18 first thing we do is kill all the lawyers meaning Full Guide

18 first thing we do is kill all the lawyers meaning Full Guide

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What did Shakespeare mean when he wrote “let’s kill all the lawyers?” [1]

What did Shakespeare mean when he wrote “let’s kill all the lawyers?”. Perhaps you clicked on this link because you have heard people cite Shakespeare on the necessity of killing all the lawyers and wonder if it’s a myth
Well, first of all, the quote is real! It goes, “The first thing we do is, let’s kill all the lawyers.” It’s said by a character called Dick the Butcher in Act IV, Scene II of William Shakespeare’s Henry VI, Part II, which was (we think) written between 1596 and 1599.. Approximately four hundred years after Shakespeare’s death, this pithy phrase has become one of his most famous witticisms, appropriated often to disparage the legal profession, or at least acknowledge the ubiquitous caricature of the crooked, overpriced, counselor.
SMITH [aside]: A must needs; for beggary is valiant.. DICK [aside]: No question of that; for I have seen him whipp’d three market-days together.

Let’s kill all the lawyers [2]

“Let’s kill all the lawyers” is a line from William Shakespeare’s Henry VI, Part 2, Act IV, Scene 2. The full quote is: “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers”.[1] It is among Shakespeare’s most famous lines.[2]
Dick is a rough character like the other henchmen, a killer as evil as his name implies,[1] and this is his rough solution to his perceived societal problem.[3]. The line has been interpreted in different ways: criticism of how lawyers maintain the privilege of the wealthy and powerful; implicit praise of how lawyers stand in the way of violent mobs; and criticism of bureaucracy and perversions of the rule of law.[4]
He need not fear the sword; for his coat is of proof.. But methinks he should stand in fear of fire, being burnt i’ th’ hand for stealing of sheep.

The First Thing we Do, Let’s Kill All Lawyers [3]

“The First Thing we Do, Let’s Kill All the Lawyers”. Portions of the following article were published in the Delaware County Daily Times on Monday, August 19, 2002
Since lawyers play such a vital role in our democracy, why has lawyer-bashing increased exponentially in recent years and what should the response be?. Ironically, the rallying cry of the lawyer bashers has become Shakespeare’s quote from Henry VI— “THE FIRST THING WE DO, LET’S KILL ALL THE LAWYERS.”
Even a cursory reading of the context in which the lawyer killing statement is made in King Henry VI, Part II, (Act IV), Scene 2, reveals that Shakespeare was paying great and deserved homage to our venerable profession as the front line defenders of democracy.. The accolade is spoken by Dick the Butcher, a follower of anarchist Jack Cade, whom Shakespeare depicts as “the head of an army of rabble and a demagogue pandering to the ignorant,” who sought to overthrow the government

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Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia [4]

The term Philadelphia lawyer originated in the eighteenth century as a description of members of the Philadelphia bar, then widely considered the best trained in the American colonies and exceptionally skilled in the law and rhetoric. By the twentieth century the term had taken on a less flattering secondary meaning, to denote a clever attorney skilled in manipulating the law for his clients’ advantage
At a time when the English common law held that “the greater the truth, the greater the libel,” Hamilton argued that Zenger’s articles were true and therefore could not, by definition, be libelous. Under the common law, jurors were expected, on pain of being arrested and fined themselves, only to determine the facts and were prohibited from determining the law
Hamilton’s arguments were published in Philadelphia, New York, and London throughout much of the 1700s and were widely admired by other lawyers.. Recent scholarship has questioned Hamilton’s association with the term

‘Kill the Lawyers,’ A Line Misinterpreted [5]

TimesMachine is an exclusive benefit for home delivery and digital subscribers.. This is a digitized version of an article from The Times’s print archive, before the start of online publication in 1996
Occasionally the digitization process introduces transcription errors or other problems; we are continuing to work to improve these archived versions.. In reference to the review of ”Guilty Conscience,” (May 20) Leah D
Shakespeare’s exact line ”The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers,” was stated by Dick the Butcher in ”Henry VI,” Part II, act IV, Scene II, Line 73. Dick the Butcher was a follower of the rebel Jack Cade, who thought that if he disturbed law and order, he could become king

