Ed. note: Professor Anna Akbari, a fashion and image consultant, recently provided Above the Law with style tips for Biglaw summer associates. Her advice provoked strongreactions around the web. In this post, she offers additional evidence and analysis to support her views on how professional women can achieve feminine feminism in the workplace.
Successful office dress is not about sex appeal. Overt sexiness — sky-high heels, short, tight skirts, low-cut blouses — is frowned upon, and is not rewarded in more conservative work environments like law firms (Peter Glick has studied this extensively). However, looking too masculine is also not rewarded or favored. It’s about finding a balance between the two, and understanding your audience (and remember, a sexy woman could wear a potato sack and still exude sex appeal, if that’s her intention).
Law firms — and judges, in particular — demand a different style of dress than more creative industries. In professional environments, one is always attempting to strike a balance between dressing to fit into the group, and dressing to express one’s self. It’s not one or the other, and the most successful individuals execute that split with impressive nuance. I like to refer to this balancing act as “rebellious compliance”: demonstrate that you belong, but find a way to distinguish yourself. To dismiss your professional appearance as frivolous or inconsequential is simply naive. Substance and style count.
And it counts even more for women, who are held to higher standards and judged more harshly based on appearance. That is an unfortunate reality….
It’s that time again: it’s getting hot in herre [sic], and people at your firm have decided to take Nelly’s advice. While everyone’s gearing up for the big summer bash, you’ve got to deal with your next fashion headache. You’ve already been told that you should be wearing skirt suits and showing some leg on a day-to-day basis. And now that the weather is nice, lawyerly ladies want to know: can you, or rather, should you wear a bikini to your firm’s pool party?
We covered this issue last summer, where the be-all and end-all question was to boob or not to boob. At that point in time, I adopted an “if you’ve got it, why not flaunt it” stance. But now that I’m a year older, and (arguably) a year wiser, I’m here to offer our female readers some more mature advice to be used in this “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation with assistance from Kat Griffin of Corporette.
Keep reading for some Biglaw bathing suit etiquette that you shouldn’t have too much trouble following….
As a new summer associate, you must have heard many a horror story about your predecessors, including tales of fashion disasters. For example, do you remember the boozy Milbank SA who supposedly showed up to events wearing an Olympic jumpsuit? How about the girl who wanted to march around her firm with a $9,000 Birkin bag? As this year’s summers descend upon Biglaw firms across the country, we thought that we might be able to offer you some assistance to prevent you from committing comparable crimes of fashion.
To accomplish this feat, we’ve teamed up with none other than Anna Akbari, the “thinking person’s stylist,” to help you make it through the summer. You don’t want to wind up as a bullet point on Weil Gotshal’s“unacceptable” list….
We’ve written time and again about the dangers of using the reply-all email function, but it seems that those in Biglaw just can’t take the hint. It’s how allegedly lecherous Quinn Emanuel partners get outed. It’s how apparently discontent MoFo partners share their feelings about the firm. It’s how Skadden partners make their evaluations of associates less than confidential.
And now, it’s how senior associates at Clifford Chance implore their colleagues to stop furiously masturbating to them….
When we last wrote about the epic trademark war that Gucci launched against Guess in 2009, we noted that the case made headlines soon after the first filing. Apparently Gucci’s former in-house counsel, Jonathan Moss, had been engaging in faux lawyering, and he paid for it dearly — with his job.
Gucci v. Guess has been a dramatic roller coaster ride ever since, complete with men crying on the witness stand, and hours upon hours of in-court questioning for one company’s chief executive officer.
But as we noted in Morning Docket, a verdict has finally been reached in the case, and it looks like Guess will have to own up to its fashion faux pas with a payout of more than $4 million dollars in damages. But how will this ruling affect the fashion world at large? Let’s take a look….
You may remember that back in the summer of 2010, an attractive and curvaceous woman named Debrahlee Lorenzana sued Citibank for wrongful termination. Apparently Lorenzana was “too hot” — so hot, in fact, that she allegedly distracted other bankers from doing their jobs, resulting in her firing.
Just two years later, another woman claims that she was fired for similar reasons — her employers at a lingerie business allegedly told her she was “too hot” and that her breasts were “too large.” Now, we know what you must be thinking: how can one be “too hot,” or have breasts “too large” to work for a lingerie company?
Everything’s possible in New York, but we know that TTIWWOP — “This Thread Is Worthless Without Pictures.” We’ve got a few, plus a video….
* Yesterday marked day two of jury deliberations without a verdict in the John Edwards campaign-finance violations trial. The former presidential candidate says he’s “doing OK,” but you know he’s secretly pissing his pants over going to prison. [ABC News]
* Martin Weisberg, a former Baker & McKenzie partner, pleaded guilty to money laundering and conspiracy to commit securities fraud. He faces up to 15 years for both crimes. Like he wasn’t earning enough as a Biglaw partner. [New York Law Journal]
* A judge told two fashion houses to leave it on the runway, and not in the courtroom, but that’s not going to stop Gucci from collecting its due. Guess owes the company $4.66M for trademark infringement. [Bloomberg]
* If you’re wondering what you’re going to have to do to get your student loans discharged in bankruptcy, it’s really quite simple. Get diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, and you’ll be set. [National Law Journal]
* What’s the difference between looted art and art looted by the Nazis? The Hitler part. Proposed art legislation will ban all museum recovery claims, except those of families affected by the Holocaust. [New York Times]
* “”I can’t believe f**king Allred called you!” In a total attention whore battle royale, Okorie Okorocha has sued Gloria Allred for allegedly stealing both of his clients in the John Travolta gay sex scandal. [CNN]
It’s not often that one associates high fashion with female lawyers. And if such an association is to be made, it usually comes in the form of an Elle Woods / Legally Blonde joke. Instead, one is quick to conjure visions of boxy ’80s power suits with shoulder pads thick enough to warrant a cringe.
