Law Suits: How Lawyers Should Dress For Office
Businesses today have seen a major transformation so far as dress code is concerned. The focus is on informal relationships which have been facilitated by the advancement of the online business scenario. When face to face encounters are slowly on the decline and more and more deals are being sealed over video conferences across countries, the stiff collar business suits have given way to more informal attire. Quickly going on to first names between business associates is more of a norm now than an exception.
However, in the legal industry, appearances do matter a lot. This is primarily because there is still a prevailing and strict dress code for court appearances and meeting clients. The general perception is, and it is right to a great extent is that clients should have trust and confidence in their lawyers and their abilities and this might not be possible if a lawyer walks in to a meeting in jeans or khakis. This is all the more important for commercial property lawyers who handle deals worth millions of dollars at a time.
For any lawyer worth his salt, proper attire is very important to gain respect and faith of supervisors, clients, judges and even opposing counsels. On a personal level, the way lawyers dress at work can play a big role in influencing partners, assignments, promotions and future with the firm.
What then should men and women lawyers wear at work?
Formal business attire is almost mandatory for court appearances, interviews, client meetings, presentations and other business events. A tailored suit in neutral colours such as gray or blue is advisable. A collared long sleeve white shirt with a matching conservative tie will be fine. Don’t overdo the jewelry and accessories part as well aftershave and cologne. Leave earrings for a more informal occasion.
Business casual attire can be without a tie but wear a suit with a golf or knitted shirt. Casual slacks with a sports jacket sweater vest or cardigan is acceptable. However, track suits, T-shirts, shirts without collars, jeans and shorts and loud coloured clothing is a strict no-no.
Shoes should be leather dress ones but avoid athletic loafers or moccasins.
Acceptable clothing for women lawyers has a host of options. While there is no clear demarcation on formal and informal business attire the following code should be good for almost all occasions.
Top includes sweaters of any type – cardigans, lightweight, crew, V-neck or turtlenecks – vests that may be worn with short or long sleeved shirts, blouses and polo shirts with collars. Pants can be linen blends, silk, twills or corduroy and Capri pants that reach the ankle. Footwear should be thin to medium-sole leather shoes, loafers or pumps and dress shoes.
Strictly unacceptable in the legal profession are low-cut, tight and sheer clothing, sweatshirts, denims, spaghetti straps, open back and midriff halter tops and jogging pants. Thongs, athletic shoes and platform heels are best kept at home.
Law firms –
Law firms too often have a dress code of their own. This depends a great deal on the geographical location and the outlook and culture of the population there. Firms based in metros, urban areas and rural regions will have different dress codes to match the expectations of the local people.
Legal profession is one industry where the dress code still matter a lot for lawyers.