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Survey: Half of All Lawyers Want Us to Dress More Formally

By William Peacock, Esq. | Last updated on

Wardrobe tips are a funny thing: Often times, when you tell someone how to dress, you tick them off.

But there's no denying that the wardrobe, at least around law offices and the courts, has gotten a bit less formal over the last decade or two. With that in mind, Robert Half Legal, a staffing agency, asked 350 lawyers who work with "the largest law firms and companies in the United States and Canada" whether we should all step our game up.

Or more specifically: "In general, would you prefer legal professionals dress more formally or casually in the office?"

Half Say Yes (to Some Degree)

Though 73 percent of respondents said that they have a "business casual" dress policy at work, more respondents than not would prefer a little more formality.

Here are the percentages of lawyers who said they wish other lawyers would dress...

Much more formally


Somewhat more formally


Neither more formally nor more casually


Somewhat more casually


Much more casually


Don't know/No answer


(Yes it adds up to 101 percent, but that's because of rounding.)

If you like infographics, and heck, who doesn't, RH Legal has one compiling the results in a lovely, sharable graphic.

Of course, the skeptic in me immediately has to point to the sample itself: 350 lawyers from big firms and companies. One would imagine that at places like IBM and Cravath, they'd expect formal attire.

But what about small law, mid-sized firms, public interest agencies, prosecutors and defense attorneys? You know, the bulk of all practicing lawyers? We'd be interested to hear from you, so we present the exact same question, in handy Internet poll form:

In general, would you prefer legal professionals dress more formally or casually in the office?
Much more formally
Somewhat more formally
Neither more formally nor more casually
Somewhat more casually
Much more casually
Don't know/no answer
Poll Maker

Unsolicited Advice

However, if you are looking to raise your standards a bit, personally or office-wide, here are a few handy tips we've provided in the past to get you started:

Got any more fashion tips to share? Do you think lawyers dress too informally these days? Let us know via Twitter (@FindLawLP) or Facebook (FindLaw for Legal Professionals).

Related Resources:

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