Dress the Part: How to Present Yourself as a Professional Lawyer
By Dennis Hung • August 21, 2018•Careers
We have all prepared for an important job interview or meeting and one thing that we all go over is how to look good to make a great first impression. Studies have found that part of someone's first impression of you is not only based on how you hold yourself but also how you dress and the kind of shoes you're wearing. Can you imagine how much is based on the more noticeable articles of clothing and accessories you wear?
Some hate to admit it, but how you present yourself in and around the courtroom matters. People want to be represented by someone who is not only sharp mentally, but physically as well. And if you think that judges and other business associates won't notice or care, think again! Here's how you can really dress the part and present yourself as a professional lawyer.
1. Dress According to Your Client
When someone hires a lawyer, they expect them to look a certain way. Dressing too casually can send the message that you don't take your job as seriously as other lawyers who spend a little more time cultivating their own professional style. On the other hand, overdressing could make some clients feel too intimidated to open up to you.
It's best to keep your outfit (strictly) business professional until you've gotten a feel for who you're working with. Then ask yourself- what could I wear to make this client feel like they are really getting their money's worth from me?
As far as the courtroom is concerned, no one should ever have to question your professionalism because of the clothes you are wearing. Never let your personal style choices override the demands of the professional industry.
2. Locate the Sweet Spot Between Practicality and Flash
It's perfectly fine for you to wear that suit by Gucci for Men, but maybe you should leave the diamond-studded wrist watch at home if you're entering the courtroom that day.
For the ladies, you can absolutely rock the professional stilettos you've been dying to get your hands on your whole career but you might want to make sure they aren't hot pink or neon blue.
The point is that you want to choose clothing items and accessories that are going to create a cohesive and professional look- not distract away from your intellect and the things you have to say. When in doubt, bring an extra pair of shoes or whatever item is in question to the office in case you read the room and find that they aren't appropriate.
3. Wear What Makes You Feel Like A Successful Lawyer
We've all heard it- dress for success! When you wear what makes you feel like a high-powered lawyer, you will be more likely to act like a high-powered lawyer. Just make sure it is up to standard. When it comes to practicing law, confidence will take you very far. What do you feel most confident in? A suit featuring a skinny leg or a classic fit? A professional dress with a blazer or a pantsuit?
As long as it is appropriate for your office or the courtroom, go for it! Consider having your clothes tailored to more properly fit your physique.
4. Invest in Your Wardrobe, but...
Don't feel like you have to break the bank to do so. Acquiring a few quality pieces of professional clothing you can mix and match to create different looks will be plenty. This is your chance to play around with what you have already and what you could benefit from purchasing. That old dress shirt you have might look brand new under a different kind of blazer or with a new pair of pants.
Also, make sure you are making wise purchases. If a pair of shoes look flimsy and like they may fall apart sooner rather than later, don't waste your money and go for the higher-quality shoes. On the other hand, if you find a shirt that looks well made and isn't pricey, don't skip out on it just because it isn't made by Prada.
Follow these tips and watch as not only those around you take you more seriously as a professional lawyer, watch as you take yourself more seriously as well.
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