Are you a Lincoln lawyer? An Audi advocate? A Porsche practitioner? A Benz barrister?
…Or are you maybe more of a Kia counselor?
If you’re wondering what kind of car an attorney should drive, you aren’t alone, even if many lawyers hate to admit they would worry about something so superficial.
The concern isn’t unreasonable, though. Your ride is part of your life and part of your job. It might even have an impact on the jobs you’re offered or the clients you land.
Cars are expensive, though, so it’s not as if every lawyer can justify a Jaguar on business grounds alone. And besides, depending on your area of practice and the nature of your practice, that might not even be the best approach.
Today, we are exploring the factors you might consider when buying a new car as an attorney. And once we’ve set up a rubric, we will highlight seven of this year’s must-have cars for lawyers, with entries at each price point along the spending spectrum.
Mind you, you’re capable of car shopping on your own. You certainly don’t need a marketing firm to find a ride for you. But in our research, we’ve found that this is a topic a lot of lawyers are searching for online, so maybe there’s more to the whole lawyer-specific auto inquiry than meets the eye. Let’s take a look.
Factor #1: Interview Impressions (Because Law Firms Have Windows)
When you pull up for that first interview with a fancy firm (or even a not-so-fancy firm), you want every aspect of your appearance to impress: the suit, the hair, the handshake, the smile… and yes, the car.
Because here’s the thing: law firm interviews happen in offices, and those offices almost always have windows. In many cases, those windows look out at parking lots. And if your door nearly falls off when you open it and lurch outside, well, you might look like you’re worth less than six figures.
There’s a Catch-22, though. You need a job before you can buy a nice car, and it’s never a good idea to count one’s chickens before they’re deposited in your checking account (or however that expression goes).
So if you’re searching for a new car and a new job at the same time, choose something that looks sharp but won’t break the budget. You’ll send the right message to the hiring powers that be.
Factor #2: Client Assumptions (Because Everyone’s a Critic)
A few years ago, a corporate attorney wrote a story for LinkedIn about the reason he doesn’t drive the “beat up truck with rust holes” that used to get him to his law firm every day (the same truck he once used to pick up a client for court).
He’d been out to eat when he overheard two women saying they needed to find a lawyer to handle their car crash case.
“‘You should hire attorney so and so,’ said the lady as she fished through her oversize bag for coupons. ‘He drives a Jaguar.’”
Clients look out of windows too, you see. And whether their case is worth $10 or $10 million, clients always want to hire the best lawyer their money can buy (or the best lawyer they can get on contingency, as the case might be).
So while there’s absolutely no shame in being a Kia counselor, you might make a better impression on prospective clients as the Lincoln lawyer (though you’ll probably want a slightly newer model than the one Matthew McConaughey drove in his 2011 thriller).
The wealthier and more sophisticated your clientele, the more this matters.
Factor #3: Practicing What You Preach
In a caveat to our previous point, if you practice in personal injury, it’s important to drive a car you’d recommend to your clients.
After all, the last thing you want is for your client to read your blog article about the importance of consumer safety ratings… and then park beside your 2005 Dodge Neon sedan (a discontinued model considered one of the most dangerous cars ever made).
To that same point, what you drive probably doesn’t matter as much as the way you drive. It’s hard to effectively advocate for clients who lost a loved one in a texting while driving case if they catch you on your phone ten minutes before the consultation.
Factor #4: The Usual Suspects (Cost, Gas Mileage, etc.)
The fourth factor might be the most important because it comes right down to your bottom line. How much is the thing actually going to cost you?
There’s a lot to consider when calculating your car costs:
- Do you drive as part of your job? (For instance, some attorneys travel throughout the state to meet with personal injury clients or to courthouses in different counties.) If so, gas mileage and warranties become especially important considerations.
- The cost of repairs. (Foreign-made luxury cars tend to require expensive maintenance.)• The cost of auto insurance in your state. (The higher your income as an attorney, the more liability coverage you might need.)• Will this be your only vehicle, or will you also need a personal and/or family car within the next few years?• If you’ll be spending a lot of time in your car for work, interior features might be of higher value to you than external flourishes.