Shakespeare said, “Let’s kill all the lawyers.” But what did he really mean? [6]

“Let’s kill all the lawyers.” If you want anarchy and a lack of freedoms, that was what William Shakespeare was saying.. This is a speech from the Oklahoma Bar Association.
more often than not, those quotes are made without a basic understanding of the. It’s kinda like selectively quoting biblical scripture
go ye and do likewise.” So, for just a few minutes, let me play Paul Harvey and discuss. As we review Shakespeare’s Henry VI, part 2, we find at this juncture in the story

“The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers” [7]

Few people are unfamiliar with the phrase The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyer. Rueful, mocking, it often expresses the ordinary person’s frustration with the arcana and complexity of law
This gap in knowledge has inspired a myth of “correction”, where it is “explained” that this is line really intended as a praise of the lawyer’s role.. “The first thing we do,” said the character in Shakespeare’s Henry VI, is “kill all the lawyers.” Contrary to popular belief, the proposal was not designed to restore sanity to commercial life
As the famous remark by the plotter of treachery in Shakespeare’s King Henry VI shows – “The first thing we must do is kill all the lawyers,” – the surest way to chaos and tyranny even then was to remove the guardians of independent thinking.(from THINKING LIKE A LAWYER). The argument of this remark as in fact being favorable to lawyers is a marvel of sophistry, twisting of the meaning of words in unfamiliar source, disregard of the evident intent of the original author and ad hominem attack

“The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” Dick the Butcher’s famous quote from Shakespeare’s Henry VI, Part 2, Act IV, Scene 2 is known by almost everyone. [8]

“The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” Dick the Butcher’s famous quote from Shakespeare’s Henry VI, Part 2, Act IV, Scene 2 is known by almost everyone.. “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” Dick the Butcher’s famous quote from Shakespeare’s Henry VI, Part 2, Act IV, Scene 2 is known by almost everyone
Shakespeare’s famous quote was not a proposal designed to restore sanity to life, but rather to eliminate those who might stand in the way of a contemplated rebellion. This underscores the important role lawyers play, both in and out of Court.
These people routinely contribute back to society in ways that effect our lives, but lawyers rarely come forward to let people know about their good works. Some of you know Don as an attorney they have seen in the Courts over the past 25 years

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“The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” [9]

Everyone knows this quote and that it is from Shakespeare. Defenders of lawyers (mostly lawyers) say that it is misunderstood and was intended as a “complement to lawyers and judges who protect the people from tyranny and anarchy.” This argument stems from the identity of the character speaking, Dick the Butcher, a dastardly villain and follower of the rebel Jack Cade, a pretender to the throne and a sort of libertarian
In fact, Dick the Butcher is making a joke, as Shakespeare was wont to do, at the expense of lawyers.. “Far from “eliminating those who might stand in the way of a contemplated revolution” or portraying lawyers as “guardians of independent thinking”, it’s offered as the best feature imagined of yet for utopia
Perhaps Shakespeare was not taking sides, but commenting on the ambiguous status of lawyers in his own day. And perhaps it is so popular today because it still evokes the same ambiguity

Shakespeare Didn’t Really Want To Kill All The Lawyers, But We Should Deregulate Their Profession [10]

One of the Bard’s often-quoted lines is Dick the Butcher’s admonition in Henry VI, Part 2, “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.”. That idea, argues lawyer David Epstein, is mistakenly thought to mean that Shakespeare was antagonistic toward the legal profession
Whether you agree with Epstein’s interpretation or not, more than four centuries after Shakespeare’s time, we should do something about lawyers, something that entails no violence.. That something is to deregulate the legal profession.
They seek it, happily trading off some freedom for security from the blustery winds of wide-open competition. One of the organized interest groups that has been very successful in getting government to stifle competition so it can act like a cartel is the legal profession.

