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2017 Word of the Year

Philadelphia lawyer

noun
1.
a lawyer of outstanding ability at exploiting legal fine points and technicalities.
Origin of Philadelphia lawyer
1780-1790
An Americanism dating back to 1780-90
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Idioms and Phrases with Philadelphia lawyer

Philadelphia lawyer

A shrewd attorney, adept at dealing with legal technicalities, as in It would take a Philadelphia lawyer to get him off. This expression dates from the late 1700s and, as lexicographer Richard H. Thornton observed: “Why members of the Philadelphia bar should be credited with superhuman sagacity has never been satisfactorily explained.”
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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