I don't go to court that often, but I have been going for over 20 years. Â I have seen a lot of poorly dressed lawyers but have seen well dressed ones too. Â In fact, the well dressed attorneys stand out. Â There is a common wisdom passed around that an attorney should not dress too well when appearing before a jury. Â The thinking is that the jury will assume the attorney is wealthy and, therefore, the client must be too and fashion its verdict accordingly. Â I follow this adage by avoiding wearing french cuff shirts to jury trials. Â I also find that most judges are plain dressers and am concerned that by dressing too well, the judge may view me as 'not his kind' or as someone who is not serious. Â Perhaps it is really true that transactional attorneys dress better as a whole than litigators.
Alas, it is true that on the whole, the courtroom is not the place to find well dressed attorneys. There are some exceptions, however. The last trial I participated in was overseen by a Judge with impeccable style. He wore some very nice suits, and had some of the most interesting and elegant woven ties I've ever seen. I SO wanted to ask him where he purchased the ties, but didn't want to be impertinant. As for well dressed trial lawyers, there are some which are known for their elegance, both in and out of the courtroom. Bruce Cutler, best known for representing John Gotti in his many brushes with the law is a very elegantly dressed fellow. Fred Bartlitt, perhaps one of the best commercial litigators ever, has a reputation for wearing beautiful bespoke suits. In fact, I remember reading an account of one of his courtroom appearances where he destroyed one of his suits with car grime while showing car parts to the jury in a GMC truck products liability case. As for myself, I don't "dress down" for court appearances, negotiations, or other high stakes events. My suits are my battle armor, and I go to war fully armed; 7 fold tie, French cuffs, and shoes polished to a high sheen.