I used a version of this expression in the commentary this week describing trial attorneys anticipating a flood of income from new nuisance lawsuits in Colorado instigated by a $375 million settlement against the operators of the Rocky Flats nuclear weapon plant. A three judge panel ruled 2 to 1 in favor of approving a settlement in a case where a previous ruling had found against the plaintiffs because there was perceived damage and not actual damage. The meaning of the expression is of course based on the literal meaning of licking your chops when thinking of something good to eat. That has evolved to “…be eager to do something you think will be satisfying or pleasant. That develops a mental image for me of a crowd of lawyers literally licking their chops.