What Happens When You Fail to Follow Workplace Dress Codes in BigLaw

Men are going unshaven as a sign of rebellion against Corporate America, or The Man, or the employer that just laid them off.  Well, so we hear, anyway.  And fashion houses are designing women’s suits that include shorts so short that would make the women in the Nair* commercials blush.  Even I have contributed to the recent workplace dress code rebellion by suggesting that corporate-suit-types may prefer pink iPod cufflinks to the traditional mainstays.  shutterstock_23553256

And this type of style confidence is fantastic.  Unless, of course, your choices put your superiors on guard–instead of admiring your style as avant-gard.  Just ask Tracey Batt.  

From the ABA Journal, an article titled, Ex BigLaw Associate: I Was Arrested By Law Firm Fashion Police.  According to the article’s author, Martha Neil, Batt was a 5th-year associate at a BigLaw** firm in NYC when she scared her superiors so badly with her fashion choices that they actually retained a fashion consultant to take her shopping and help her with a total makeover.

Batt described the experience as “positively mortifying.” 

It must have been–she’s left the world of BigLaw altogether and now runs a “small nonprofit legal services organization” from her home.

So, for those of you considering somewhat outrageous jewelry or other fashion choice, please, be warned.  Keep an eye out for the fashion police, they could be coming for you next!

 

*Nair’s jingle, for those who may not recall, begins, “Who wears short shorts?”  Sure, you remember it! 

**”BigLaw” is code for “multi-office Golaith law practice where associates are relegated to document production for the first 8 years of their careers, while earning hefty six figures for their suffering.”

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