Attorneys should look professional in court, but it is up to the judge to decide if a particular outfit is inappropriate. If there is a written dress code, it might require jackets in the courtroom or discourage attorneys from wearing jeans or athletic shoes. When in doubt, lawyers should check the court rules or ask the clerk of the court about the dress code.
Professional clothing for men includes a dark, two-piece suit with a dress shirt and tie. Footwear is important, too, as an Indiana lawyer learned when a judge reprimanded him for leaving his socks at home, according to an American Bar Association Journal article. Light or patterned suits, colorful shirts, string ties and cowboy boots might be acceptable in some Southern and Western states, but not in other states.
A dark, knee-length skirt or dress with a matching jacket, mid-heeled shoes and simple jewelry are safe choices for female attorneys. Pantsuits are acceptable in most courts, although some judges prefer only skirt suits. Short skirts, sundresses, stiletto heels and sleeveless blouses are generally frowned upon, but some judges may allow them.
- Virginia Lawyer: Ad-Dress-Ing Counsel
- The ABA Journal: Judge Orders Lawyer to Put on Socks
- Houston Municipal Courts: Courtroom Rules
- ABA Journal: Judge Creates a Stir by Developing a Dress Code for Female Attorneys
- The Docket: New Rule Implements Dress Code for Attorneys
- Perspectives: Order in the Closet: Why Attire for Women Lawyers Is Still an Issue
- Photo Credit Design Pics/Design Pics/Getty Images
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