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Laying Down the Law

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In radio advertising, lawyer jokes are like middle-relief pitchers—pedestrian but useful in a pinch. Occasionally, though, they get hammered.

Kentucky's Transportation Cabinet found that out the hard way when it aired a radio ad promoting safe driving that offered this drawled description of an accident scene:

"A car full of lawyers turned over right in front of old man Jenkins' place. He comes out and buries them all. The sheriff asked old man Jenkins, 'You sure they were all dead?' 'Well,' says Jenkins, 'some said they weren't. But you know how them lawyers lie.' "

The Kentucky Bar Association complained, and the state subsequently pulled the ad.

Mistianna Barnes, account executive at Kentucky News Network, which produced the work, didn't sound too bitter about having the faithful lawyer-joke routine backfire. "There was no malice or ill intent meant," she insists. "We were just trying to get listeners to laugh."