The First Thing We Do, Let’s Kill All The Lawyers [11]

” The first thing we do, Let’s kill all the lawyers” said the butcher or, if we assume for a moment that Shakespeare put his own words in the mouth of his characters which is a reasonable assumption, then said the Shakespeare. (Many believe this understanding of the line is not a correct one
Well! It is very unpleasant to think that one of the biggest play writers in the history had such a degree of animosity against lawyers. After all, we should see and interpret things in their context
Hence, it is not hard to imagine that the people who were widely considered as loyal proponent of statues qua were deserved to be killed. But, still it would be naive to rely only upon this ground in justification of this “bloody” line of Shakespeare’s play.

“First, kill all the lawyers…”. was Shakespeare. Right? – [12]

A perfect example of the verbal attacks attorneys have endured through out history is an often misused quote from Shakespeare. Attorney critics frequently allege that Shakespeare said “First, kill all the lawyers…”.
This quote is from a murderer and an anarchist (one who believes in political disorder and violence). The plan was that if the social underclass were to kill all educated people (anyone that could read and write) they could cause a revolt.
Cade’s real agenda was to eliminate all opposition to his evil plan and to seize all power and rule as a dictator.. The point that Shakespeare seemed to make, by this statement, is that in the absence of laws and lawyers to help protect the rights of the individual citizens, dictators flourish and the rights of the people can be abridged

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“The First Thing We Do, Let’s Kill All the Lawyers” [13]

Yesterday we asked Law Blog readers for some insight into William Shakespeare’s oft-quoted line from Henry VI: “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” Is it an attack on lawyers, an acknowledgment of lawyers’ importance to society, or something else entirely? Law Blog reader Andrew Epstein, an English professor at Florida State University (and a friend of LB editor/contributor Ashby Jones), asked his department colleagues for some insight: Prof. Gary Taylor: The line is part of a lower class rebellion that also executes someone for being able to read and write, so it no doubt expresses a real hostility against lawyers among the uneducated, but Shakespeare is unlikely to have completely endorsed the views of the rebels
The scene acknowledges the power of lawyers to “undo a man.” Cade and Dick the Butcher are represented as ridiculously impractical in their efforts to raise rebellion, but the phrase certainly plays to the perennial unpopularity of lawyers in the eyes of the common people. The fantasy of killing them all is a fantasy of freedom from the Law
So it could be taken as “backhanded praise” in the sense that it implies that lawyers are better than the criminal class (or are at least the natural enemy of the criminal class). We’re inclined at this point to give a big: “Go Noles!” But we certainly wouldn’t want to tick off any profs at the University of Florida or the University of Miami (or anywhere else, for that matter)

(Don’t) Kill All the Lawyers [14]

“The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.”. – Dick the Butcher (William Shakespeare, HENRY IV, Part II, Act IV, Scene 2)
Surely, it draws a laugh from the audience and continues to sell T-shirts and mugs at nearly every Shakespeare festival, but within the context of Henry IV, it was, in fact, a nod to the value of attorneys. The famous line was spoken by Dick the Butcher, a follower of the rebel Jack Cade, who thought that if he disturbed law and order, he could become king.
See Debbie Vogel, “Kill the Lawyers, A Line Misinterpreted,” N.Y. TIMES (June 17, 1990), available at https://www.nytimes.com/1990/06/17/nyregion/l-kill-the-lawyers-a-line-misinterpreted-599990.html

“The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers” [15]

“The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers”. An often-misquoted phrase from Henry VI, Part 2, Act 4, Scene 2 for those who would like to follow this further
However, a closer reading of that particular passage in Shakespeare will enlighten the misguided. In fact, Shakespeare is acknowledging that for any autocrat to prosper, it is necessary to remove freedom
So, let me implore you, before you take up the cudgels, to stop and have a better understanding of how best to deal with your lawyer so you will not be tempted to use or paraphrase this quote.. Over the years, I, and many other lawyers, have been placed in a position where a client will provide a very much foreshortened version of their instructions, favouring only their point of view, and leaving out many salient and relevant facts


