Adhering to the right dress code and how you carry yourself says a lot about who you are and can create the perfect impression you’re looking to project. This factor holds true especially in the courtroom when lawyers are arguing their case and trying to win the lawsuit for their clients. Robert Gordon is a Dallas-based psychologist and jury consultant. As he advises on Psychology Today, ”The jury is going to form impressions of you based on subtle characteristics of personality and attitude, and dress is one important element. Whether you dress casually or formally, wear a tie or a dress, choose bright or dark colors, all make a difference in terms of how you are perceived.”
Appropriate Dress Codes for the Courtroom is a Science
Jury consultants train extensively in law and psychology and are often called in to instruct their clients on the law firm attire they should wear. In addition, they direct their clients on how to gesture, their body language, and how to present their case for the maximum impact. Sadeghi Law Firm business litigation attorney, Ms Sidney M. Sadeghi is the author of the 2017 best seller, “Law in a Nutshell for the CEO.” She reveals, “The courtroom attire female attorneys sport can make a huge difference in how the judge reacts to their statements and credibility. Choosing the right clothes can influence how jury members appraise the merits of the case you’re presenting.”
Understanding the Right Female Attorney Dress Code
When choosing your law firm attire, here are a few important rules to keep in mind.
- Choose a smartly-tailored pantsuit or skirt suit complete with a jacket. If you’re wearing a skirt, the hem should not be more than an inch or two above the knee cap.
- Pick out neutral colors like black, beige, or charcoal grey so people are unlikely to get distracted by the colors you’re wearing and focus entirely on what you have to say.
- Wear button down shirts or slip-on blouses, take care that the necklines don’t reveal too much skin that is clearly against the law firm dress code.
- Skip flashy jewelry that can attract attention.
- If you have any tattoos, cover them up. Remove the studs or trinkets from any visible piercings.
- Wear sensible shoes that are smart but with low or block heels so you can move around the courtroom comfortably when addressing the judge and jury. If the shoes start to hurt, you’ll have trouble concentrating on what you want to say. And, any kind of discomfort always shows through.
- The same rule follows with your clothes. They must fit you well so you don’t feel the need to make adjustments. Fidgeting draws unnecessary attention to your actions and takes away from your words.
- Tie back your hair into a smart chignon. If you have short hair, use pins to manage flyaway strands that you may need to tame when delivering your litigation.
- Loud makeup is a definite no-no in the female attorney dress code. Foundation and toner to give your skin a smooth appearance and hide flaws is acceptable. But, go nude with all other colors for your eyes, cheeks, and lips. Using the right kind of makeup can inspire trust and confidence in the people who interact with you. And, that’s a fact that has been proven by the results of a study released by the PLOS One journals. The study also talks about how better-looking people are more likely to be successful in whatever sphere they work. So, go ahead and use makeup to enhance your best features.
Judges Reveal their Expectations for the Courtroom
According to FindLaw, there are no actual laws per se on courtroom dress codes. But, judges may have an unwritten female attorney dress code and may object if it is not appropriate. Take for example the Jensen v. Superior Court case where the dress code was discussed as “whether it interferes with the courtroom decorum by disrupting justice, i.e. whether it tends to cause disorder or interfere with or impede the functioning of the court.”
Judges have also been known to express their dissatisfaction with lawyer attire violations such as:
- Attorneys sporting hats in the courtroom
- Lawyers not wearing jackets and ties
- Litigators wearing revealing, short skirts
- Unkempt hair and clothes worn by the defendant or his or her attorney
- Badly-tailored clothes with low-quality fabric
The Verdict is Clear! Courtroom Attire for Female Attorneys Should be Impeccable
In conclusion, lawyer attire speaks volumes about your dedication to the case you’re litigating. Your dress must evoke sympathy for your client and at the same time relay the power and keen intelligence you bring to the courtroom. Pay careful attention to how you present yourself in court and you’ll have a much better chance at winning the case for your client.