Back in June, we wrote about the lawyers in the Fashion Victims Unit at litigation powerhouse Quinn Emanuel. We were a little surprised when we found out that partner Bill Urquhart was allowing — nay, encouraging — all associates to dress über casually at the office.
As Vivia Chen of The Careerist so eloquently put it, it seems that the age of “jaw-droppingly sloppy” lawyers has arrived. Jeans and t-shirts are the style of choice at Quinn Emanuel. Instead of the clicking of heels, the most familiar sound at the firm is one that has been banned from bar exams across the country: flip-flop, flip-flop, flip-flop, flip-flop.
News of the firm’s kitschy footwear leaked during the height of its summer program. But did you really think that Quinn Emanuel would let its new-found fashion fame go quietly into the night?
I consider myself to be pretty fashionable. Indeed, I (like so many others) pray to the patron saint of fashion, the Duchess of Cambridge. I am well versed in the laws of fashion. For example:
1. Thou shalt not wear a romper after age 22.
2. Thou shalt wear white any season.
3. Khakis are sad.
And I have learned the hard way about the fashion of law (i.e., what to wear at a law firm). It probably involves a khaki sack-turned-skirt but certainly does not involve hoop earrings. (Sorry Jay, but I think dress codes are still alive and well in small firms, at least if you are a woman.)
Yet I did not know what fashion law was. So I got a crash course from an expert, Charles “Chuck” Colman of Charles Colman Law PLLC.
Damn, check out the girls from corporate. Schwing!
It’s almost the middle of summer, and it’s hot as hell outside. Partners are starting to relax a little bit, and collars are getting unbuttoned. You think you might have seen someone sporting a pair of flip-flops at the office, but that one was probably a mirage. All of this can mean only one thing: the moment that you’ve been dreading has finally arrived. The invitation to the firm summer party is coming for you — and it might involve a pool or beach.
But do you really want to wear a bathing suit in front of these people? Maybe while you were busy shredding documents this spring, you got distracted and ditched your ab-shredding routine. Maybe while you were trimming the fat from your briefs, you neglected your cottage cheese thighs. And maybe, just maybe, you were lucky enough to graduate from “law school hot” to “law firm hot,” and you’re worried about your colleagues ogling your grand tetons.
Is there such a thing as bathing suit etiquette for a Biglaw summer bash? Apparently there is, so prepare to be de-sexified (as if you’re not undersexed enough as it is)….
The other day, Staci wrote about dress codes at some of the large firms. Specifically, Quinn Emanuel made some noise by putting out a minimalist dress code, requiring only shoes “because our insurance company requires them!” (Yes, it’s their exclamation point.) This was in stark contrast to other Biglaw dress codes, like the paternalistic one at Jones Day. (I, for one, applaud the Quinn Emanuel approach.)
But what about at small firms? Unlike their Biglaw counterparts, most small firms don’t have written policy manuals and spelled-out dress codes. On the one hand, this can be good; I believe that employees tend to be happier when their lives at work are not hyperlegislated. (See, for example, my takes on sick leave and bereavement leave.)
But the flip side is that small-firm lawyers are often at sea over what to wear. Sometimes, people need a little guidance.
So what should the dress code be at your small firm?
Are flip-flops part of the new uniform for lawyers?
At Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, no shoes, no shirt, no problem! Well, actually you’ll need the shoes, but the rest can be sacrificed if you need to for your own creativity.
When thinking of how lawyers are supposed to look, most people conjure visions of sharply-dressed men and women in suits, carrying designer leather briefcases. Back in the day, most, if not all lawyers, dressed the part. There’s a good reason for that; looking professional makes it seem as if a lawyer’s services are going to be equally as professional.
The majority of Biglaw firms have tried to keep the old school status quo in terms of dress codes (take Jones Day’s nanny-state dress code, for example). But for firms who like to think outside the blouse box, well, CHECK YOU FLIP-FLOPS.
