As a lawyer, your car says a lot about you to your clients. When a client sees your ride, they are going to make judgments about your abilities as a lawyer by the type of car you drive.

Is this shallow?

Yes. 100%.

But it’s reality. Sorry.

Here are the cars that scare away clients.

Lamborghini Aventador

Lamborghini Aventador, a performance sports car.

There must be some way to show clients you have won a lot of high-worth cases. How about an Audi A8, a Mercedes S-500, or a Lexus LS? Nope. Every lawyer has one of those. You need a car that shows that you are in a much higher tax bracket. You need a car that is worth more than your clients’ homes. And they need to know it. Because when you hire “The Champ” (presumably the nickname you gave yourself), the client needs to know they will win their case and you will get a very nice contingency fee out of this one.

Your clients hire you because you had a compelling TV or radio ad, and they did not shop around for a lawyer. They will settle whenever you tell them to because they cannot stand listening to you talk about your amazing trial skills and what will happen when you get the defendants on the stand.

Your poor secretary. They earn $35k per year and answer your calls at all hours. And you purposely try to make them cry at least once per month just for fun. They dream of slashing your tires on a daily basis.

You think the car highlights your success. Everyone else sees it as a douchebag warning sign.

The Lamborghini Aventador is the car that says, “I am a lawyer that wins a lot of cases, but everyone hates my personality.”

DeLorean DMC-12

a DeLorean, the car from Back to the Future

Tell Doc Brown to fire up the flux capacitor. Unless your ride can go back in time to convince your client to not hire you as their lawyer, you should not be driving this car.

One exception is for video game and startup-related law. If you practice in either of these areas and drive a car like a DeLorean, then you can add $200 to your billable hour.

1992 Honda Civic

1992 Honda Civic, an older car

Featuring over 180k miles, a passenger window that does not work, and an engine that sounds like you are making Jiffy Pop, the ‘92 Civic got you through high school, college, and law school. While you keep it claiming “sentimental” reasons, it does not inspire confidence.

For some reason, the car smells like a combination of stale McDonald’s and cats. You do not own any cats. As you drive into work each morning, you pray that you never have to give a client a ride anywhere.

The only plus side to this is you will occasionally get a pity referral from a colleague who spots you behind the wheel of this washing machine with wheels.

This car tells your clients, “you can’t afford a better lawyer.”

Lincoln MKX or Chrysler PT Cruiser

Lincoln MKX, a car that looks like a hearseChrysler PT Cruiser, a car that looks like a hearse

These cars are perfect for probate and estate lawyers. They look like hearses, and your clients will totally pick up on that association. Clever marketing on your part.

After you drop off your client at the funeral home, you can help the grieving family with their probate needs.

A Minivan with Those Stupid Family Stickers on the Rear Windshield

stick figure family stickers on a car

Go ahead and brag about your family. Everyone cares.

This is right up there with those oval bumper stickers that just say “26.2”. Yes, you ran a marathon. Want to talk about it?

I once saw a minivan with those stick figure stickers except the father stick figure had been ripped off of the window. Poorly. Never before had I seen such a sad story told in sticker format.

Although that sort of car/sticker combo could serve as a subtle advertisement for a divorce lawyer…

Vespa Scooter

vespa scooter

Your client would rather stay in jail than have you pick them up in this ride.

A Billboard Car

a car with a billboard advertising legal services on it

The peak of tackiness.

If a lawyer like Saul Goodman would have reservations about driving this car, you definitely should reconsider.

I cannot recall ever thinking, “If I get into an accident, I better call the law firm advertised on that car.” In fact, that SUV above probably causes more accidents from bewildered drivers and curious pedestrians trying to read the text. I am not saying that Billboard Car was the proximate cause of that traffic accident. But I am also not saying that it wasn’t.

Smart Fortwo

Smart car

This is basically a golf cart with doors. Your clients already assume you golf, so this is unnecessary.

An Uber

Uber

Pick up a fare on the way to the courthouse? Why not.

Your clients will be wondering how many other “$300 per hour” clients you have when they see you driving hails around town.

Driving for Uber on the side probably hurts your credibility as a plaintiff-side employment lawyer. “Yeah, they classify us as independent contractors, but it’s a good gig so . . . whatever.”

A Horse

Horse

This is no longer a suitable mode of transportation.

Just because you ride a horse in your ads does not mean you have to ride one to work. Get with the times. If your vehicle requires food, poops, and does not have cup-holders or air conditioning, you should reconsider your choices. Interestingly, these reasons are the same as those for why you should not drive a ‘92 Civic.

Originally published 2015-09-03.

This post includes images from Shutterstock.

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12 Comments

  1. I can personally attest to the fact that the Nissan 350z is the best lawyer ride. Gets to Court fast and has a storage compartment for case files.

  2. jeremy secker says:

    White Beemer.

  3. Meghan says:

    1984 Mercedes Benz 300D

    • Joe Fay says:

      This is a classic car. You could totally pull this off. Nothing says slightly stuffy lawyer like a car that’s older than most of your clients. Also, in a lot of states, a car this old would be eligible for antique plates.

  4. Kenny says:

    The Lamborghini Aventador is a a great car your just some loser who can’t afford it. You probably do everything pro bono. Get a life.

  5. Paul Spitz says:

    If you represent drug dealers on coke charges, the DeLorean is perfect. You can even claim that you got it as payment for defending John DeLorean.

  6. James says:

    Why is there a picture of a Mustang on the front page? Clearly you are saying that’s the preferred vehicle.

  7. jdo says:

    I am a Construction and Real Estate Development lawyer and drive a Jeep – I keep my hardhat, steel toe boots & Carhart jacket in the back seat. It gets me to the front door of any job-site, no matter how much mud or dirt I have to drive through. It also gives me a little “street cred” with contractor clients who see that I don’t mind getting a little dirty.

  8. Joe Bahgat says:

    So what is “the perfect” lawyer ride? Is it practice area specific? And what about for lawyers (like me) who are most likely to encounter clients when driving a rental, because we practice in multiple jurisdictions, and have to travel long distances to get to the courthouse, or deposition? Personally, I aim to always be driving something that combines fun, performance, and practicality, under the given conditions—e.g. when in Cali, I always look to get a a convertible (so long as it’s not a Sebring), anywhere mountainous or snowy calls for Chevy Tahoe, or similar SUV (also good when having to transport several clients), and if somewhere cold and/or rainy, I try to get a Cadillac or Maxima. My only hard and fast rule is no Hyundai, Kia, Suzuki, or similar redheaded stepchild-eque brand

  9. Cathleen Rocco says:

    Patent prosecution lawyers drive Hondas: “I am a nerd who is not unconcerned with appearances, besides which, function over form (Hondas are reliable, last forever, and great on gas). We leave flash for entertainment lawyers.

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