Being an attorney—a professional—carries lots of responsibility, working long hours, and being held to higher standards.
Those high standards seem to imply that lawyers should always wear suits—but do they need to?
Develop your own style
Celebrities in the world of business are known for what they wear—and it usually is not a suit. While it is unlikely that a lawyer will become the next big celebrity business person, there is a lesson to be learned. Defining your own personal look could be beneficial to your marketing, depending on what type of law you practice.
For example, if you practice entertainment law and frequently meet with musicians and artists, a more casual look makes more sense. Freelance filmmakers and coffee shop musicians rarely wear suits—and they probably would prefer an attorney who seems more in touch with their type of thinking. Frankly, wearing a t-shirt and jeans to client meetings will probably make them more likely to refer business to you.
Try it out and see what happens
If you work at a big firm, your options are probably more limited. Casual day might mean wearing a suit with no tie. For solo and small firm attorneys, however, there is probably more leeway.
Marketing is a constantly changing beast, so try it out for a few weeks and see what happens. Instead of wearing a shirt and tie to initial client meetings, try wearing something a notch lower—something you feel more comfortable in.
Chances are, the more comfortable you feel, the more comfortable your clients will feel. That usually leads to a strong rapport with the client and a greater likelihood they will hire you. Many potential clients deliberately seek out solo or small firms because they do not want to deal with hotshot downtown attorneys wearing fancy suits.
There will always be times when you need to wear a suit—like going to court and meeting with opposing counsel. For the other 98% of your work time, however, try out something different. Branding yourself as somebody who does things different might have a bigger positive impact than you think.
Read the next post in this series: "Maternity Wear for Lawyers that Doesn’t Break the Bank."