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Is Your Summer Clerkship Too Boring for a TV Show? Good!

Your summer associateship should be unfit for television (reality TV or otherwise).

What you do during your summer clerkship should not be viewed as a potential plot line in a TV series — or your future at the firm will last as long as The Deep End. From your fashion prowess to your social interactions, you should really be remembered for your work ethic and social competence. When you are being considered for a permanent position at summer’s end, you don’t want to be known as “Jäger Boy” or “Cleavage Girl.”

It only takes one momentary lapse in judgment to derail your future at the firm. Read these tips, brought to you by Frank Kimball of Lateral Link, an expert recruiter and former Biglaw hiring partner.…

CASUAL FRIDAY

Casual Friday is a fact of life. What began as a sensible experiment during the recession is a national trend. Today, most law firms — from Wall Street to San Francisco to Atlanta to Chicago — are casual in one form or another, whether it is all the time, Fridays only, or summers only. Still, it remains a challenge for summer associates to make the right choices.

It goes without saying that a summer associate should know and follow the firm’s policy. It is equally clear that a summer associate who errs on the side of being conservative will never be faulted by partners for their choice. Try to be conservatively unmemorable during the summer. The last thing you want is for any partner to remember anything you wore (or failed to wear). You are a professional, not a punch line.

What is the summer associate to do? Square your wardrobe with the expectations of your clients and invest in your future. It is as simple as that. Ladies, now is not the time to experiment with that low-cut top or short skirt. Gentlemen, a seersucker suit may be comfortable during the dog days of summer, but keep it on reserve for an outdoor wedding. Finally, even if your firm is causal, be sure to have a conservative suit at the office for a quick wardrobe change – you never know if there will be a last-minute trial or client meeting to attend. If you are not properly dressed, you may miss out on great experiences and you may be viewed as the “unprepared” summer associate.

Now that you know what to wear at the office, click here for some advice on keeping those clothes on and some recreational activities you should avoid during the summer and the rest of your professional career. For additional career insights, as well as profiles of individual law firms, check out the Career Center.

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