F. Lee Bailey’s Most Memorable Legal Quotes

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In memory of F. Lee Bailey (June 10, 1933-June 3, 2021) and his larger-than-life career, we wanted to share some of his most memorable quotes. To the legal giant, thank you for your dedication to the practice of law. 


“The public regards lawyers with great distrust. They think lawyers are smarter than the average guy but use their intelligence deviously. Well, they’re wrong. Usually they are not smarter.”

“Each lawyer makes somebody unhappy either by beating him, embarrassing him or tying him in knots.”

“I get paid for seeing that my clients have every break the law allows. I have knowingly defended a number of guilty men. But the guilty never escape unscathed. My fees are sufficient punishment for anyone.”

“A person in the business of defending criminal cases is going to live in controversy all of his or her life.”

“I use the rules to frustrate the law. But I didn’t set up the ground rules.”

“I enjoy personal injury cases. I’ve tried quite a few of those. And, frankly, any kind of litigation that is trouble-shooting, whether it’s equities, suits and injunctions, or whatever.”

“I have never seen a major trial which lacked significant perjury, and I have yet to see that perjury punished.”

“The legal profession is a business with a tremendous collection of egos. Few people who are not strong egotistically gravitate to it.”

“I can get a firestorm going anywhere in the United States by saying ‘O.J.'”

“I would strongly recommend any young man to stay away from criminal law. It’s not a good place to be, unfortunately.”

Attorney at Law Magazine

Attorney at Law Magazine is a national B2B trade publication for and about private practice attorneys. The magazine focuses on the industry, its events, happenings and the professionals and firms that drive its success. The editorial is a collaboration of interviews with professionals, industry expert penned columns and articles about advancing your legal practice through marketing, practice management and customer service.

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