There are those people that will tell you that any tattoo for a lawyer is ill-advised, as it does not fit the nobility of our profession. I am more in the “as long as it is covered at work” camp of tattoo thought vis-à-vis attorneys. But what if, for some inexplicable reason, you decided to get a tattoo that reflects your love of the law? Should you flaunt it?

There are scores of scales of justice and Lady Justice tattoos, but those are far too common for our purposes. We are talking about those law- and lawyer-related tattoos that are embarrassingly on point, be they too sincere or too ridiculous. Tattoos like the ones that follow.

Your Law Review Article Citation


Congratulations! You made the big time by getting a student note published in your school’s law review. You, sir or madam, are a slayer of giants. Why not reward yourself for your accomplishments by tattooing the citation on your…arm? Or maybe that’s a leg. Either way, a terrible idea. In case you are wondering, the law review in question is here.

The Doctor Who/Lawyer Crossover


Are you a nerd? Are you a nerd that is also a lawyer? Do you feel a deep, inexplicable need to combine the two? Then why not sport a tattoo of Doctor Who’s perpetual nemeses, the Daleks, but instead of having one robotically yell their catchphrase, “Exterminate,” make sure it is saying “Litigate” instead. Drive the point home by making the poor Dalek carry a briefcase and wear a tie.

Classic Tattoo Flash Art


I have no idea if anyone has ever actually gotten one of these tattoos, but I would bet there is a young defense attorney out there somewhere who is seriously considering the criminal intent one. Unless it is supposed to be about the television show, which makes it an even worse choice.

The Living Will

bufqH7A (2)

This almost feels like a walking talking law school hypothetical. Is it legally binding if someone signs your skin? Should you have gotten a notary stamp too? Also, “harvest reusable parts” is downright gruesome when it is permanently inked on someone.

A Marbury v. Madison Quote


It’s the case that launches a thousand Constitutional Law Powers classes. You too can memorialize Justice John Marshall’s power grab by etching it into your epidermis. Now you can have the distinct pleasure of explaining original jurisdiction and judicial review to your non-lawyer friends forever and ever.

Judge Learned Hand

Judge-Hand-Tattoo (1)

How much do you love Judge Learned Hand? Enough to get a tattoo of his face on your arm? How about enough to get a tattoo of his face on your arm with him inexplicably wearing a jester’s hat? The most regrettable part of this is that the student didn’t get the tattoo on his or her hand.

Originally published 2015-01-30.


  1. Sam Glover says:

    I kind of love the Dalek, though.

  2. Sflawstudent says:

    Not sure if this qualifies as a bad tattoo for this article but this RBG tattoo is pretty awful. I love RBG but not enough to put her face on my arm.

Leave a Reply