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Formal Shoe Question (law office)

IAmNietzche

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I am beginning a summer associate position with a firm this summer which will (hopefully) lead to a full-time offer this fall. The dress around the office is business casual, but obviously trips to court and meetings with clients will call for something more.

I have a To Boot New York black loafer and a Florsheim burgundy longwing for when I'm hanging around the office, but I'm now on the hunt for a business shoe.

Would this be an appropriate shoe for court/client meetings or is the color too casual? Should I stick with the traditional and just pick up a black shoe?

http://www.brooksbrothers.com/IWCatProductPage.process?Merchant_Id=1&Section_Id=494&Product_Id=1455792&Parent_Id=305&default_color=BROWN&sort_by=&sectioncolor=&sectionsize=12 D

Also, will this color brown be versatile enough? My go-to suits are navy blue, charcoal and light gray. Thanks in advance!
 

nmprisons

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That will be fine. Get it in black. No reason to stand out as a summer.
 

Gdot

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The style and shape is fine - but stick with black. You may not win any fashion points with black but it will never get you in trouble for appropriateness in any business setting.
 

urfloormatt

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Given that you don't have a lace-up dress shoe in black, I'd say black.

I think the concern about black over brown is generally overstated on SF, as the style is far more likely to draw attention than the color (assuming we're talking black vs. medium or dark brown). But I will say, as someone who wears them around the office, that longwings/wingtips do draw attention.
 
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Gdot

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A loafer is not appropriate with a suit. And thus his only black shoe (loafer) is not appropriate with a suit.

In conservative environments only a black lace up will do with a suit.

A brown lace up will indeed draw many people's attention in conservative business settings.

Anyone over the age of 50 (the bosses) will look askance at brown shoes in formal settings.
 

nmprisons

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I would recommend brown.  A brown cap-toe will never draw anyone's attention.  A burgundy longwing, on the other hand, might.  I'd say go with brown here so you at least have one dedicated black shoe and one dedicated brown that would be versatile and appropriate in any work situation.

I am not sure that I have ever seen a "big-law" lawyer argue in court in brown shoes. Not saying it hasn't happened, just that I haven't noticed it. I certainly have never seen an associate accompanying a "big-law" lawyer (well, other than me, I guess) wear brown shoes. You are right that it is perfectly acceptable, but if OP is going to be at some place like Sullivan & Cromwell in NYC this summer, he should buy a pair of black oxfords.
 

New Shoes1

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I would not buy brown shoes just to wear with a suit for your Summer Associate position. If you need shoes for your suit this Summer, buy black. While law firms do not expect you to have really nice suits and shoes as an SA, they do expect you to have the basics covered (charcoal or navy suit and black shoes). If you start rocking the brown shoes in court or client meetings, you will stand out in many law firms. I wear brown shoes with my navy suit when I'm not in court and I'm one of only a couple in my office doing this. Once you've got the full-time position and have demonstrated your good judgment to your supervisors, start easing the brown shoes into your rotation.
 

HalfCanvas

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I am not sure that I have ever seen a "big-law" lawyer argue in court in brown shoes. Not saying it hasn't happened, just that I haven't noticed it. I certainly have never seen an associate accompanying a "big-law" lawyer (well, other than me, I guess) wear brown shoes. You are right that it is perfectly acceptable, but if OP is going to be at some place like Sullivan & Cromwell in NYC this summer, he should buy a pair of black oxfords.

It has happened many times, believe me.
 

nmprisons

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It has happened many times, believe me.

I don't doubt it, and I have certainly had limited exposure, but it is far from the norm, at least in NYC.
 

New Shoes1

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It has happened many times, believe me.
I have not done it yet, but am considering it for some of the more routine status hearings/ motion calls where you are in front of the judge for no more than a minute or two.
 

urfloormatt

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Too slow on the edit, I see. I edited my post once I realized he said his black shoe was a loafer--as I agree, black lace-up conservative shoe should absolutely be the first staple in one's wardrobe.

I am not sure that I have ever seen a "big-law" lawyer argue in court in brown shoes. Not saying it hasn't happened, just that I haven't noticed it. I certainly have never seen an associate accompanying a "big-law" lawyer (well, other than me, I guess) wear brown shoes. You are right that it is perfectly acceptable, but if OP is going to be at some place like Sullivan & Cromwell in NYC this summer, he should buy a pair of black oxfords.

As a summer associate, you won't be seeing him argue anything in court. He'll be the guy in the cheap seats. Since the economic downturn, odds that he has any client exposure as an SA is pretty nil, assuming this is biglaw, but the odds of attending a stray court appearance are perhaps slightly plausible.

In any event, speaking in court is infinitely different than accompanying someone else to appear in court on what amounts to little more than a field trip, particularly if the speaking will be before a jury. I will say, however, that in all of the court rooms I have been in (which is admittedly few), one's shoes would not even be visible to the judge, the jury, or the gallery 95% of the time.
 

New Shoes1

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Too slow on the edit, I see. I edited my post once I realized he said his black shoe was a loafer--as I agree, black lace-up conservative shoe should absolutely be the first staple in one's wardrobe.



As a summer associate, you won't be seeing him argue anything in court. He'll be the guy in the cheap seats. Since the economic downturn, odds that he has any client exposure as an SA is pretty nil, assuming this is biglaw, but the odds of attending a stray court appearance are perhaps slightly plausible.

In any event, speaking in court is infinitely different than accompanying someone else to appear in court on what amounts to little more than a field trip, particularly if the speaking will be before a jury. I will say, however, that in all of the court rooms I have been in (which is admittedly few), one's shoes would not even be visible to the judge, the jury, or the gallery 95% of the time.

An SA is not wearing black shoes for the judge, jury or other attorneys in the gallery. He's wearing them for the attorneys at the law firm evaluating whether to extend him an offer. He needs to demonstrate he has good judgment in how to dress for when he is the one arguing or meeting with the client.
 

Gdot

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Go black or go home.

Easy answer. All the other variations and possibilities are for after you have been hired and established yourself.

As a SA nobody wants you to express your individuality. Most in the office will barely learn your name. The only thing they will notice is if you 'fit in', 'worked hard' and shoveled the shit paperwork appropriately.

I couldn't even tell you the names of the interns in my office right now - and three of them work on my team. I could, however, tell you if they showed up to work looking inappropriate for the office. And doing so would greatly diminish their opportunities to return.

Interns need to realize that the person who will decide if they come back or not is probably not going to spend more than 5 minutes with them during the course of their internship. FIRST IMPRESSIONS may be LAST IMPRESSIONS. Yes - the people you work with directly will be asked to offer their opinion of you at the end of the internship. But I can assure you that competiition is stiff, and if you just didn't 'look right' you are going to have to really excel to get invited back.

Sorry to be so starkly realistic - but that's life.
 
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IAmNietzche

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Thanks for all the advice guys. It seems like the clear answer is "go black". Unfortunately, I can't "go black" in the shoes I posted because the only way I was going to afford Peal & Co. shoes is to get them on sale and brown is my only option there. So, that being said, any recommendations on a sub $300 shoe that would be appropriate to wear with my suit when I wear it in the office?
 

Quadcammer

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wear brown or black. I've sat in on hundreds of trials and have cadwalader, wickersham, & taft in my building. Many attorneys will wear brown or burgundy shoes with their navy suits. Black is still typical with gray or charcoal though.

A walnut brogue would raise some eyebrows, but a dark brown cap toe is a non-issue.

If you can afford it, get brown and black. Saves you wear and tear and allows you to be ready for most situations.
 

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