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Army of Lawyers

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"You think I'm bad, wait 'til you meet my lawyers!"
Koga Shuko, Double Dragon (1994)

Exactly What It Says on the Tin. These are mooks in suits, used for intimidation. When a character in a story feels he's been wronged (or feels he can get away with breaking the law), he'll often threaten to call upon his army of lawyers. Especially when said character is rich. (Sometimes, the army is called "my legal team", same diff. In other words, lawyer overkill.)

Sometimes that Army can actually be seen in a show, and when they are, they are invariably marching in ranks behind the character, in step and double-file (and often with an added parodic sound effect of marching jackboots). Occasionally it will be a team of Yes Men or Middle-Management Mooks rather than lawyers, but with the same effect: a martial show of force in a corporate or legal setting. Sometimes the Army will be acting on behalf of an unseen (usually evil) client, all members of the Army working toward one ominous goal.

Compare Evil Lawyer Joke, You Wanna Get Sued?. No direct relation to the possibility that The Army will press charges on someone and use the best lawyers they have, even though that possibility could involve an Army of Lawyers and is very scary once you give it a few seconds' thought.


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  • In Big Eyes, Walter brings lawyers from the Gannett Company to the trial to defend him. This turns out to be a subversion, since the lawyers were only there to point out that Gannett were immune from defamation prosecution since they were reporting on a person's claims in relation to a significant public event, and hence were protected by the First Amendment. They leave as soon as the judge dismisses the case against them, leaving Walter to defend himself for actually making the defamatory allegation.
  • In National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, Clark's boss is introduced with a team of yes-men marching lockstep behind him (with foley marching sound effects). The scene ends with a gag where Clark wishes Merry Christmas to each of them in turn, finishing with a "Happy Channukah".
  • In John Grisham's The Rainmaker, Na´ve Newcomer attorney Rudy Baylor has an Oh, Crap! moment when he meets the opposing legal team.
    Rudy: I do believe that centuries of cumulative legal experience are seated at this table, all in opposition to me.
  • Justified in Reversal of Fortune, when Alan Dershowitz recruited several attorneys, and several law students, to help him overturn Claus Von Bulow's conviction for trying to kill his wife, because Dershowitz knows he can't handle the appeal alone.
  • For once, actually used on the good side in Denial. Defendant, real historian Deborah Lipstadt, winds up with a dozen people working on her case, thanks to its historic importance, while plaintiff, Holocaust denier David Irving, is alone on his side of the room, representing himself. Irving is somewhat Genre Savvy about this trope, however, as he's compared himself to David vs Goliath a few times, and is aware of how it will look to the reporters.

