Acceptable footwear includes leather shoes with thin to medium soles, loafers, pumps or an updated style with low or stacked heels, open toes or sandals. So the lawyers adapted (which is quite unusual for us). Suddenly, Biglaw began releasing new dress codes focused primarily on golf shirts, blue blazers, and persimmons. It was really ridiculous. Lawyers who feared looking like lawyers now looked like lawyers in blue blazers. She said, “Whether you like it or not, the way you present yourself affects how you are perceived by others, so choose to dress impeccably.” Law firms, even white shoe firms, changed the dress code to reflect the times. While many companies now allow their employees to wear jeans to work, law firms have switched to a casual business policy to make employees feel comfortable and integrate with clients. In order to dress properly, the casual lawyer must follow certain rules. As dress becomes more casual, a written dress code is important for any law firm. How casual is it too casual? Of course, it depends on the expected events of the day, but assuming your lawyers don`t go to court or hold testimony or settlement conferences at the office, what is expected of them when they are working on their cases? Unacceptable clothing for women includes tight, transparent and low-cut clothing of any style; sweatshirts; Shirts; denim of any type and color; spaghetti straps; open back; Diaphragm; Tank tops; halter peaks; stretch pants; stirrup pants; jogging or warm-up suits; casual shorts; dress shorts; Miniskirt; and Capri pants that end close to the knee. Recently, Staci has been writing about dress codes for some of the big companies. In particular, Quinn Emanuel made a splash by publishing a minimalist dress code that only required shoes “because our insurance company requires them!” (Yes, that`s their exclamation mark.) This was in stark contrast to other Biglaw dress codes, such as the paternalistic Jones Day code.
(For my part, I applaud Quinn Emanuel`s approach.) Jay runs Prefix, LLC, a law firm that helps lawyers learn how to evaluate legal services. Jay Shepherd also ran Shepherd Law Group, a Boston-based employment law management boutique, for 13 years. He writes The Client Revolution, winner of the ABA Blawg 100 Award, which focuses on reinventing the legal industry, and Gruntled Employees, a workplace blog. Follow Jay on Twitter at @jayshep or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Dechert is the latest major law firm to relax its dress code to make lawyers more comfortable — and more like their clients. The email address cannot be subscribed. Please try again. Dress code: Dress is slightly less formal at this downtown business, where partners can wear pantsuits to court and “Jackie Kennedyesque” sleeveless sleeves to client meetings. Dresses are popular, one partner told us, because they are simple. “I can throw a dress over my head, put on a pair of boots and I`m ready.” Costume brands range from the classics Chanel and Brooks Brothers to Gucci, Dior and Calvin Klein. For some lawyers, colour is part of their judicial strategy.
“If I want a jury to pay attention to a witness, I wear a matte, neutral color,” says one longtime partner. “If I want them to focus on me, I could wear bright red or pink.” In hindsight, our small-scale approach to imitating Biglaw was stupid. The mistake we made was looking like someone else. This is an occupational hazard for most lawyers. Instead, we should have worried about being authentic. Nothing sounds less authentic than people trying to look like someone they`re not. Fashion for lawyers is designed to give clients confidence in their lawyers` ability to do their legal work professionally. This trust and professionalism should also be reflected in a law firm`s marketing efforts. FindLaw can help you develop a comprehensive marketing plan for your business. Try our integrated marketing solutions to develop a successful marketing plan for your business.
Dress code: The standard black suit is preferred in this accelerated company, but preferably in an elegant cut of Prada or Armani and combined with a long strand of pearls, Bulgari bracelets and Manolo Blahnik pumps. “Style is an important non-verbal communicator,” says Lori Fife, Partner. “Why don`t you dress to kill to show customers that you`re a strong advocate for them?” And there`s no reason to sacrifice fashion for convenience. “I can operate 100% in a skirt suit and four-inch heels,” insists one partner. Of course, my partner and I now felt weird wearing suits every day when the Biglaw people we imitated dressed more casually than we did. After about six months, we made the same change. How Casual?: “Everyone knows what`s in our dress code — no jeans,” says one partner, “and lawyers don`t try to push the boundaries.” How casual?: The dress code recommends a good rule of thumb: if you wear it to play, don`t wear it to work. Partners are instructed to keep the traditional business conduct in the office so that they can make quick changes in the event of unscheduled meetings or hearing dates.
On courtless days, partners opt for twin TSE cashmere sets paired with linen pants. Law firms` dress code has also been thrust into the spotlight after it was recently revealed that a woman was fired from work after refusing to wear high heels, which you can read here. Just like men, women lawyers need to think about how they dress, as this can help build trust, earn respect, and convey a professional image. But what about small businesses? Unlike their Biglaw counterparts, most small businesses don`t have written policy manuals and dress codes. On the one hand, it can be good; I believe employees tend to be happier when their work lives aren`t hyper-regulated. (See, for example, my sick leave and bereavement leave assessments.) Lower pants don`t need to be formal. Dockers or elegant persimmons are appropriate, with or without handcuffs. However, jeans, sweatpants and shorts should not be worn in the office. The fit of the pants is crucial.
Pants should be fitted and well cut. Extra wrinkles, overly wide legs, bell bottoms or odd lengths may have been appropriate in the past, but today`s pants are conservative and simple to adjust. Dressing up the role in law firms in white shoes has traditionally involved a style as dry as a legal letter. But the dot-com boom (and bankruptcy) has introduced varying degrees of informality into American businesses and permeated the sanctuaries of even the most conservative old law firms. Acceptable clothing for men includes casual pants, khakis, short- or long-sleeved shirts, V-neck sweaters with collars and cardigans. Acceptable footwear is leather footwear with thin to medium soles, lace-up shoes, dock shoes, or Rockport style. Your small business doesn`t need a written dress code. You will never fool anyone into thinking you`re a Biglaw lawyer by trying to dress like one. You`d better be yourself instead. Shoes: If there are fashion experiences, it`s with accessories. Barneys` ultramodern homemade shoe line and Prada`s boxy heels fall under the company`s lenient shoe policy.
Bagby says, “Everything except flip-flops are good.” For anyone starting a new legal job or employees who aren`t sure what to wear to wear, our guide to law firm dress codes below will help. In the main companies highlighted here, women still represent only 14% to 20% of the total partners, and they are not selected for lack of judgment. Many lawyers who are fluent in the language of contemporary fashion are reluctant to speak out publicly because it is so difficult to fight for respect. Another good option is to wear a skirt suit and again, a dark dress, navy blue or charcoal gray would be preferable. When designing your company`s dress code, it`s important to consider your company`s culture as well as your geographic location – is your business located in a metropolitan area or is it a rural business? Next, state the goals you want to achieve in a written policy.