Fashion Is Fun

You have got to be kidding me.

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?

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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.

What did I learn from Chuck?

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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)….

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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?

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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…

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Mommy, have you seen my Hot Wheels car?

* 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!

Blank Label: Design Your Own Custom Men’s Dress Shirt [Buy With Me]

Ladies: if you're in NYC, it's okay to go around like this.

* An update to an item from yesterday’s Non-Sequiturs — or, “a domestic dispute version of Spy vs. Spy.” [Not-So Private Parts / Forbes]

* And a response to yesterday’s controversial post about paralegals (and the educational credentials required for the position). [A Paralegal's Life]

* Are you a rising 3L looking for post-graduate employment at a law firm? Check out Waller Lansden’s innovative Schola2Juris program. [Schola2Juris via Am Law Daily]

* Here’s a subject that never gets old (we’ve discussed it before, and we’ll discuss it again): what not to wear as a summer associate. [Corporette]

* Ah, screw it — if you’re here in New York, ladies, just go topless. It’s legal! [Runnin' Scared / Village Voice]

45 Star Island Drive

* Billable Hours: The Movie. “This comedy follows one young lawyer as she is slowly driven crazy by monotonous work, obnoxious colleagues, and the constant buzzing of her BlackBerry.” [Billable Hours]

* Lawyerly Lairs: Roy Black, the high-profile Miami criminal defense attorney, buys a $7.1 million mansion. How many square feet does $7.1 million buy on Star Island? [Todd M. Glaser]

* Advice for PR folks: put some thought into addressing your bulk emails. Also, if you’re pitching us, read this tweet. [Constitutional Daily]

* If you divorce a male banker, you’ll probably get to keep the kids — but be ready to fight over the dog. [Dealbreaker]

* Former escort now a lawyer in Canada. I can see the Lifetime movie now: Prosti-Suit. [Toronto Star]

* Speaking of prostitutes, if they were legal it’d be much harder for serial killers to hunt them. [Law and More]

* One could argue that putting teenagers to work is at least as useful as giving them any more education. [Huffington Post]

* Clothing advice for male attorneys. It seems that you need $250 outfits to get in the ballpark. [Tips for Young Lawyers]

* Just to be clear, I’m sure there are all kinds of racist things happening in the fashion industry. It’s just that none of it is being done to Naomi Campbell by Cadbury. [Fashionista]

* 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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