The Law Firm Event

6 03 2008

Law firm events: free food, free drinks, and all the highlighters and Starbucks cards you can carry. Yes, good times are had by all. But what should you wear?

Law firm receptions vary a lot in their dress code so the best way to know what to wear is to check beforehand. Firms usually put the attire on the advertisement for the event, but if they don’t, send a quick email to the contact person at the firm so you don’t show up over- or underdressed. If you can’t find any information on the attire, your default should be business casual.

1L Events

If you are anything like I was as an entering law student, you didn’t know the name of a single firm before coming to law school. The purpose of the 1L reception is to give you a chance to learn something about the firms so you have an idea of where you might like to work, come OCI.

What You Should Wear: The norm for 1L firm receptions is business casual. Men should wear slacks, a collared shirt, and nice shoes. No ties or jackets necessary. Women can wear slacks or a nice skirt; a collared shirt, blouse or sweater; and nice shoes (I would go with pumps or boots). Stay away from anything too revealing or casual. This means no fleeces, uggs, or jeans. No, not even your dark jeans.

2L Events

During interview season (both on campus and during flyout week), firms usually hold receptions after a day of interviews to get to know the candidates a little bit better. 2L firm events, unlike1L receptions, are a chance for employers to continue to evaluate whether you are right for their firm. Although not as formal as the interview, this is another opportunity for you to make a good impression on recruiters. So turn on the charm and remember to be on your best behavior.

What You Should Wear: You should always check the dress code before the event; however, because it is interview season, it is safer to assume that the attire is business formal rather than business casual (so don’t change out of that suit the second the interview is over). The attorneys, having just interviewed you, are more likely to be in suits, and you do not want to be dressed more casually than they are.

3L Events

You went through the interview process, you got some offers, you worked at a firm all summer, and now they have offered you a permanent position. Yes, we’re all very proud of you. Now the only thing left to do is go to dinner.

What You Should Wear: 3L firm events are the least formal of the three, since the firm already knows you and likes you. These events are usually either casual or business casual, but you should still check in advance.

If the event is casual, this does not mean you should show up in ripped jeans, flip flops and a hoodie (unless it’s a Quinn Emmanuel event, in which case I highly recommend wearing flip flops, preferably theirs).

For women, I recommend wearing a classy pair of dark jeans (like black skinny jeans), a sweater or blouse, and nice flats or boots. You could wear heels, too, as long as they aren’t ridiculous, but avoid sneakers and flip flops. For men, I recommend dark jeans, a collared shirt or sweater, and leather shoes. Here’s the secret: law firm casual is really just business casual with jeans instead of slacks. Business on the top, party on the bottom.




One response

23 04 2008

just a quibble with the skinny jeans: in my opinion, these are a little too trendy and young to be appropriate for a firm event. they look absolutely stunning and fabulous – on the most slender of women only. for almost every other woman, they’re going to look like denim leggings. i’d always recommend a nice flattering pair of dark jeans in some sort of classic cut (whether straight or flared) that flatter your figure, but won’t have everyone staring down below for whatever reason.

though i must say, if you have a choice between the skinny jeans and the mini, please for the love of god choose the jeans.

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