  • Both the plaintiff and the big tobacco company have one of these in John Grisham's The Runaway Jury.
  • Discworld:
    • There's an army of lawyers surrounding the Lavish family in Making Money, although they're mostly there to threaten other Lavishes. They're subjected to a very efficient Conservation of Ninjutsu by Mr. Slant, who as the narration points out, didn't just write the book, but wrote half the books in the city on the subject of law (he's a zombie, so he's been around for several lifetimes). The moment he unleashes his Death Glare, the Lavishes' collective legal team sits down.
    • They may not be literal lawyers, but Lord Vetinari occasionally gets a similar visual effect by having a couple of his "dark clerks" act as Living Props when he needs to have a few stern words with someone.
    • The Elf Queen summons an army of lawyers in The Wee Free Men; the one thing the Nac Mac Feegle are scared of. Then it turns out they have a defence counsel in the form of Chekhov's minor comic-relief character...
  • It's mentioned many times in The Dresden Files that Gentleman Johnny Marcone has an army of lawyers to protect him from any kind of legal charges. Considering that they manage to get charges against him from the FBI thrown out of court, they must be very good indeed... though it's also none too subtly implied that Marcone supplements their efforts with the judicious application of large bribes and large campaign donations.
  • The Supernaturalist features corporate combat lawyers known as Paralegals, causing a character to remark "I liked it better when they fought with briefcases".
  • Discussed Trope and averted in The Brass Verdict. Walter Hartright tells Mickey Haller that he wants Haller to be his only lawyer for the murder trial, because the more lawyers you have, the more guilty you look. Haller reflects and admits that Hartright is correct.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Maria Hill used the trope name to explain her decision to join Stark Industries at the end of Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
    Maria Hill: Right now half the worlds' governments want to toss me into a deep dark hole. Fortunately they're no match for Tony Stark's army of lawyers.
  • The law firm of Wolfram & Hart from Angel. On a few occasions, Angel couldn't finger someone for murder because, as a vampire with no surname or social security card, he couldn't testify to it in a court of law.
    • The firm made itself a nuisance in a variety of other ways, such as punching holes in the deed to Angel's headquarters, or getting a city order to fumigate the place. (The exterminators didn't spray for bugs, they planted them.)
  • This was, of course, Veronica Cale's parting shot in the failed Wonder Woman TV pilot.
    "You're about to meet your match, Wonder Woman: The American criminal justice system!"
    • Though justified in her case this time since Wonder Woman committed far more crimes then the bad guy did.
  • One episode of The Defenders has one episode's bad guys use their army of lawyers as a blatant show of force. There are so many of them that when they sit down at their ridiculously long table they need two row of chairs.
  • In Halt and Catch Fire, IBM sends a large group of its legal counsel to Cardiff Electric after former employee Joe MacMillan told them that he and Gordon Clark had reverse engineered the BIOS for the IBM PC. Most of the lawyers present are there simply to intimidate Cardiff, while only the executives and senior lawyers actually spoke to the compromised Cardiff employees.
  • Mentioned on The West Wing when a congressman asks Josh to help him secure more money for a government lawsuit against tobacco companies. When Josh protests that the case has already consumed $30 million in federal money, the congressman lets him know that just one of the five tobacco companies involved has 342 lawyers on the case. (They're also outspending the government 10-to-1.)
  • Defied on an episode of Bull. A rich man is seriously thinking of bringing one of these along to help on his son's court appointment in a Papa Wolf moment, but Dr. Bull tells him that this show of legal force would instead piss off the jury and probably make them declare the kid guilty just to get back at the rich people. The man chooses a Simple Country Lawyer instead.
  • Daredevil: One flashback in "Nelson v. Murdock" depicts when Matt and Foggy were interning at Landman & Zack. We see them sitting on the legal team, who take up the length of a boardroom table, representing Roxxon, who are bringing damages against a whistleblower who violated his confidentiality agreement to report substandard working conditions to his doctor that caused him to contract cancer. Matt can tell from his heightened senses that the man is telling the truth, and decides that he doesn't want to be protecting a corporation from someone who really needs help, and convinces Foggy to go with him and start Nelson & Murdock.
  • Iron Fist (2017): In the arbitration for Danny Rand to reclaim his identity and his ownership shares in Rand Enterprises, one side of the boardroom table is taken up by Ward and Joy Meachum plus their in-house counsel, while the other side is just Danny, repped by Jeri Hogarth.
  • Better Call Saul:
    • In "Something Stupid", when Huell is arrested for assaulting a plainclothes cop (he hit the guy with a bag of sandwiches, not realizing he was a police officer), the prosecutor's office wants to throw the book at him per the controversial three-strikes laws of New Mexico. As a favor to Jimmy, Kim orchestrates a massive scam to strong-arm the DA into accepting a lenient plea offer. Her first step is to get the ADA riled up, which she does by showing up at the courthouse accompanied by three associate attorneys from Schweikart & Cokely. Kim pitches Ericsen an offer of several months probation for Huell. Ericsen refuses. Which prompts the associates to all file discovery motions to collect evidence backing Huell's story, and Kim to then add that she's looking into civil rights litigation on Huell's behalf. Ericsen dismisses the associates, and privately chides Kim, warning her that these "shock-and-awe" tactics won't sway her. This puts Ericsen and Kim at odds, as Kim waits for the table to be set for the next stage (a manufactured groundswell of public support, which is Jimmy's part in the scam).
    • In season 5, Kim's disillusionment with her Mesa Verde work for Schweikart & Cokely hits a breaking point when Mesa Verde decides to use all of their attorneys to evict Everett Acker from his home which is in the way of a call center they plan to build in Tucumcari.
  • Monk: In his debut, Dale "The Whale" Beiderbeck smugly warns the cops investigating him that the first 20 numbers on his speed dial are all lawyers.
  • Referenced in at least one episode of Murder, She Wrote, when, being confronted, the episode's villain challenges Fletcher over the "battalion of lawyers" she can expect. Fletcher's answer is having — accurately — noticed a subtle thing the killer did at one point that inspired the victim to take a pill. The tone of the scene is that and other details like it leave the killer defeated.
  • Rutherford Falls: Double Subverted. After Terry sends a lawsuit his way, Nathan claims to Terry that he has the backing of Rutherford Inc., who will surely send a team of lawyers his way to back him up. They, a wimp who got his junior associate position through nepotism, and whom Terry easily sends a way with his tail between his legs. Following that, Rutherford Inc. then sends a legitimate team of lawyers led by PR head Kaitlyn herself; they even show up in a helicopter and Power Walk to the casino.
  • CSI: Miami: One episode has an actor as a suspect. Horatio calls him in for questioning, but his entourage of lawyers and other representatives show up in his stead. After the man's agent introduces the whole lot, Horatio remarks to her that "someone is missing." Cut to the guy sitting across from H; he was outside waiting in the car the whole time.

