Tips for New Lawyers to Understand Expectations of Their Law Firm

If you are a new lawyer, first of all, congratulations are definitely in order. However, after being hired on to the legal firm, you hopefully are aware that now the real work begins. Ask any experienced attorney, and they will tell you that it can take years to develop a solid, well-respected reputation. It will all start with attention to detail. Now that you are the newest associate in a legal firm, you will need to know how to look like the newly-minted professional that you are. How do you go about doing this? Here are some things to consider:

Wardrobe Expectations.

The proper wardrobe will make a huge difference in how you are viewed at the law firm. Remember, there is only one chance to make a good first good impression. Thus, your first step is to have a full understanding of the geographical region you are located in. Obviously, the dress code is going to be different for a law firm in Chicago than it will be for a law firm in Sacramento or a law firm in Miami. Often it will come down to the climate of a given area. For example, a Chicago law firm will probably expect more formal business attire than a firm in Miami simply the climate is colder. Of course, if you are making a geographic move to work at a law firm, you really should research the attire expectation before you arrive.

Regular Law Firm Clients

If the law firm that hired you regularly serves wealthy clients, then the firm and the clients both are going to expect you to wear formal attire. This means a suit, slacks, an ironed shirt, and a tie. If you can prove to the firm and to the clients that you are going to be an asset by your attention to detail, it will definitely go a long way in helping you fit in with your new colleagues. Also, avoid wearing a black suit because that can represent funeral attire.

Different Expectations Between Law Firms

If you work for a large corporate law firm, you will likely be expected to wear a suit. If you work for a non-profit, the expectations could be a bit more casual. If you have decided to open up your own law firm, you probably could wear anything you like, however, as mentioned previously do keep your client pool in mind even as a private lawyer.

Be Careful with Social Media

As a lawyer, please realize that social media can either be a huge asset to you or something that is so detrimental that it would not only hurt your popularity with your colleagues but possibly even irrevocably damage your legal career. For example, posting anything on a public domain such as Facebook regarding your private work at your law firm could violate the attorney-client privilege and cause you to either get fired or placed under severe discipline at the firm. There have been countless examples of lawyers being reprimanded for ethics violations because of public rants on their social media accounts. Not right, and not a good way to fit in to say the least.


Be Extremely Organized.

In order to fit in at your law firm, you need to as many details in place as possible. This is even applicable right down to your clothes. For example, it might be a good idea to either invest in some nearby self storage options to keep a fresh, extra set of clothes in case you spill something. Always dress for success and always look your best! Following these tips will definitely help you get off to a good start in your legal career.


Diana Stern

I thought this article had helpful points regarding attention to detail but it put way too much emphasis on clothing. Presentation matters, but quality of work, problem solving, and clear, consistent communication with your team and with clients matter more.

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