Seven Signs of a D-Bag Lawyer

Michael Estrin Columns, Lawyer 29 Comments

For reasons that continue to baffle us, law schools don’t teach a course on what you really need to know—how to spot a douchebag. While d-bags usually reveal themselves pretty quickly upon meeting them, it’s helpful to be able to identify one from a distance (so that you can walk the other way). But to do that, you need to be familiar with prototypical douchebag accessories.  Spot more than three of the following, and there’s a pretty good chance the owner is, yup, a douche.

1.  The Ride: BMW 3 Series

The 3 Series owner is a douchebag menace in legal circles. The car says, “I want to roll like a legit douchebag, but I’m too much of a risk-averse weenie to step up to a 5 series or, God forbid, a 7.” The only way to up the ante?  A convertible 3 Series.  Drop the top, and what’s inside?  Ooh look, it’s a douchebag.


2.  The Ticker: Rolex

What time is it? Time to stop showing me your Rolex! I get it.  You make a 175K and dropped 3 grand on a fancy watch.  Nobody cares.  Well, they did for a second—in the ‘80s.


3.  The Apparel: Monogrammed Anything

Does your mom still write your name in your underwear? Of course not. So why are you putting your initials on your shirt, briefcase or anything else? Newsflash: We know it’s your shirt—you’re wearing it. 


4.  The Gadget: iPhone

Lawyers don’t need iPhones because a BlackBerry comes with the job. But it’s not the redundancy brought about by owning two phones that makes these lawyers douchebags, it’s their desperate attempt to look cool. Lawyers aren’t cool. Period. And there’s nothing worse than a desperate douchebag lawyer who thinks a phone is a passport to cool. Douchebags with iPhones are the same breed as those who think that simply obtaining a JD entitles them to money, power and great sex. It doesn’t, and neither does the iPhone. 


5.  The Furnishings: Framed Diplomas

It should go without saying that every lawyer at the firm went to both college and law school. But true lawyer douchebags don’t let anything go without saying it. Which is why so many douchebags insist on decorating their office walls with paper that could just as easily be summed up in a single word—obvious. And who are you trying to impress? Your secretary? Your boss? We all know associates never meet clients in their offices.


6.  The Instrument: Mont Blanc Pen

Anyone who would spend more than a couple of bucks on a pen is a loser—but a few hundred for a Mont Blanc makes you a premium douchebag. It’s a pen. It writes just like a Uniball, which means there’s no real point to it other than to impress.  And that means Mont Blanc owners are forever looking for ways to bring their PEN up in conversation.  As Paris would say, “That’s hot.”


7.  The Look: Sunglasses and Tuxedos

Wearing shades with a suit is fine for a daytime funeral, but since you’d never wear a tux to a cemetery, combining sunglasses with formal wear is always a bad idea. In fact, it’s so bad most douchebags know better than to try and pull off that Tom Ford look, which means that rocking Ray-Bans with a black tie is reserved for hardcore douchebags. You’ll likely find these unfortunate specimens at DKE reunions or destination weddings in Anguilla for a bro who’s marrying some chick he met during his senior-year Spring break trip to Cancun.


Check out other lists, tallies and scores to settle in Bitter by Numbers.

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  • BL1Y

    Who wants to guess which of these I have?

  • Anonymous

    All of them.

  • Just Wondering

    There seems to be a lot of hate in this article. Are there some feelings of insecurity? Some haterade flowing through the author’s veins? I’m not sure, but I think maybe so.

  • Master of Obvious

    The site is called Bitter Lawyer.  Remember?

  • law review d00sh

    As Carlin once said, “Everyone who drives faster than you is a maniac, and everyone who drives slower than you is an idiot.” In legal internet world, anyone of higher status is a “douchebag,” and everyone of lower status is “TTT.” This works at all levels:  If you work at White & Case, then people at Cravath are douchebags and the folks at Jones Day are TTT.  At Cooley, the kids who go to a 50-lawyer firm in Grand Rapids are douchebags and the people who fail the bar twice are TTT.  I can afford an iPhone, therefore, I’m a douchebag; you can’t, so you’re TTT.

    “I’m so glad I’m a Beta. Alpha children wear grey. They work much harder than we do, because they’re so frightfully clever. I’m really awfully glad I’m a Beta, because I don’t work so hard. And then we are much better than the Gammas and Deltas. Gammas are stupid.”

