Dress Codes

Would you wear these to court?

* Hmm, somebody didn’t review those documents quickly enough: the City of Detroit’s bankruptcy trial has been delayed for about a month’s time by Judge Steven Rhodes because the parties needed additional time to get their acts together. [Bloomberg]

* The NCAA may have lost the battle in the Keller EA Sports video games case with its $20 million settlement offer, but it’s clearly out for blood to win the war in the O’Bannon case with its tough cross-examination tactics for the lead plaintiff. [USA Today]

* GW Law, a school that recently increased its class size by 22 percent and allowed its average LSAT score to slip by two points, yoinked its new dean right out from under Wake Forest’s nose. [GW Hatchet]

* The legal profession isn’t exactly diverse, and law schools want to change that — the more pictures of “diverse” students they can display on their websites, the better. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News]

* Who really cares what prospective jurors wear when they show up for jury duty? The lawyers arguing that being turned away for wearing sneakers affected their clients’ rights in a case, that’s who. [WSJ Law Blog]

Do not wear this to court.

When temperatures soar, so do women’s hemlines. When cold fronts drop, women’s necklines do too. This is standard when it comes to the general populace, but we’ve come to expect more from professional women — especially from attorneys. Law is a very conservative field, and if you show too much skin, you may be looked down upon. And if we have to use the term “may,” you know that people will be talking about you behind your back if your clothes are too racy.

Yes, it’s hot out, and that’s too bad. Ditch the sleeveless dresses, throw out your above-the-knee skirts, and don’t you even dare to wear a pair of peep-toes. Sorry, ladies, but you still have to dress like pilgrims, especially if you’re in the South.

If you’re lucky enough to be an attorney with breasts in a southern state, even showing an elbow will earn you a reprimand from this judge…

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Tom Wallerstein

A law school friend told me about a deposition he defended in Waco, Texas, where the temperature reached 105 degrees. At the time, my friend Geoff was an associate at a stuffy BigLaw firm, and there was never any doubt that he was required to wear a suit. And especially because the deposition was videotaped, the witness did, too.

Plaintiffs’ counsel was the owner of a smallish firm in Florida and he showed up wearing shorts, sandals and a short-sleeved polo shirt.

When they arrived at the deposition location, Geoff and his witness were dismayed to learn that the air conditioning wasn’t working. As the day progressed, the conference room grew increasingly warm. By late morning, the witness was restless and hot and kept firing glances across the room to the dormant air conditioner. The video was priceless; every answer was punctuated by the witness sweating and mopping his forehead. Geoff told me later that he thought his witness looked like he was lying even when he wasn’t.

Learn the truth about Geoff’s deposition…

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