Byte of Prevention Blog

by Jay Reeves |

13 Superstitions For Good – Or Bad – Luck in the Law Office

13 SuperstitionsIn early February, all eyes turn to Pennsylvania to see if Punxsutawney Phil casts a shadow that means six more weeks of winter weather.

Groundhog Day is one of our more enduring – and endearing – superstitions.

Lawyers tend to be superstitious every day of the year. We wear our lucky socks to court. We have our special brand of pen. We have a particular way of organizing our files.

In case you need a few more quirky habits in your law practice, here’s a list of 13 Top Superstitions Around the World to choose from:

  1. Friday the 13th. This is the number one superstition-based fear, according to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in North Carolina, affecting about 17 million people. It arises from numerous myths and religious traditions that consider both the day and the date to be unlucky. In many Spanish speaking countries, it’s Tuesday the 13th that’s considered cursed, supposedly because Constantinople fell on a Tuesday during the Fourth Crusade.
  2. Knocking on wood. This likely comes from ancient myths of good spirits that dwell in trees, or from Christian imagery of the wooden cross.
  3. Crossing your fingers. This one also dates back to early Christianity and the sign of the cross.
  4. Black cats or birds. In England, six ravens must remain atop the Tower of London or the crown will fail. In Scotland, a single magpie is bad luck, but two or more are fine.
  5. Walking under ladders. This one is sensible, given the risk of having the ladder collapse on you or causing someone standing on it to fall. In medieval times, ladders were shunned because they resembled gallows.
  6. Breaking a mirror. This guarantees seven years of bad luck. It stems from the belief that mirrors hold pieces of your soul, in addition to reflecting your image.
  7. The number 666. This is the number of the “beast,” referred to in the Book of Revelation.
  8. Don’t open an umbrella in the house. Anyone who has ever been poked in the eye by an umbrella appreciates the wisdom of this one. There are also Roman legends of people who suffered catastrophe after opening an umbrella indoors.
  9. Trimming your nails at night. In Turkey, India and South Korea, clipping your fingernails or toenails at night invites bad fortune. According to a Japanese myth, it can even cause death.
  10. Beginner’s luck. This myth has some basis in fact. Beginners are thought to be more likely to prevail in some contests because more experienced competitors are too stressed about winning. In other words, ignorance is bliss.
  11. Whistling. It’s not so much whistling that brings bad luck, but doing it in the wrong places. In Russia, whistling indoors invites financial ruin. In Norway, whistling at the sun will bring rain.
  12. Sitting at the corner of a table. Do this in Eastern Europe, and you will never get married.
  13. Find a penny, pick it up, all day long you’ll have good luck. Few people remember the second stanza of this nursery rhyme: “See a pin, let it lay / and your luck will pass away.”

What brings you good or bad luck? Send us a comment.



About the Author

Jay Reeves

Jay Reeves practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. He was Legal Editor at Lawyers Weekly and Risk Manager at Lawyers Mutual. He is the author of The Most Powerful Attorney in the World, a collection of short stories from a law life well-lived, which as the seasons pass becomes less about law and liability and more about loss, love, longing, laughter and life's lasting luminescence.

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