Definition of Philadelphia lawyer in US English:

Philadelphia lawyer


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

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The consequence was a labyrinthine system of bonus points and calculating the draw which a Philadelphia lawyer might well have struggled to understand.’


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


Philadelphia lawyer