  • Parodied in one strip from The Far Side, where an explorer at the edge of an island jungle is confronted with a group of men in suits with briefcases.
    caption: Wellington held out some beads and other trinkets, but the islanders had sent their fiercest lawyers — some of whom were chanting, "Sue him! Sue him!"
  • There's a KAL cartoon about the contested 2000 Bush-Gore election in Florida. It's in the general format of "12 Days of Christmas" and number six is "six legions of lawyers".

  • In the Christmas Episode of John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme, John has just finished the opening line of 'Twas the Night Before Ramadan when he is interrupted by the sound of a door opening and several voices shouting "Stop!"
    Simon Kane: We are literally all the lawyers at the BBC.

    Video Games 
  • In Civilization: Call to Power and its sequel, once you reach the Modern Era, you can train Lawyers and Corporate Branches to wage economic warfare on your enemies. Ordinary army-units are mostly helpless against them, too - only Lawyers can fight Lawyers. And they're really, really effective. This means that unless it ends before you develop that far, a multiplayer match will inevitably devolve into an earth-shattering confrontation between two competing armies of briefcase-wielding, suit-wearing lawyers (and corporate branches).
  • Red Alert 3: Paradox: Employed by the Cyberpunkish Mediterranean Syndicate, and equipped with suitcases that let them telekinetically hold you in place.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Daughter for Dessert, the prosecutors in the protagonist's trial were probably bribed by Cecilia (according to him) into all prosecuting him at once.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation  
  • The Simpsons
    • C. Montgomery Burns has a team of lawyers but usually only the Blue Haired Lawyer talks.
    • The episode "The Joy of Sect" had the Movementarians call out their lawyers (in the style of some firemen) when they've realised that Marge managed to break her family out. The aforementioned blue-haired lawyer is one of them and again the only one that talks.
  • Eek! The Cat: A pair of one shot villainous sisters are revealed to have an army of lawyers, here presented as ravenous, snarling beasts, they plan to unleash on the hero Eek and his girlfriend Annabelle. Unfortunately even an army of lawyers is no match for Sharky the Sharkdog.

