Last week, I wrote (with great pleasure) about whether women lawyers should wear peep-toe shoes to court. In my informal poll of seven federal judges, the vote broke down roughly as follows: four in favor, two opposed, and one in the middle. (See the update — Judge Susan Graber seemed agnostic on peep-toes, but advised lawyers, male and female alike, “to consider comfort and color” in footwear choices.)
One of the judges who dissented, lodging her opposition to a litigatrix sporting peep-toe shoes in court, was Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw (9th Cir.):
My view is that if you have a question about the appropriateness of your attire, don’t risk it. Women appearing in court should never wear anything that draws attention to their anatomy over the merits of their case. You just never know how your audience — judges, jurors, clients or senior partners — will react. It’s better to play it safe in formal settings and save the peep-toes for after hours.
But don’t get the wrong impression about Judge Wardlaw, who is fierce and fabulous (see my earlier interview of her). She is not some fashion fuddy-duddy. Although she recommends against lawyers wearing peep-toes to court, she owns many pairs of herself, which she happily wears in chambers.
Check out these photos of Judge Wardlaw modeling peep-toe shoes, sent to Above the Law by her colleague on the Ninth Circuit, Chief Judge Alex Kozinski….
In approving of peep-toe shoes in the office, Judge Wardlaw is in the majority. In our reader poll, almost 90 percent of respondents said that peep-toe shoes are acceptable in the office. (In a second poll, 54 percent said peep-toes are acceptable in court — a slimmer margin, which may support the wisdom of Judge Wardlaw’s “better safe than sorry” approach.)
For what it’s worth, Chief Judge Kozinski seems to have no issue with peep-toe shoes. Here’s his message transmitting the Article III feet photos:
I attach pictures of Judge Wardlaw’s shoes that she wore today. I believe she wore them to show me and Judge Reinhardt what the fuss was about, and I thought they were very elegant and persuaded her to let me photograph them.
If you decide to use any of the pix, you can identify them as Judge Wardlaw’s but be sure to indicate they were taken in an office setting, not in court.
Let the record reflect that Judge Wardlaw wore these shoes in an office setting, not in a courtroom.
And let the record reflect their fabulosity, too! Check out the gallery below. Aren’t they gorgeous?
(Just like their wearer. Don’t forget that Judge Wardlaw is the #2 female superhottie of the federal judiciary.)
A source reports that the shoe is a Cole Haan with Nike Air heel, in taupe and gold patent leather. The Nike Air heel is a smart touch for the active Judge Wardlaw. When I clerked on the Ninth Circuit, for Judge O’Scannlain in Portland, I heard a great story about Judge Wardlaw’s athletic prowess. The Pioneer Courthouse is surrounded by a rather high iron fence. One evening, while she was in Portland on an oral argument calendar, the hardworking Judge Wardlaw was leaving the building well after public hours. The gates had been closed, leaving Judge Wardlaw trapped inside the courthouse grounds.
So what did Judge Wardlaw do? Rather than calling security to have them show up and open the gates, she scaled the fence — in pumps and a skirt suit. How awesome is that?
Check out Her Honor’s shoes in the gallery below. Click on each image
if you’re a foot fetishist for an “in camera” inspection.
They say that if you do wear peep-toes to work, you should make sure your pedicure is impeccable. Judge Wardlaw has definitely followed that advice!