You’d think that with the sheer number of fashion sense for the workplace seminars, women would have stopped making the faux pas of dressing like they were anywhere but at a David E. Kelley-created law firm — but apparently, you’d be wrong.
So let us spell it out for all of our lovely lady lawyers, as the Wall Street Journal so eloquently did last night: “The power suit is over.” These days, power looks for women contain frills, ruffles, and even hints of (gasp!) pink.
While the power suit may be a fashion no-no, is it acceptable to wear these emerging trends to work?
* A gem from the Eleventh Circuit: if you believe it’s newsworthy, it is. Even naked pictures of dead girls. Now stop hoping a hot girl dies, sickos. [CNN]
* If there’s one thing judges are good at, it’s keeping their law clerks white. They’ve made no progress in increasing diversity. [National Law Journal]
* Some law school grads bitch and moan about the “student loan scam,” but others just do what they went to school for, and sue about it. [ABC News]
* The social media machine that is Mark O’Mara can’t be stopped — judge’s orders. And George Zimmerman is going to like and retweet that until the cows come home. [Boston Herald]
* Here’s infringing on you, kid. British fashion house Burberry insists that a California company stop Bogarting its rights to Humphrey’s trademark and likeness, all for the sake of promotional materials. [Bloomberg]
* Dewey really need to keep coming up with punny headlines about D&L’s painful probe? Pass the lube, ’cause you better believe we dew! Steven Davis, the firm’s former chairman, has hired Barry Bohrer, a white-collar criminal defense lawyer and partner at the Morvillo Abramowitz firm. [WSJ Law Blog]
* “Of course all of that money for my baby mama is legal. I… uh… checked with my lawyers. Um, yeah. Just get the money in.” Cheri Young gave some pretty damning testimony yesterday during the John Edwards campaign-finance violations trial. [CNN]
* As if you didn’t have enough to worry about during finals, Law School Transparency has come out with a new clearinghouse that includes employment outcomes, salaries, and student debt loads. [National Law Journal]
* “I do not own a color. I own a specific color in a specific place.” Christian Louboutin was seeing red when he responded to interview questions over his trademark infringement suit against Yves Saint Laurent. [Fox News]
* Remember that Nutella class action suit? Ferrero settled, and you can cash in if you bought their delicious hazelnut crack during the relevant time period. Needless to say, they owe me $20. [American Thinker]
* Richard Bellman, the lawyer behind New Jersey’s “Mount Laurel doctrine,” RIP. [New York Times]
Are you challenged by the costs and logistics of maintaining your office, distracting you from the practice of law?
Many small firms are successfully moving part—or even all—of their practice to a virtual setting. This even includes multi-jurisdictional practice spanning several states and practice areas, although solo and small partnerships are still the largest adopters of virtual law.
Can you do the same? The new article Mobile in Practice, Virtual by Design from author Jared Correia, Esq., explores how mobile technology bring real-life benefits to a small law firm. Read this new article—the next in Thomson Reuters’ Independent Thinking series for small firms—to explore how a mobile practice:
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: [email protected].
Since late last year, things have been booming in Hong Kong / China in cap markets, especially Hong Kong IPOs. M&A deal flow has recently been getting a bit stronger as well. Although one can’t predict such things with any certainty, all signs are pointing to a banner entire 2014 for the top end US corporate and cap markets practices in Hong Kong / China. This is not really new news, as its been the feeling most in the market have had for a few months now and things continue to look good.
The head of our Asia practice, Evan Jowers, has been in Hong Kong for about 10 days a month (with trips every other month to both Shanghai and Bejing) for the past 7 months (Robert Kinney and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong again March 15 to 23), and spending most of his time there meeting with senior US hiring partners at just about all the major US and UK firms there, as well as prospective candidates at all associate levels and partner levels, and when in the US, Evan works Asia hours and is regularly on the phone with such persons, as our the other members of our Asia team. Our Yuliya Vinokurova is in Hong Kong every other month and Robert is there about 5 times a year as well. While we have a solid Asia team of recruiters, Evan Jowers will spend at least some time with all of our candidates for Asia position. We have had long standing relationships, and good friendships in some cases, with hiring partners and other senior US partners in Asia for 8 years now.
Everyone is talking about the importance of Social Media in Corporate America. But it is relatively safe to say that most law firms and lawyers are slightly behind the social curve. Most lawyers, at minimum, use LinkedIn, for networking. Some even use Twitter for pushing out short, pithy content, while many have Blogs, where they write their little hearts out. The adage “it is better to give than to receive” is not always true though in the world of Social. In the Social World – it is best to listen, give back and engage.
Social Media is a communications tool that can deeply educate you about the needs and wants of your clients and prospects when used in conjunction social media monitoring and sharing tools.
Take this quick quiz and see if you know how to use Social to help you engage more with your clients or to better service the ones you have.