    Real Life 
  • IBM's lawyers have been compared to the Nazgûl (of LoTR fame).
  • A radio commercial prior to the 2010 November elections in California warned voters that Proposition 25 was being fought by politicians and their "briefcase army" (with appropriate marching sound effects in the background).
  • On this website called "Classic Adventure Gaming," the writer asks that an "unidentified man", who "may or may not be a famous filmmaker", not sue him with his army of lawyers for publishing a photo of him.
  • "Prince sends Army Of Lawyers to take on Pirate Bay"
  • "Bowen: Army Of Lawyers at the ready if Prop 14 passes"
  • In 2012 President Obama said he had recruited "an army of lawyers" to provide legal help for voters and to monitor the polls.
  • Humorous example: A famous entry in the Doo Dah parade in Pasadena, California was the Synchronized Briefcase Drill Team, with 16 men & women in three-piece suits performing precision marching routines with attaché cases. (See page photo.)
  • One of the more common and less questionable responses of Scientology to any media/public criticisms of them, as evidenced by the existence of the Church of Happyology trope. Their objective is not to win, but to make the lawsuits so expensive that no one would want to challenge them; their approach to that is to sue someone over and over with different lawyers until the other side gives up or goes bankrupt, whichever comes first.
  • Similarly, this was the notorious Westboro Baptist Church's biggest alibi in their heyday. Nearly every member (including their now-deceased patriarch Fred Phelps) is/was a practicing lawyer who knew exactly which of their rights they were within and which laws they technically weren't breaking when staging flagrantly bigoted and homophobic demonstrations. It also meant that they would know exactly which laws you were in violation of if you were to react violently to their hate speech/bullying and could sue you and win if they wanted.
  • Actual lawyers find this phenomenon very amusing, especially when you can be relatively sure that 3 of the 6 lawyers on one side of the bar are totally superfluous. They're only there to impress their own clients (and soak some more cash) and intimidate the other side's clients. Unfortunately, the "intimidation" part usually succeeds if the other side consists of one person with one attorney.
  • Truth in Television, Justified: The defense team during the OJ Simpson murder case is an example of the various reasons why teamwork is good ("Hey, is anyone here a forensics expert? We better get one of those") and the hilarity that ensues when you try to get multiple egos and a possible alcoholic to work together. It's not uncommon for trial lawyers to specialize and/or be more gifted in one area than another, so in a high-profile trial in which money isn't a total constraint, it's not uncommon to see this trope. In any case in which multiple parties are filing against a defendant for the same reason, it will be (the attorneys representing) Plaintiff 1, Plaintiff 2, Plaintiff 3, and Plaintiff 4 vs. X, though only one or two attorneys actually make arguments to the court.
  • Truth in Television for civil litigation. If the defendant is the one with money, they will amass a small army for depositions for the purpose of scaring the defendant and over-burdening the plaintiff's counsel. Discrimination cases are especially contentious, as the institution will want to settle without admitting fault and the plaintiff wants recognition of harm, so sending "ten guys in black suits" to the first deposition is a great way to coerce a settlement.
  • Truth in Television in a more literal way: the US Army has the Judge Advocate General's department, its own legal corps; up until reorganisation in the 1990's, the British Army had its own Royal Army Legal Department (now subsumed into the Royal Logistic Corps). In both cases - if not an army of lawyers in uniform, then certainly at least a battalion.
  • Truth in Television for the infamous "Hot Coffee" lawsuit. A 79-year-old woman named Stella Liebeck was sitting in her grandson's car with a cup of coffee from McDonald's placed between her legs as there was no cupholder. The coffee spilled, and because it was served at near boiling (which was standard practice at the time for McDonald's) and got absorbed into Ms. Liebeck's sweatpants, left her with horrific third-degree burns on her legs and genitals. (She was not the first person this had happened to, either, and the surgeon who treated her said it was one of the worst cases he'd ever seen.) She didn't even want to go to court: she attempted to settle out of court to pay for her medical expenses, but McDonald's only gave her a few hundred dollars (not nearly enough to cover those medical bills). She even admitted that she could have been more careful (and when the case finally did go to court, the jury found her to be 20% liable). The jury ruled in her favor, and McDonald's was to pay her one day's worth of total coffee sales. (Ultimately, she settled with them for less than that.) They also stopped serving their coffee at such high temperatures and cupholders became standard in most US-made cars. But McDonald's ultimately came out of this the winners: even though they paid Ms. Liebeck a large sum of money for her trouble, they used their corporate lawyers and spin-doctors to depict her to the general public as an idiot who didn't understand that coffee is hot, or someone faking injuries to file a Frivolous Lawsuit.
    • It is worth noting that Ms. Liebeck's case was successful because the case happened in New Mexico. New Mexico, like most states, uses the "comparative negligence" standard of self-fault, by which a plaintiff's damages are reduced by whatever amount the jury finds them at fault for (in this case 20%). Four states (Alabama, Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia) and the District of Columbia still use the old "contributory negligence" rule. In those jurisdictions, a plaintiff who is at fault in any way (even .01% at fault) won't get a cent in damages. Had Ms. Liebeck's injuries occurred in one of those states, she would have been out of luck.
  • In America at least, two great armies of lawyers gather every two or four years right around election season. Election laws in many states allow votes to be disputed by outside parties for various reasons (such as residency, citizenship, proper registration, etc.) and for those disputes to be argued against by others. Other issues, like voting station hours and access, and custody and availability of voting machines and ballots also come into play. So lawyers on both sides will file suits at the city, county, district, and state levels all across the country for some perceived advantage or to eliminate some "unfairness" imposed by the other side that plays out in a glorious firestorm of litigation on election night.
  • Truth in Television: Real-life Evil Debt Collector Portfolio Recovery Associates have been known to call upon their Army of Custodians of Records note  in helping to sue debtors as a way of intimidating/forcing them into paying off debts, some of which is old debt that likely has expired.

Alternative Title(s): Marching Mooks In Suits