioners and clients alike.

There is practical advice such as the “Object of War is Peace” especially useful for a client demanding immediate reprisals against a brainless neighbour.

There is esoteric and perplexing advice to ponder before taking any action at all, such as:

  1. Know the enemy and yourself and you will win, know yourself and not the enemy and you will win some and lose some. Know not yourself or the enemy and you will lose.
  2. The side that is the most loyal, has the ablest general, chooses the best time and place, is the stronger and more disciplined, will prevail in war.

The Art of War can help to explain why the forceful, immediate action expected by clients in new litigation matters should be combined with some forethought. Before rushing on, I try to remind myself of the words of Brendan Behan who said “I have never seen a situation so dismal that a policeman couldn't make it worse” which could easily apply to a lawyer who does not ask “Where are we going with this?” preferably before sending out the initial letter.

Then there is much advice on the twists and turns of litigation, such as:

  1. Be first in the field so that you are fresh as an enemy who rushes to the fight arrives exhausted.
  2. Combat is expensive, and the longer it goes on, the more expensive it will become. Prolonged combat will deplete your resources and weaken you.
  3. There are roads not to follow, towns that should not be besieged, armies that should not be attacked and positions that should not be challenged.
  4. Only seek battle after the victory has been won.

my personal favourite being - if outnumbered flee.

The King of Wu could not have been an easy client, and yet Sun Zhu was uncompromising in maintaining that it was essential for victory that the sovereign should not interfere. A general will look for flexibility and opportunity and a sovereign’s commands may constrain this approach. It is far easier to tell a client that Sun Tzu  cautions against interfering rather than suggesting that it is your idea.

Sun Tzu advises generals to gain no reputation for wisdom or courage as if you plan secretly, act with stealth and win without fighting your victories should not be known. Noting the number of award nights that there are for lawyers these days this may be difficult advice for all but the most disciplined and humble litigation lawyer to take on board.

You will start to find the advice of Sun Tzu to be useful in many areas of your life. Having said that even a small homily from Sun Tzu within marriage is dangerous ground

(c) Paul Brennan 2017. All rights reserved.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Winners of the 2017 Legal Cartoon Competition

First Prize: 
Eric Elrington, Beenleigh Legal, Beenleigh "I accept I need you and the QC Mr Williams, but TWO junior counsel? How much will this all cost?" 

Second Prize
Guy Gibbons,Bennett Carroll solicitors, Brisbane “You boys with the feathers will have to wait until the professionals at the back have picked me clean” : 

Third Prize
Tony Cordato, Cordato Partners, Sydney “When legal eagles meet jailbirds, there’s much to squawk about!”: 

Honorable mentions :
“I’m not paying for 4 lawyers!”
Mitchell Byrne, Noosa

" None of you look like Clarence Sparrow!"
John Mawson, Brisbane

"I guess the joke's on me"Sally Elizabeth Jenkins, Roma
Thank you to all those who took part. 
About Law & Disorder Competitions and Quizzes

In 2006, our first competition was a John Fytit look a like competition. There were a number of senior lawyers put forward by their staff but the winners were never identified or in most cases informed. Then there was the more successful 
Three Minute Legal Quiz.  
Only subscribers to the Law & Disorder eZine can enter. However, subscription is free and immediate at

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Rules of the Law & Disorder Cartoon Caption Competition

The following rules shall apply to each competition:
  • Only one entry per person received by the Editor of the Law & Disorder Ezine by way of post under the announcement of the competition, or received at email, or otherwise acknowledged by the Editor by midnight on the date referred to in the announcement of the competition shall be accepted.
  • Only subscribers to the Law & Disorder Ezine can enter however subscription is free and immediate and can be made at
  • The decision of the Editor shall be final in respect of the interpretation of these rules, selection of the winning cartoons, caption or captions and all other matters concerning this competition or its prizes including the cancellation of this competition.
  • Entrants warrant that the cartoon/caption is their original work and has not been copied and does not infringe any other persons rights.
  • All entrants retain the copyright in their caption but by entry grant a non-exclusive, irrevocable, licence to the Law & Disorder eZine which can be assigned or sub-licenced to any of its sponsors, or related entities to use their cartoon and caption in connection with the cartoon in any medium worldwide without further attribution or any payment.
  • The winning entrant or entrants confirm that they permit the Law & Disorder eZine to use their name in any announcement or promotion by the Law & Disorder eZine or any of its sponsors, or related entities regarding the competition.
  • The winner of the Competition shall be sent the prize referred to in the email promoting the competition (or where there is a choice of prize, the prize chosen by the winner).  If the winner cannot be contacted within one month or there is some other impediment to the prize being sent, then the right to receive the prize lapses.  The prize can be substituted for some other prize at the discretion of the Editor.

