There was a small firm client of mine that I visited twice a month for more than two years. One partner, except on court appearance days, wore jeans (faded jeans) every day, and the other usually was in what best can be described as African Safari shorts with a Bahamian shirt. You can imagine what the staff looked like. Unfortunately, my appearance in a suit, at least a sport coat and tie, did little to influence them. Okay, to be fair, clients rarely visited the firm, but most of the firm went out for lunch and did encounter other, more professionally dressed lawyers on the street – I was with them many times.
How does your firm look? John Remsen in this monthly e-newsletter has an article entitled “Enough is Enough: Lawyers Should Look Like Lawers!” I couldn’t agree with John more.
First, he tells us about his reader survey. Of the 233 respondents, only 23% reported always wearing a suit; and 71% stated that the trend over the past five years has been toward more casual dress. It is true that image matters. How you dress REALLY does matter – among colleagues, clients, referral sources AND prospective clients. I agree with John that the “vast majority of clients want lawyers who look like lawyers – crisp, polished, authoritative and professional.”
Second, he has comments from several professional marketers which are interesting and quite telling; and offers 10 practical tips for lawyers and other professionals that are definitely worth reading. Finally, John refers to 3 books he recommends in addition to John Molloy’s Dress for Success series, including one specifically for women.
Even if the world around you has become more casual in its appearance, you will definitely appear more professional if you dress professionally. And that’s good for developing business.