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Wardrobe for BigLaw?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Jake101, May 11, 2008.

  1. riverrun

    riverrun Senior Member

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    I am soon to begin my own internship at the UK-equivalent of a Biglaw firm (a 'Magic Circle' firm). I have five suits:

    ...
    Brown
    ...


    Agricultural law?
     


  2. mafoofan

    mafoofan THE FOO Dubiously Honored

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    ^^^ I only wore a suit a handful of times as a summer associate, and I always wore a pocket square and brown shoes. I have no idea how that might have negatively affected my chances, but nobody ever said anything and I got my offer.
     


  3. Mentos

    Mentos Senior Member

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    ^^^ I only wore a suit a handful of times as a summer associate, and I always wore a pocket square and brown shoes. I have no idea how that might have negatively affected my chances, but nobody ever said anything and I got my offer.

    Fair enough--I doubt any firm has ever said "well, he's a nice guy and does great work, but those tan shoes just make him a bad fit here." But I still say test the waters first on the assumption that your clothing choices should fly under the radar, and then get more exciting a few weeks in, if you can make it work.
     


  4. injung

    injung Senior Member

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    I work at BigLaw firm, and even the senior associates/junior partners don't bother wearing suits. Some of the older partners wear suits every day, but I think it's more of a generational thing. However I work in LA so it's certainly possible NYC law firms are different.

    On the other hand if you're going to be doing any client interaction at all a suit is a must.
     


  5. riverrun

    riverrun Senior Member

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    interesting how many more lawyers there are than anything else on this board. I wonder if lawyers are actually significantly more anal than their financial counterparts or if the ones on this board are just paranoid. I can't imagine anyone in finance really caring, for instance, about your watch - I know a guy with his own plane who wears a timex.
     


  6. riverrun

    riverrun Senior Member

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    I wonder if lawyers are actually significantly more anal than their financial counterparts

    actually the answer to that is self-evident - to clarify I meant in terms of dress
     


  7. Mentos

    Mentos Senior Member

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    interesting how many more lawyers there are than anything else on this board. I wonder if lawyers are actually significantly more anal than their financial counterparts or if the ones on this board are just paranoid. I can't imagine anyone in finance really caring, for instance, about your watch - I know a guy with his own plane who wears a timex.

    Many law partners wear Timex. But Timex is considered totally appropriate in my law office. Again, the danger is overdoing it, not underdoing it.

    I think that if you search you'll find about as many "first day at the bank" posts as you will "first day at the firm" posts.
     


  8. Golf_Nerd

    Golf_Nerd Distinguished Member

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    interesting how many more lawyers there are than anything else on this board. I wonder if lawyers are actually significantly more anal than their financial counterparts or if the ones on this board are just paranoid. I can't imagine anyone in finance really caring, for instance, about your watch - I know a guy with his own plane who wears a timex.

    +1
     


  9. Gipper40

    Gipper40 Active Member

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    Bear in mind , gents, that the economy--especially the financial sector that includes 'Big Law" --has changed for the worse. In times like these, firms--indeed "Big Law" firms--are cutting back on everything from fresh flowers to hiring 2 nd year summers and full time, "fresh meat" associates. In fact, they are dispensing with partners who can't meet firm revenue "thresholds." That's because their I -banking clients have be ratcheted back, rather severely, on M and A, bond issues and IPO's and other kindred financings. Having been on the recruiting teams for both big law and a bulge bracket I bank--in good times and bad-- I leave our young friends aspiring to be full time hires in these aforementioned fields with the following caveat: indeed we look at the way someone dresses in the interview and , once hired, while on the job. The level of scrutiny in times of economic uncertainty only increased and not just on the matter of "work product" alone. Though I am no longer on Wall Street, I know many senior partners in "Big Law" and SMDs in I Banking that are hustling for new client work--and guess what they are wearing? Suits and ties.
    Believe me, by this fall/winter, suits will be de rigeur again at Cravath, Goldman,Clifford Chance et. al. And if I was a summer assoc. again at Cravath or Goldman, that 's what I would be wearing-as I work my ass off-- if I woud want an offer at summer's end, in this economic climate. Just a word to the youngsters headed for Wall Street, for what it's worth. My advice would be different if Hollywood or Silicon Valley were the hopeful career venues. Enough said.
     


  10. cheessus

    cheessus Distinguished Member

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    Gipper, I'm a 2L/3L in the same boat as the OP, but I'm going to be working in the Silicon Valley. How is the dress code different? I'm originally from VA, so much of the clothes I've accumulated have been more East Coast traditional prep school wear. I haven't made any attempt at changing my wardrobe for the West Coast environment.
     


  11. lefty

    lefty Distinguished Member

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    Do you guys actually say "Big Law"?

    How do you work that into cocktail conversation?

    "So, where do you work?"

    "Law. Big Law."

    "Fascinating. I think I'm going to stand over there now."


    lefty
     


  12. jc138

    jc138 Senior Member

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    Fair question.

    It's a bit of a term of art used mostly online and sometimes to colleagues at the same or like sized firms. Otherwise we just say we work at this guy & that guy LLP, which is just a bunch of gibberish to non-lawyers.
     


  13. nmprisons

    nmprisons Distinguished Member

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    Do you guys actually say "Big Law"?

    How do you work that into cocktail conversation?

    "So, where do you work?"

    "Law. Big Law."

    "Fascinating. I think I'm going to stand over there now."


    lefty


    How else will the lawyers who work in "Small Law" know that you are more important than they are?
     


  14. mafoofan

    mafoofan THE FOO Dubiously Honored

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    Do you guys actually say "Big Law"?

    How do you work that into cocktail conversation?

    "So, where do you work?"

    "Law. Big Law."

    "Fascinating. I think I'm going to stand over there now."


    lefty


    I've only heard law students use 'BigLaw' conversationally, usually when discussing career options. I imagine the term is something like 'I-Bank' in that you'd simply say 'bank' or 'firm' when talking to regular people. If anything, someone might say 'big firm'.

    I'm not sure, but I think the term might be a relatively new one. My sister-in-law is a lawyer, but she hasn't worked since the mid-90's and she was confused the first time she heard me say 'BigLaw'.
     


  15. YoungFogey

    YoungFogey Senior Member

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    As a senior lawyer in a large firm who wears 3 piece suits to work, I would advise you to dress as formally as you would like without looking precious, stupid, or like you've spent more than 30 seonds thinking about your wardrobe in the morning.

    To that end: Your clothes should generally be such that they allow you to feel comfortable and fit in.

    If you are in a business casual environment and REALLY feel more comfortable in a suit at work, then by all means wear very conservative suits from Brooks or Press -- just wear them almost every day so people think it's your uniform (and not an attention device). Go with white and blue shirts (easy on the Frecnh cuffs) and plain ties. Don't get anything that draws undue attention to itself. Make sure you are seen every now and again without a tie -- it will make you seem more human. (if you wear a suit everyday, 3 suits are fine for your rotation.)

    If you're in a business casual environment and feel more comfortable in that dress, then by all means wear that.

    The most important thing to remember is that you want to look like your work is the most important thing to you. That means wear nothing that attracts undue attention or looks like it is trying to gain attention. If you insist in wearing a suit in a business casual environment, you WILL become "the guy in the suit". But if you really do look more comfortable in a suit, and your suits/shirts/ties are not attention-grabbers, then people will just assume it's a kind of uniform for you.
     


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