About Law & Disorder Competitions and Quizzes

In 2006, our first competition was a John Fytit look a like competition. There were a number of senior lawyers put forward by their staff but the winners were never identified or in most cases informed. Then there was the more successful  Three Minute Legal Quiz.

This Legal Cartoon Competition is proudly sponsored by:

Brennans solicitors

Saturday, February 11, 2017

A New App Uberizing Legal Services

The new Law App (“the LApp”) heralds the Uberization of legal services.

The LApp will enable you to summon the lawyer of your choice who will not only provide legal advice at an agreed hourly rate but also take you to where you want to go at no extra charge. This service transforms the much-maligned billable hour into the essential ingredient of fee transparency.

If you do not like the advice, you can stop the clock, get out, hail another lawyer or just discuss your legal problem with an Uber driver of your choice. There will be no more waiting in shabby lawyer’s offices; you select the quality of the vehicle, the uniform and even the disposition of the lawyer/driver (“LD”).

The clock only starts once the LD with the requested specialisation arrives at your door.

The ability to review the LD is a Premium Feature of the LApp available at an additional charge. Due to its popularity, extra servers are being laid on in Arizona.

The LApp also offers judges (JDs”) and mediators (“MDs”).

A JD will pick you up and determine your dispute during the journey. The JDs will be just as cantankerous as any taxi driver. However, you can end the tirade at any time, an option not available in court.

An MD will conduct the mediation during the journey. Some mediations may need to start off in two separate vehicles taking different routes to avoid unpleasant exchanges at traffic lights or in heavy traffic.

There are plans for volunteer juries to be empanelled to assist in making a decision in your matter. A coach with a well-stocked bar and an enticing destination should eliminate reluctant jurors.

You will arrive at your destination with your legal problem solved without the usual delay.

Sponsored by Brennans solicitors

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Early Demise Opportunity

Assisted suicide may now be expressed as the less alarming assisted dying. However, we shall not see any significant benefit until euthanasia is embraced as an Early Demise Opportunity (“EDO”) by persons ready to make an empowered choice rather than seeing themselves as victims meeting an untimely and unfair end.

Counsellors and psychologists should stop convincing people to be survivors and start promoting death as quicker than cognitive therapy and far less painful than life itself. For the terminally offended death would be a release.

Victim status need not be abandoned but a higher commitment should be demanded to eliminate malingerers. What real victim would not relish being thrown to the lions before a jeering or (with training) disciplined and respectful crowd. This is not only an eco-friendly solution but could do wonders for zoo attendance.  Organisers could seek church sponsorship so that stoic participants would have the prospect of being declared martyrs.

Provided no lions were injured or traumatised during this process, Demisees would be a welcome addition to the Live Export Trade to zoos worldwide or even Africa. What Baby Boomer could resist the lure of an all you can eat overseas trip? Obesity would no longer be an issue as people could eat as much as they wanted in the knowledge that one day they could be doing their bit for the starving lions of the Serengeti.

Although consent is desirable, with some Reluctant Tiresome Demisees (“RTDs”) there comes a time when the family must make the decision for them. This can be difficult but in many cases the family will quickly reach consensus. A Corrective Action Current Term (“CACT”) Plan should be prepared. For instance:
- Six months before Demise (“D”) Day the RTD’s money should be placed in Escrow to prevent last minute sprees.
- The Will should be examined and amendment encouraged where the terms are not acceptable to the family.  This should significantly reduce post-death surprises leading to family conflict.

Euthanasia would not only relieve adult children of the cost and worry of caring for aged (or difficult) parents but we would all benefit from shorter queues at Andre Rieu concerts.

(c) Paul Brennan 2016. All rights reserved.

Sponsored by Brennans solicitors

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Book Review : I’ll have the Law on You: The Selected Letters of John Fytit

I’ll Have the Law on You is a politely amusing compilation of ‘legal’ and ‘life’ advice provided by fictitious lawyer, John Fytit, in response to legal questions received from judges, prosecutors, politicians, lawyers and the odd wife.  I must confess I am not familiar with Brennan’s other works, including Hang on to It Girl: The Wily Woman’s Guide to Wills, though for US$5 on Amazon, I could be tempted.

For some, the creative advice of John Fytit may be a traumatizing self-reflection narrative.  Others may see his advice as safe ‘Golden Gavel’ material – the secret is out!  And others may just enjoy looking at the cartoon illustrations and consider a career change.

The book is divided into eight parts, including Career Advice and Self-Help and Advice on Issues Raised by People with Nothing to Do (the former part perhaps written by people mentioned in the latter part).

