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The meaning and origin of the expression: A man who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client

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A man who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client

Meaning

Literal meaning.

Origin

This proverb is based on the opinion, probably first expressed by a lawyer, that self-representation in court is likely to end badly. As with many proverbs, it is difficult to determine a precise origin but this expression first began appearing in print in the early 19th century. An early example comes in The flowers of wit, or a choice collection of bon mots, by Henry Kett, 1814:

...observed the eminent lawyer, "I hestitate not to pronounce, that every man who is his own lawyer, has a fool for a client.

See also: the List of Proverbs.