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1L firm visits/reception and suits.

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Next weekend I will be attending two days of firm visits in Chicago with a "Meet the class of 2013" reception at the Metropolitan Club in the Sears Tower. I intended to wear nicer business casual, but final confirmation emails for the firm visits from student organizers mention suits and "interview attire." I was also surprised to be the only guy not wearing a suit (granted, most guys were in ill-fitting black suits) at a "home for the holidays" 1L reception I attended over christmas. The dilemma is that I don't have a suit I'd be comfortable wearing (I have a crappy MW 3-button black deal purchased 6 years ago rotting in my closet), and I won't have money to buy one until the day before the firm visits. I am currently wallowing in abject poverty. So, do I go in slacks, nice shirts, and a tie and stand out as the guy who doesn't take things seriously enough to show up in a suit? Or is it possible for me to get a suit off the rack the day before that fits well enough to be worth wearing? Edit: I do have a decent Hart Schaffner Marx sportcoat, but the same "not-a-suit" issues apply.
post #2 of 21
abject poverty or no, you need to look acceptable if you want a good law firm job. go get yourself a suit now. depending on your body type, a H&M/Zara/etc suit is affordable and looks good. A men's warehouse suit is fine too, IF it fits well.

since you're using the suit for law firm interviews, it goes without saying you should get a navy or charcoal suit, not black.
post #3 of 21
You should wear a suit. Even if your suit is terrible, you should wear a suit.
post #4 of 21
Thread Starter 
These aren't interviews. They are 35 first year students shuffling around a bunch of law firm offices, and then schmoozing at a reception that night. I wouldn't dream of showing up for interviews in anything but a nice suit.
post #5 of 21
You will stand out--in a bad way--if you do not wear a suit. The name of the game is to fit in as best as possible. It's not about the brand or fit of the suit, but the simple matter that you can follow social norms and wear a suit. What about a used suit from Goodwill or a thrift store, and getting the sleeves and pants adjusted at a tailor? That would a low cost option; something cheap enough that a friend could loan you a $20 or so.
post #6 of 21
Everything is irrelevant except grades and then school rank.
post #7 of 21
Consider an inexpensive suit an investment in your career. Otherwise, just wear your sport coat with a tie.
post #8 of 21
Option 1: Wear your MW suit Option 2: Sell your computer/laptop and go to a department store to buy a new suit.
post #9 of 21
Wear the suit you have now.
that fact that it is MW will not make or break your possible future there.
you'll be fine.
post #10 of 21
Originally Posted by bluemagic View Post
Everything is irrelevant except grades and then school rank.

+1. 90% of the male lawyers you'll be meeting have no idea how to dress, and 100% of the female lawyers have no idea what a well-dressed man looks like. They will care about grades, class rank, and whether you're on law review. As long as you don't show up wrinkled or dirty, what you're wearing is so far down the list of factors that will or will not get you a job as to be inconsequential. If you're #1 in your class and editor of your school's law review, your MW black suit will be fine. If your grades are bad to mediocre, the finest bespoke suit and a pair of Lobbs isn't getting your foot in the door. Don't worry too much about what you're wearing, especially if this isn't an interview. At my firm, it's pretty much understood that the summer clerks will not be dressed that well. How could they? They're all broke, except for the ones with family money...and nobody likes a trust-fund baby.
post #11 of 21
True, he doesn't need to be sartorially resplendent, but he should still meet basic decorum. A jacket and tie are a must. Consciously or sub-consciously, he may be judged poorly otherwise.
post #12 of 21
Originally Posted by bluemagic View Post
Everything is irrelevant except grades and then school rank.

Agree to a certain degree. Sartorially, the law is a funny profession in that you must wear a suit and meet basic professional decorum at all times, yet 90% of the lawyers I've met don't know how to actually achieve that. Usually, it's ill-fitting suits, cheesy ties, boring scuffed shoes, lack of any meaningful accessories, mismatched gear, you name it. There are some awfully haggard looking attorneys.

Grades are super-important, but if you aren't in the top 10%, then congratulations, you're an average law student in there with 90% of the class. Make contacts, network like crazy, take any position you can, paid or unpaid, to get relevant work experience. Above all else, don't be a prick. Seriously. The vast majority of new attorneys will be competent for the jobs they'll be interviewing for. What will separate you are what else you bring to the table, and if they can work with you or not. Who wants to hire somebody that is disagreeable to work with?

But back to your original conundrum. You NEED a suit. Consider it an investment, a tool in your arsenal. My buddies that are mechanics have huge chests full of Snap-On tools. That's what they need to do their job. We need business wear, a lap top and Westlaw. Go to H & M or the outlets to get a decent suit cheap. Good luck
post #13 of 21
Don't they have credit cards where you're from? It'll give you a 30 day grace period to pay back the money, interest free. I can't believe I'm telling an adult this.
post #14 of 21
Originally Posted by grapeswisher View Post
Option 1:
Wear your MW suit

Option 2:
Sell your computer/laptop and go to a department store to buy a new suit.

option 2 is terrible
telling a law student to sell his computer is like telling him to cut out a kidney or something
actually selling a kidney would probably be a much better option
post #15 of 21
Wear the shitty MW suit this time around. In the meantime, invest a few hundred bucks in a cheap suit and some alterations. Either a thrift store or eBay buy, or a cheap BR suit or something. No need to go hog wild on suits at this stage in your life. SF advice can be misleading or inappropriate for younger people, inasmuch as a lot of folks here are older and have the disposable income not to have to settle on second-rate options. Clearly you're not expected to be decked out in Brioni and Charvet at this point in your pre-career, and I imagine that the firms might even look questionably upon you if you somehow were.
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