It’s actually a line from William Shakespeare’s “Henry VI.” The full quote is, “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.”. In a 1990 article, The New York Times said the line was misinterpreted
Shakespeare meant it as a compliment to attorneys and judges who instill justice in society.”. Whew! As a lawyer, I appreciate that interpretation.
The damages provision of the Federal Trademark Act is an example. Half the regional Circuit Courts of Appeal interpret damages one way, while the other half interpret it another way

The First Thing We Do, Let’s Kill all the Lawyers [17]

I was in NYC recently and saw To Kill a Mockingbird on Broadway. I was thrilled, as it is a story I’ve loved since being introduced to it, as many of us were, in middle school English class
While the original might have been perfect for my idealistic middle school days, the more complex examination of what justice and empathy truly mean in our society today was just what the doctor ordered.. My obligatory “Playbill in front of the stage” shot to prove I was there!
My fiancé and I are, I think, two of only about five people who loved that show. On a personal note, I credit it with him being able to woo me with political conversations despite my protestations that I was studying for the bar and too busy and important for anything else.

Kill All the Lawyers [18]

Not many lawyers, if any at all, have heard in their law schools anything about a man called Jack Cade. Perhaps rightly so, he was not a lawyer and not even involved in legal procedures in any capacity
After winning the first battle and conquering London they gathered to discuss what to do next and what demands to pursue. But these had not been the usual demands to, say, lower taxes or depose the incompetent King
“The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.”. This exclamation, which produced (rather dry) laughs of many theatre audiences throughout the next half a millennium, has usually been dismissed as just an expression of general murderous desire of a bunch of gangsters

first thing we do is kill all the lawyers meaning
18 first thing we do is kill all the lawyers meaning Full Guide


  1. https://lithub.com/what-did-shakespeare-mean-when-he-wrote-lets-kill-all-the-lawyers/
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Let%27s_kill_all_the_lawyers
  3. https://www.eckellsparks.com/newsletters/the-first-thing-we-do-lets-kill-all-the-lawyers/
  4. https://philadelphiaencyclopedia.org/essays/philadelphia-lawyer/#:~:text=The%20term%20Philadelphia%20lawyer%20originated,in%20the%20law%20and%20rhetoric.
  5. https://www.nytimes.com/1990/06/17/nyregion/l-kill-the-lawyers-a-line-misinterpreted-599990.html
  6. https://kjslaw.com/2012/07/12/shakespeare-said-lets-kill-lawyers-mean/
  7. https://www.spectacle.org/797/finkel.html
  8. https://www.dailyherald.com/submitted/20200828/x201cthe-first-thing-we-do-lets-kill-all-the-lawyersx201d–dick-the-butchers-famous-quote-from-shakespeares-henry-vi-part-2-act-iv-scene-2-is-known-by-almost-everyone-
  9. https://www.oilandgaslawyerblog.com/the-first-thing-we-do-lets-kill-all-the-lawyers/
  10. https://www.forbes.com/sites/georgeleef/2014/09/18/shakespeare-didnt-really-want-to-kill-all-the-lawyers-but-we-should-deregulate-their-profession/
  11. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/steak-lawyers-pejman-eshtehardi
  12. https://spivalaw.com/blog/first-kill-lawyers-shakespeare-right/
  13. https://www.wsj.com/articles/BL-LB-2499
  14. https://matchfarnsworth.com/dont-kill-all-the-lawyers/
  15. https://www.cbdnews.com.au/the-first-thing-we-do-lets-kill-all-the-lawyers/
  16. https://www.ipguy.com/lets-kill-all-the-lawyers/
  17. https://cbaatthebar.chicagobar.org/2019/03/07/the-first-thing-we-do-lets-kill-all-the-lawyers/
  18. https://www.disenz.net/en/kill-all-the-lawyers/

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