Remember: a penny saved is a penny earned. The dollars you shave off your monthly car expense are dollars you can think of as additional income.
7 Awesome Cars for Attorneys (at 7 Different Price Points)
- Infiniti Q7: Infiniti recently rebranded nearly its entirely luxury fleet, so keeping track can be confusing. This is the Automobile Formerly Known as Infiniti M37, and it’s sleek as ever. In fact, this car’s Bond-like aesthetic is perhaps its true calling card, with sleek curves and smooth colors that look much more expensive than they are. The interior features are nothing to balk at either, with a slew of luxury upgrade features available. And hey, Infiniti itself says, “Nothing’s changed but the name,” so if you’re still partial to the old M37 moniker, consider a used model. You can score one for under $25,000.
- BMW 2 Series Coupe: Is it literally impossible to get more than 2 slots into an attorney car countdown without mentioning a BMW? Apparently so. The BMW 2 Series Coop is consistently ranked as one of the best luxury vehicles on the market. As Beamers go, we like it because it’s the manufacturer’s most affordably priced sedan (MSRPs start at $33,150), and yet that hasn’t hurt it one bit in the ratings-and-reviews department. In fact, to that end, it outperforms some of BMW’s higher-priced models. Even the safety rating is great.
- Jeep Cherokee: The Jeep brand has had its fair share of PR mishaps, so public opinion is divided, but the Jeep Cherokee is worth a look nevertheless. It’s classy, for starters, and similar in body to its luxury cousin (the Grand Cherokee). It’s also surprisingly attractive in its gas mileage (30 mpg highway). Meanwhile, parent company Chrysler has one of the best-received Nav/Stereo display systems out there, and it’s included. With MSRPs beginning just over $23k, the Cherokee is a constant surprise to people who just naturally assume that all Jeeps are high-priced gas guzzlers.
- Acura ILX: Maybe it’s a stereotype, but “successful lawyer” and “sport sedan” just seem to go hand in hand, don’t they? We like the ILX because it’s a low-priced luxury car that looks like a high-priced luxury car, with aggressive styling and a handsome shine. Did we mention the 8-speed dual-clutch transmission with more than 200 horsepower? It’s a “Type-A” automobile in more ways than one.
- Audi A3: Impressive brand name? Check. Panoramic sunroof? Check. Optional sunroof? Check. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility? Check. Backup camera? Check. …Basically, the answer here is “check,” especially if you’re looking for an easy answer to the “what should a lawyer drive?” question. You’ll impress everyone who sees it, inside or out.
- Hyundai Sonata: With classic color tones, sharp hood features, and retro accents in its striking grill, the Sonata makes the right visual statement for a lawyer. It’s also comfortable inside, has fairly advanced safety features for its price bracket, and gets up to 37 miles per gallon! And you can probably even haggle a new one to under $20k. No wonder U.S. News and World Report ranks it as #3 on their midsize cars list. (The Toyota Camry takes the top two spots, and that’s not a bad choice either.)
- Koenigsegg Agera: Boasting over 900 horsepower, the Agera is one of the fastest cars in the world. It makes every heard turn… with an actual flame roaring out of its rear, how could it not? The fire isn’t as alarming as the price tag, though. $2.1 million! Did we say “must-have?” Maybe we meant “must be dreaming.” Still, for the top 1% of attorneys out there, it’s hard to argue that this car wouldn’t impress. For everyone else, well, at least you don’t have to worry about pronouncing it!
Put Some Real Horsepower Behind Your Law Firm Marketing. Call Black Fin.
Sure, cars are important, but many more clients will see your website than will ever see your Kia. So if there’s anything you ought to invest in, it’s your web presence.
At Black Fin, we use website design, SEO marketing, PPC advertising, and other digital strategies to make law firms grow. Our clients get bigger, better cases because of the work we do.
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