A few take home messages worth highlighting:

·         “It is not the lawyer who puts you on hold, it is the legal receptionist over whom lawyers have little control.”
·         Public Servant Query: “As a reward for long service, I have been offered a job of Ombudsman.  However, it sounds a little bit too challenging so near to my retirement.  I am concerned that it may be too taxing and argumentative” … John Fytit’s response: “The Ombudsman is not an advocate for complaints nor is he there to stick up for government departments.  He is somewhere in the politically correct but potentially ineffective middle.”

You have all now been warned!

Perhaps the hardest thing to swallow is the disturbing truth about Brennan’s observations.  Fytit’s responses are at times witty, cringe-worthy, a scary mirror to reality and a refreshing reminder that it cannot always be this bad.  I must admit a few chuckles and smirks escaped as I read.  At least Fytit’s receptionist has the nous to tell the clients that their lawyer is ‘currently unavailable’ rather than ‘Yes, your lawyer is in today but told me he/she doesn’t want to talk to you,’ a true story from a local Darwin firm.

Brennan is also the author of the following notable titles:

True, they did not teach this.

Rating: 3 out of 5 laughs.

Jenna Dennison, Senior Project Officer, Community Corrections / Department of Correctional Services

Jenna Dennison's review also appeared in the Hong Kong Lawyer, the official journal of the Hong Kong Law Society

Sponsored by Brennans solicitors

Saturday, October 22, 2016


(1) It is unlawful for a person to do an act, otherwise than in private, if:
(a) the act is reasonably likely, in all the circumstances, to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or a group of people with no sense of humour.

Sponsored by Brennans solicitors, humourless by appointment

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Book Review : Insufficient Legal Content

For lawyers, the accusation of "insufficient legal content" is up there with being no good in bed and a lousy driver.

A letter from the Law Society Gazette, Law Society of Ireland highlights the traditional cunning in writing long and turgid legal books to avoid scrutiny...

Book review – I’ll have the law on you, the selected letters of John Fytit

Thank you for sending us a copy of your book so that the Gazette Editorial Board could consider it for possible review.

The board decided at its meeting today not to assign your book for review, as it was deemed to have insufficient legal content for the Gazette readership.

Yours etc.

Reply :

Have the solicitors of Ireland not got enough legal content of their own to be going on with without making demands on mine?

This sounds like the work of some fresh-faced chancer in the Society’s marketing department, eager for promotion who has convinced the Board that Irish solicitors want legal content.

Unless this is some sort of new EU quota, I am afraid that this is all the legal content .........


Paul Brennan

Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Will of a well known Wall Street Stock Broker

To my wife, I leave my lover, and the knowledge that I wasn’t the fool that she thought I was.

To my son, I leave the pleasure of earning a living. For thirty-five years he thought the pleasure was mine. He was mistaken.

To my daughter, I leave $100,000.00. She will need it. The only good piece of business her husband ever did was to marry her.

To my valet I leave the clothes he was stealing from me for the past ten years.

To my chauffeur I leave my cars. He almost ruined them and I want him to have the satisfaction of finishing the job.

And lastly, to my partner, I leave the suggestion that he take somebody else into business with him if he ever expects to do any business.


Sponsored by Brennans solicitors

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Review : I’ll have the law on you: The Selected letters of John Fytit

If you are a lover of legal humour, you may already be familiar with Paul Brennan – a Sunshine Coast solicitor and author of books including The Law is An Ass: Make Sure it Doesn't Bite Yours!” and ‘101 reasons to kill all the lawyers’.

His latest book is the first major edition of the works of John Fytit (pronounced ‘Fight it’): a former embittered sole practitioner, the central cartoon character in Law & Disorder cartoons which started in 1992, and now an ‘Agony Ombudsman’ - appointed in 2013 in recognition of his 21 years’ experience in legal misfortunes.

In the book Mr Fytit dishes out practical advice and heartfelt guidance on a wide range of issues including neighbours, car parking spaces, social media, modern partnerships and legal receptionists. There’s also some insights on procrastination – and this book would indeed be the perfect distraction for any lawyer who doesn’t want to dive into the next big nasty file just yet.

It’s some light relief but the insights are spot-on in lampooning all types of legal foibles, pretensions, challenges and frustrations, the cartoons rarely failing to bring a smile to the face.

The best thing about this sort of incisive humour is that the dryness and irony in the jokes successfully illustrate serious and important truths and challenges – in the law, in life, in client communication and in legal careers. There’s a big focus in the book on relationships with adult children and on inheritance for instance, and the interplay of real but humorous personal motivations and genuine practical issues is fascinating.

