The Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerburgs of the world proved long ago that success and formal dress code need not go hand in hand. And so, many industries adopted a more relaxed attitude toward office attire. However, if law is your chosen line of work, those polo shirts may never see the warm glow of a fluorescent office light.
Traditionally a conservative industry, the law firms of the world have yet to realize that casual attire doesn’t actually impede your ability to present a case or plumb the depths of legal history for precedents.
So what should you wear to that interview at the law firm?
The short answer is to suit up to the nines.
A neutral color is a given but rather than sticking to the black/grey/charcoal uniform of legal interns the world over, try a navy blue suit. It’s not too much of a style innovation to ruffle any feathers, but it is a slight break from the norm and is as acceptable in a legal office as it is in any boardroom.
However, we will caution you to avoid anything slimmer than a regular fit. Tight-fitting clothes are not particularly popular in this traditionalistic industry.
This is where we would usually suggest an alternative to the classic white business shirt but in such a conventional industry it’s best to stick to the rules. After all, the law is the law. So it’s a white business shirt tailored to a regular fit with buttoned cuffs. We’d like to think the interviewer will remember you because of your personality and competence rather than a nice pair of university cuff links, so no need to accessorize.
Yes, we’re sticking with our ‘play it safe’ modus operandi. A plain color such as blue or red is ideal but so too is a classic stripe. However, be sure to choose a stripe that does not inadvertently hint at an allegiance to or membership of a club or society. Not knowing the secret club handshake the interviewer is alluding to could leave you red-faced.
Nothing but the best in leather will do. A classic Oxford or wingtip in black or dark brown is ideal, but they must be in immaculate condition. Take them to a professional if need be, but whatever you do make sure they shine. You should also buy new calf-length socks in a shade that matches your suit trousers and test them out first to ensure that no skin shows when you sit down.
Yes, so conservative is the world of law that we’re even going to go so far as to recommend a hairstyle or perhaps lack thereof. You see, partners in a law firm care not one bit for trends or fashion so while a side parting might be ideal, one shaved into the side of your head is not.
Keep it short with no hair touching your collar. Use hair products minimally or not at all if possible and for the love of Zeus trim your beard, so it is short and neat. Better still, go for a clean-shaven look.
To be perfectly honest, an interview with a law firm is probably one of the easiest interviews to dress for. Like the industry itself, everything follows a rule, and with regards to dress that rule is one of business formality. Keep it formal and keep it tidy and let your skills and personality win you that position.
If you’d like some personalized advice for dressing for that all-important interview. Our owner, Bijan Zamanian, is personally involved with every new client to make sure nothing is left to chance. We will even come to your place at home or office in New Jersey or New York (Consultations by video outside of our NJ & NYC travel area).
Questions? Please contact us and discuss your vision, your event, and your needs today.