Lawyer Humor

I used to work for a company which owned shopping malls, and I worked in the legal department, creating leases for the tenants (stores) which leased space in our malls.

One day, when I was cleaning up our computer files, I ran across two lease clauses which were perplexing. A co-worker explained them to me: one tenant had argued and nitpicked our lease so much, the attorney, in a fit of passive aggressiveness, came up with these two clauses. I don’t know if he actually tried to slip them into the lease, or if it was just a way for him to personally vent, but they’re hilarious (if you work in the legal profession, at any rate) and show that even lawyers have a sense of humor.

Death of Tenant. Upon the death of any individual Tenant, Landlord shall have a lien upon any cemetery plot, crypt, or other place of final interment of such deceased Tenant, together with any and all rents, issues, incomes and profits arising therefrom, and any and all renewals, replacements, accessions, improvements, and substitutions, and a prior perfected security interest in and to any and all effects, articles of personal adornment, gold fillings, and other things of value severed of capable of severance without material injury to the corpse of the deceased Tenant. The foregoing lien and security interest may be enforced by any lawful procedure and will continue until whichever of the following occurs first: (a) full payment of the rent, additional rent and other charges payable under this Lease; or (b) Landlord is furnished with a substitute hostage of equal or better class, quality, usefulness, and value of the deceased Tenant.

Finis Universum. If Landlord shall determine that the end of the universe is imminent before full performance of all obligations under this Lease, including payment in full of rent, additional rent and other charges under this Lease, at Landlord’s option all such rent, additional rent or other charges to the end of the Term shall become immediately due and payable in full and may be enforced against Tenant by any available procedure. For remedial purposes, Landlord will be deemed aligned with the forces of light, and Tenant with the forces of darkness, regardless of the parties’ actual ultimate destinations, unless and until Landlord elects otherwise in writing.

Can you see why I’m so verbose sometimes? As if being a history major and writing a bunch of crap in college (really, a lot of what I wrote was crap) didn’t affect me enough, I work in a field where this is how everything is written.

Edited to Add: The author of these clauses, Attorney Bruce Long, recently contact me. I didn’t know it, but they actually pre-dated the attorney that I worked for. Bruce wrote: “…[Y]es, I actually did slip those into leases occasionally to “break the ice” with an over-zealous advocate, but made sure that they were disclosed and removed before the final execution of the leases.” 

I am currently contemplating adding something similar to a few divorce documents, especially the part about our client being “aligned with the forces of light” and the other party being “aligned with the forces of darkness.” Definitely have some ex-husbands who are aligned with the forces of darkness.


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