Funny and informative - I can confidently recommend this book.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

The Future: Deluxe Pro Bono

The Selected Letters of John Fytit

Dear John

I have always given legal advice on a need to know basis. But my insurer has encouraged me to be more expansive so that my advice must now anticipate unexpected but possible issues such as nuclear attack.

Areas of law which used to be peaceful, such as wills and conveyancing have been declared war zones by my insurer. In the past, my test for the mental capacity for older clients making wills was that their memory was better than mine.  My insurer tells me that  I was setting the bar too low.  

How can I go on?


Dear Anon

It was when my initial advice letter on the purchase of a home had become so long that I could not bear to read it myself without suicidal thoughts that I decided things had to change.

I tried restricting myself to truly non-contentious practice areas such as votes for mothers. Then I developed the Deluxe Pro Bono Model (“the Model”) which provides that rather than receiving payment for legal services; I pay my clients. They were delighted, expectations and deadlines, fell away, my work life balance improved and my customer satisfaction surveys shot up.

 At first, the fees my clients charged me were relatively modest. But as my clients had to spend increasing amounts of their time trying to get me to do anything their fees sharply increased. Eventually, I had to look overseas for clients that I could afford, and I am proud to say that by applying the Model I have lifted entire villages in India out of legal advice impoverishment.

I have asked the government to appoint me as a Lex Discrimination Commissioner to change the attitude of lawyers so that people not only have access to legal advice but are paid by the lawyers to listen to it. I am awaiting a response.


(c) Paul Brennan 2015. All rights reserved. 

Sponsored by Brennans solicitors

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Happy Mothers' Day

Dear John,

 Is there any legal way I can make my children face up to their responsibilities and show me some attention?

Concerned mother, Sunshine Coast, Queensland
Dear Concerned Mother

Any mention of your will should do the trick.

Find a worthy cause to champion. Your lawyer will have a whole book of charitable institutions. My advice is to opt for the slightly offbeat. My own clients have become very fond of a local Donkey Sanctuary.

A word of caution: do not leave your money to your own pet. It is a certain death sentence. Unless, of course, your pet shows you no attention either.

Use a codicil, a short addition to a will, in order to write out any particular offender. Alternatively, announce that you intend to make a new will to shake up all of your children.

With a bit of thought, your next Mother’s Day could be a very special occasion indeed.

(c) Paul Brennan 2015. All rights reserved. 

Sponsored by Brennans solicitors 

Monday, April 25, 2016

It's Bedlam in here

In 1247 Bedlam started as St Mary of Bethlehem dedicated to prayer and the poor.  It attracted lunatics (those affected by the moon). In those days, madness was your own fault. Fortunately, the possession by devils could be fixed by the church using techniques such as boring a hole in your head to let the devils out. Other treatments were spring bleeding and flogging.

Patients who could not be cured were released. But an outpouring of public sympathy enabled further wards to be built for the incurable so that they could be put back in.

It was a money making business. Families had to pay a fee and establish that their mad family member was also poor. Bedlam became a tourist attraction; Samuel Pepys took his two nephews on a day out. It was argued that tourists not only provided fees but their visits helped to supervise the inmates.

There was competition in the asylum business from the York Retreat established in 1796 by the Quakers who had no medical training and tried kindness, which was quite successful.

In 1815, an enquiry found inmates who were kept in cells semi-naked with just a blanket. It was explained that these were the incontinents, clothing just made matters worse. Also, one American sailor was said to have been locked in a cage for 10 years as he had wrists too thin for manacles. In fact, it was 9 years, it was not a cage, it was a cell, his arms were pinned to his side and a chain was around his neck so that he could be dragged nearer to the cell door for inspection and other purposes.

In 1845, parliament appointed Lunacy Commissioners to oversee asylums.

In 2004, parliament appointed a Legal Services Commissioner to oversee lawyers. We had hoped for kindness.

Sponsored by Brennans solicitors

Sunday, April 17, 2016

What’s so funny? Competition - Prizeman (sic) wins prize

If nothing funny has happened to you in your legal career, you may not be doing it properly.

Here is a winning entry in a Competition by the Queensland Law Society. What is the funniest thing that has happened so far in your legal career? Tell us in 150 words or less to be in the running  to win a copy of "I'll Have the Law on You". 

The funniest thing that has happened so far in my legal career occurred when the prosecution called on a surprise mention of a matter in the Magistrates Court. I was not in possession of my jacket, so I impressed upon the Duty Lawyer the situation and relieved him of his jacket. Only after appearing in my mismatched suit did the Magistrate not only grant me leave to appear without a jacket, but also commented on my improvised dress sense.
Winning entry by William Prizeman, Criminal Lawyer, Legal Aid Queensland, Rockhampton

Click here for details of the competition. 

Sponsored by Brennans solicitors