Professionalism

So I’m in line, waiting to pick up the kids from their elementary school. The cars and trucks that are waiting with me are a pretty homogenous set of silver, white and black. Sometimes you’ll see blue and green. As I’m sitting in my silver car, a low rumbling noise distracts me. I turn to see a bright pink truck rolling up next to me. Not only is it loud and pink, but all over the truck are graphic displays of Playboy Bunnies, silhouettes of naked women, and the words “crazy b*%$^@” on the back window.  Out of a crowd, a tiny girl in jeans and a pink blouse with a Disney backpack came running to the Bunny truck. Climbed in. Off to the Playboy mansion.

Now, I’m all for freedom of speech and the First Amendment and all that, but…are you hearing me on this? Are you seeing the dissonance?

Recently, a student asked me what I thought of tattoos. “They’re great! Love ’em! Are you going to work in a law office?”

“I’d like to go to law school, sure, so yeah, I’m going to be in a law office.”

“Good for you!” 

“So yeah, I want a really fat one on my neck.”

“…”

“I got it all planned out. Black ink, fat letters, that say, ‘Darling’ in honor of my babe.”

“Cool! I think it would look awesome, a great fit with the multiple face piercings. Go for it. But…”

“But?”

But.

Child, there is just no denying the conservative nature of the law office, or other similarly legal environment (corporate office). First impressions mean a lot, and if the first time you walk in the door your potential employer sees you expressing yourself to the fullest extent of your desires and the law, she will worry about “what the clients will think.” I’m not advocating that mindset. It’s old, out of date, and doesn’t reflect the mainstream reality of modern American dress. 

But…the legal industry is still very conservative. Partners are frustrated because associates are wearing their Ugg boots all day. The ABA newsite has an old thread on the question. Many job websites provide articles on how to dress professionally for your corporate or legal job. It’s an undeniable part of the law culture.

On the other hand, what do I know. My daughter refuses to dress professionally for school.

Purple Shoes

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