Building up to a career in law isn’t easy. First, there’s high school. Poor grades here pretty much mean that your career in law is either at an end or is put on hold while you resit any exams in which you underperformed. Next, there’s college. Simply getting onto a law course of your choice is going to be hard enough, with many students having to settle for their second, third, or fourth choice universities (students are known to bolster their applications by sitting on student councils and undertaking relevant voluntary work … students without these supporting areas of interest can find it hard to gain elbow room when it comes to making the cut). Next, there are years of study to negotiate, right at a time when your college friends are partying and meeting new people and starting relationships – keeping your eyes on the prize is far from straight forward, as developing social skills is an integral part of becoming a lawyer.
Let’s, for example, say that you get through it all. You gain a law degree. You’re part of the slim percentage that stuck to your goals and saw it through. But there’s a surprise waiting. Times are beginning to change in terms of office attire. Where before we could have expected lawyers to dress in fitted suits, slightly relaxed dress codes are opening the door to more personalised looks. So, whether you’re applying to be a lawyer who handles issues like divorce, or personal injury, or medical negligence (or even whether you’re going to be providing people with information to questions like what is the law on using a mobile phone in a car?), or any other branch of the law, you’re going to need to know how to dress. Let’s get into it.
In the office – tips of formal dress
If your office insists on a formal dress code, you must nevertheless try to avoid black. Black suits are synonymous with funerals and this can be off-putting to clients (as well as off putting to the mood of co-workers, who will feel like they are working in a funeral home more than a vibrant fast paced modern office). Instead, choose between navy and various hues of grey for your day to day wear. This means that your footwear can also avoid being black, as tan or brown shoes will match with greys and navy.
Where the rules are slightly more relaxed
Even where the dress code is slightly more relaxed, both men and women are advised not to wear anything too revealing. This could include open clothing that exposes the central chest area, or tight-fitting mid-thigh shorts that could be deemed inappropriate by clients expecting traditional dress codes.
In all cases of law firm dress codes, remember that the aim of the game is not to scare away the client.