  • Anonymous

    law review doosh is on the money.  lawyers are a bunch of smart people calling each other stupid all the time.

  • Al Dickman

    The saddest thing is that I know plenty of douchebags who don’t have ANY of these seven items.  There should be a caveat that this is a non-exclusive list of douchebag accesssories and that the failure to have any of them does NOT mean you are not douchebag material.

  • Sampson

    The BMW 3 series douchebag characteristic should be extended to all compact “sport” sedans in the $40k range, which would include the Lexus IS, Infiniti G, Mercedes C-class, and the like.
    Also related to cars – anyone that has a custom license plate that publicizes the fact that the driver is a lawyer = also douchebag. This means any variation on the words law, esq, atty, etc. (Anyone that does this with other so-called “professions” are an equal extent douchebags, such as ???-DR, ???-CPA)

  • SDL20

    The real douche is the one who has the fugazi items

  • Ex-BigLaw

    Hey, not all of us get BBs issued to us anymore… and some of us refused to carry them even when we WERE at firms.

  • Ex-BigLaw

    (Yes, I love my iPhone…)

  • Alex Hump

    Dickman is right.  I can’t tell you the number of a-wipes that don’t have any of these toys.  They are still the biggest a-wipes in town.

  • BL1Y

    I agree with Dickman and Alex.  I only got my BB Storm only three weeks ago.  I was given a Mont Blanc (I totally managed mention it!) as a graduation present in May.  I don’t own any of the other items, but I’ve been a douchebag for years.

  • t-funk

    2 out of 7… I’m borderline douche.

  • 2L Advocate

    I think most everyone frames and mounts their diplomas.  I mean, really.

  • hotness

    Sampson – I dont really agree those are compact sport (despite the makers’ marketing).  Those are more “entry-level luxury”.  And I would venture to say that the actual “sport” versions of those vehicles, is far superior to most cars on the road.  AMG, M-series, the new IS-F – all are pretty bad ass cars and none display the douche badge. 
    Also, my firm doesn’t give me a phone.  I have an iphone.  Am i still a douche if its my only phone?

  • Hannah Palindrome

    I never picked up my diploma, and my school never mailed it to me.

    Do I care? No. The only lawyers who care are still in their early 20’s. My goal was to get out, pass the Bar, and spend my days watching episodes on BitterLawyer.

  • Anonymous

    Hannah (Palindrome).  You can still get your diploma, but given your name, you don’t have to mount it.  Just hang it in a bright light in the middle of the room; you’ll be able to read it from the front or the back.  Which leads me to the question–are you as versatile sexually?  Are you equally facile / nubile from the front or the back?  Do you go both ways, too?

  • BL1Y

    Anon: You’ve completely misinterpreted what it means for a girl to be a palindrome.  It doesn’t mean that she goes both ways, but rather she’s the same whichever end you start from.  It’s kinda gross.

  • anon



    This is pretty funny, even though I am guilty of a couple of these…

  • Palindrome Query

    BL1Y–you mean she shits where she eats and visa versa?  Or she fucks where she shits and visa versa?  Maybe I’m thick, but need further explanation.

  • Anonymous

    The DBag Degree is from DePaul University! haha!

  • Anonymous

    I’m glad I have a TAG Heuer and not a Rolex. It’s nice enough to be respectable, but not so nice as to stand out and make me look like a douche.

  • I don’t care 3L

    Bowtie should be under the “Attire” section too.

  • Anonymous

    I would include, along with other “entry-level luxury” vehicles in the Ride category, “luxury SUVs”–BMW, Lexus, Mercedes, Porsche, etc. Sure sign of douchery.

  • Jane

    The one I’m dealing with looks like he’s wearing a toupee (and a crooked one at that…little pun!).  I’m not sure if that fits in the Looks or the Apparel category …all I know is this guy’s interpretation of the law is “every which way but lose”.  If it fits him, he’ll make the law fit!

  • Old Money

    Hmmmm…Omega’s are worn by us who have outgrown the Rolex. Drive a Toyota, and carry a Pelikan pen. All originals…not copies

  • Dubio

    Got my tassel on my office door’s doorknob = already douchebaggy?