That’s right, litigation powerhouse Quinn Emanuel cares more about your briefs than whether or not you are wearing underwear…
* Trademarks, and textiles, and taboos, oh my! Take a look into the fabulous world of fashion law with Charles Colman of Law of Fashion. [Professionelle]
* When you make stock market bets on SCOTUS outcomes, you better have a lot of money to throw around. Luckily, Ted Frank has plenty. [Point of Law]
* Jackass star Ryan Dunn passed away yesterday, which is sad. While normal people mourn the man who shoved a toy car up his butt, lawyers think up ways to assign liability. [Litigation & Trial]
* A J.D. is apparently still worth all of the debt associated with it because… why? Given that landing a job right now is about as easy as nailing jelly to a tree, how is this profession worth the debt? [Kiplinger]
* The blogs of the Am Law 100 have grown a lot this year, from 126 blogs to a whopping 269. Some firms are blogging duds, but I guess they’re busy making money. [Marketing Strategy and the Law]
* It may be better to be pissed off than pissed on, but getting peed on is apparently a natural step in professional development. [An Associate's Mind]
* Attorneys fall into one of three categories when it comes to the iPad: you got one; you want one; or your firm got one for you. Here are some lawyerly apps for you to play with. [Law Degree]
Father’s Day is coming up. This holiday is never as big as the other fake holiday known as Mother’s Day. That’s because fathers, in general, just want the kids to get out of the house long enough for them to have sex and an uninterrupted nap.
But, if you have a good Dad who only beats you when you deserve it, you should certainly get the old man a present. If you are in the market, Above the Law has a deal for you. We are bringing back our Blank Label deal for men’s shirts that you design yourself.
Under the offer, $50 gets you $100 towards a custom-designed men’s dress shirt. But the deal expires soon, so don’t delay. Click on the link below to access it — and take on the fun role of fashion designer. Happy shopping!
* Seeing the Westboro Baptist Church versus the Klu Klux Klan is like getting a special sneak peek of what’s playing on ESPN Hell. [Washington Post]
* I’m going to be honest. I don’t have any “Congressman Weiner’s wiener” jokes, mainly because I think wiener is a stupid word and will use the word penis or dick instead. But, come to think of it, I don’t have any jokes about Congressman Penis’s dick either. [MSNBC]
You just wonder if Jones Day could try recruiting adults instead of making a bunch of rules to regulate the kids they have there. Think about it: one of the defining features of Jones Day is its policy of secrecy regarding attorney compensation. The firm is worried about petty jealousies sprouting up between competing attorneys over compensation. Other firms handle this problem by assuming their people can act like trained professionals, Jones Day thinks that its people can’t handle the truth.
This condescending view doesn’t just apply to salary information. Apparently, Jones Day employees cannot be trusted to dress themselves without explicit instructions.
Jones Day has so many nanny-state policies that I’m surprised Mike Bloomberg isn’t a partner in the firm…
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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 seven years. You can reach them by email: email@example.com.
Please note that Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney are still in Hong Kong and will stay FOR THE REMAINDER OF THIS WEEK. We still have a handful of available slots for meetings with our Asia Chronicles fans. If we have not been in touch lately, reach out and let us know when we could meet! There is no need for an agenda at all. Most of our in-person meetings on these trips are with folks who understand that improving a legal practice through lateral hiring is an information-driven process that takes time to handle correctly.
Regarding trends in lateral US associate hiring in Hong Kong, we of course keep much of what we know off of this blog. Based on placement revenue, though, Kinney is having one of our most successful years ever in Asia. We are helping a number of our law firm clients with M&A, fund formation, cap markets, project finance, FCPA and disputes openings. These are very specific needs in many cases, so a conversation with us before jumping in may be helpful. As always, we like to be sure to get the maximum number of interviews per submission, using a well-informed, highly targeted, and selective approach, taking into account short, medium and long-term career aims.
Making a well informed decision during a job search is easier said than done – the information we provide comes from 10 years of being the market leader in US attorney placements at the top tier firms in Asia. There is no substitute for having known a hiring partner since he/she was an associate or for having helped a partner grow his or her practice from zip to zooming, and this is happily where we stand today – with years of background information on just about every relevant person in all the markets we serve, and most especially in Hong Kong/China/Greater Asia. So get in touch and get a download from us this week if we can fit it in, or soon in any case!