Definition of Philadelphia lawyer in English:

Philadelphia lawyer

noun

informal
  • A very shrewd lawyer expert in the exploitation of legal technicalities.

    • ‘The consequence was a labyrinthine system of bonus points and calculating the draw which a Philadelphia lawyer might well have struggled to understand.’
    • ‘With that deal he demonstrated there is a career for him as a Philadelphia lawyer once he hangs up his boots.’
    • ‘It doesn't take a Philadelphia lawyer to figure that one out.’

Origin

With reference to Andrew Hamilton of Philadelphia, who successfully defended John Zenger (1735), an American journalist and publisher, from libel charges.